The art of a trailer is an unappreciated one. If done properly, you get a sense of what a film’s about without having the entire narrative spoiled. If done really well, it will make you think a bag of turds is full of cute puppies. Now maybe some of the films on this list aren’t “a bag of turds,” but you know what I mean when I refer to the trailer for…
The Social Network
Many of my co-worker’s here at The Filmsmith will violently disagree, but the trailer for The Social Network was the first film to come to mind. The haunting choir singing Radiohead’s “Creep” shakes you – and then you see the film and could care less about the story.
It seems that trailer editors love to add some drama with Nine Inch Nails, as it was also used to amp up the 300 trailer. In the Terminator Salvation trailer, however, it gave you hope that the next film about Skynet would be equally dramatic as it was ass-kicking. The melancholy guitar riffs to the genocide of humanity – they go together like peanut butter jelly time. How dare they break our hearts so coldly.
I distinctly remember the moment in the cinema when I saw the Watchmen trailer and when it was over, I was covered in goosebumps. Even as I’m re-watching it for this article I feel an inclination to try it again. But then I remember how Snyder managed to suck the soul out of one of the best graphic novels ever created and re-watch Sin City (aka, how adaptations should be done).
Gears of War 2
Here’s another example of a trailer editor hoping the poignancy of music will rub off on a video game that’s about killing monsters in laughably horrendous ways. Granted, at least Gears of War 2 had some moments of earnestness, in contrast to…
These and the other Halo 3 commercials lent gravitas to a videogame filled with flamboyantly colored aliens and teabagging. It gives a lot of hope to a Halo film adaptation, but the ad is much superior to the game in terms of storytelling drama.
So what have we learned? Never trust the trailer – especially if the music is doing most of the heavy lifting.