When the trailer was better than the movie

It’s an old cliché—the trailers are often better than the movies.  No one ever sets out to make a bad movie, however, and when a group of people sit down to decide how to market a film, they want to help this creation bolt out of the gate ahead of competition.  This is not an easy job.  Cutting a trailer is an art.  Some films lend themselves to marketing better than others, and some films just do not preview well. 

Trailers, though, have a special flare.  Nutcases like me that insist on showing up to the theater at least 30 minutes before show time consider the trailers a part of the movie-going experience.  So, for no other reason than to write it down, I wanted to count down five excellent trailers that led to disappointing experiences.  This is in no way meant to convey any kind of definitive list—just an excuse for me to have fun. 

cloverfieldNumber 5 – Cloverfield

America has yet to make a decent “Godzilla” movie, and Cloverfield looked like it just might deliver.  The trailer is a work of brilliant marketing—released six months early, with no title.  The internet went crazy with speculation, similar to the frenzy that surrounded The Blair Witch Project. 

However, when the credits rolled, I felt a little shafted.  Okay, really shafted.  All right, fine, I hated the movie.  Hated it.  I think John Nolte summed it best when he observed that he hadn’t ever heard so many utterances of “that sucked” walking out of a movie. 

Here’s the trailer.


3 Responses to “When the trailer was better than the movie”

  1. 1 cft999 December 30, 2008 at 10:32 am

    I confess I liked “Cloverfield,” but your comments on movie trailers are spot on. What amazes me is how the folks who edit comedy trailers know how to make us laugh — keep the bits quick and to the point — yet when you watch the full movie the comedic scenes are often dragged out, laborious. Why not hire the editor who cut the trailer to cut the movie?

  2. 2 Travis December 30, 2008 at 10:43 am

    I’ve wondered about that. I even notice from time to time that the trailer will include a take of a scene different from what ends up in theaters. A lot of the time, I prefer the take in the trailer. But that’s a minor quibble–directors have enough on their plates, and nitpicking one take over another seems kind of silly.

  3. 3 cft999 December 31, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Travis … what you noticed is really important, esp. in comedies … a trimmed second here or there, a tweak to the camera POV, it all makes a big difference. And if they can get it right in the trailers, they should get it right for the film we’re paying $9 to see.

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