How Right Are Trailers?
March 29, 2016
(The shortened opening)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. Anyone who knows me knows I love trailers. And how can't you?
(Footage of trailers from various movies are shown)
NC (vo): They're supposed to be everything that's amazing about the movie in two minutes. With fast editing, clever scene choices, and music that's almost never actually in the film, the trailer can sometimes be better than the movie itself.
NC: I bring this up because two very big trailers with very different reactions came out recently.
(Footage of those two trailers about to be mentioned are shown)
NC (vo): One being Captain America: Civil War with the reveal of Spider-Man, and the other being Ghostbusters with the reveal of...some really lame jokes. You can guess which trailer had which reaction.
NC: But this does bring up a good question: How right are the trailers?
NC (vo): Don't get me wrong. Ghostbusters reboot-quel could suck and Civil War could be amazing, but we live in a world now where we do our reactions just based on the trailers.
(We see Angry Joe's reaction to the trailer of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the one with the reveal of Doomsday)
Angry Joe: NO! NO!!
NC: Hell, this is technically a video on the VIDEOS on the reaction to the trailers!
NC (vo): We become so obsessed with media and film that sometimes, there's even a trailer for the trailer. It's...kind of weird. Maybe our love for how cool trailers are is growing, or maybe we're just so excited to judge something as soon as it comes out...technically, before it comes out.
NC: It's no secret we all really like doing this. But why?
NC (vo): It's clearly not the movie, it's just an advertisement for it, so why do we get so sucked into them?
NC: Is it because it's fun? Yeah, little bit.
NC (vo): Here's the thing. Everybody knows trailers are supposed to be manipulative, so it's interesting to see how well we figure out just from two minutes if an entire hour-and-a-half-plus film is going to be good. It tests how keen we are at spotting an obvious trick, or locating a beneficial product. How cool is it to get hyped up for The Dark Knight trailer and have it fulfill your expectations, or twiddle your fingers at how little they show of the Return of the King trailer because you know they're keeping all the awesomeness a secret? It's also fun to look at something like Jem and laugh at how obviously off they are in capturing the original source material. Sometimes, good movies and bad movies are pretty easy to spot.
NC: But the fact is not every good film has a good trailer and not every bad film has a bad trailer.
NC (vo): Some of the worst movies have phenomenal trailers. Remember the suck-ass Mario Bros. movie? The teaser is incredible! No, I'm not talking about that shitty "I Got The Power" one, that was the first sign something was wrong. I'm talking about the "This Ain't No Game" trailer that made it look like Batman meets Total Recall.
(We see the teaser trailer for Super Mario Bros., showing many intense scenes with intense music while the tagline is shown word-by-word)
Mario: We're going in.
Daisy: Help me!
Mario: Luigi, no!
King Koopa: Where's the rock?
Henchmen: The plumbers took it.
(The title is shown)
NC (vo): It didn't look like the game, but it looked pretty badass. But as we all know, it didn't turn out to be quite that.
(The trailer for Cats & Dogs is shown)
NC (vo): How about Cats & Dogs, which I recently reviewed? The trailer looked kind of funny. Maybe this could be a cute idea. But as we all know, it didn't turn out that way.
Butch (from Cats & Dogs): Son of my mom!
(NC does a soft fake-laugh. Several animated movie trailers are shown)
NC (vo): The same thing can be said for movies that look really bad, but were actually kind of good. Pixar has a long line of trailers that usually look awful. A lot of people thought Toy Story was gonna be a huge bomb based on its advertising. But lo and behold, it set the standard for most animated films nowadays. The teaser to Frozen was so bad and so misleading that Americans were actually watching the Japanese trailer because it looked more awesome. And now today, that's much closer to how the film is marketed.
NC: The importance of trailers now has never been so strong.
NC (vo): You naturally want people to be talking positive about your movie, but sometimes, even bad talk, if it's the right bad talk, is a good thing. Every time a new Transformers trailer is released, everybody rolls their eyes and complains about it. But it also racks up the views, causing more people to talk about it, encouraging more people to check it out. The new Ghostbusters, for example, is probably gonna be a hit because, well, as much as some of you don't want to see it, you're just so damn angry, you have to see it to see how it compares to the original. What do the changes they make say about how they're treating something you love? Are you open to the change, or do you feel they should leave good enough alone?
NC: But then, some bad talk, not surprisingly, can hurt a film, too.
NC (vo): The backlash on the choices of the last Ninja Turtles movie were so great that they actually changed the casting of some of the characters around. Oh, and didn't you hear? That's Lex Junior in the new Batman/Superman movie.
NC: Just like it always was, right?
NC (vo): Even the new Star Trek trailer got star and writer Simon Pegg to come out publicly and say, "This isn't the movie I wrote." The ads featured a more rock band, action stunt flick than a Star Trek of ideas, but Pegg assures everyone that that was marketing's choice. He guarantees them the film is much different.
NC: In fact, trailers can be so manipulative that some have even been recut for humorous purposes.
(Footage of recut trailers are shown)
NC (vo): Two of the most popular ones are Shining and Scary Mary, two movies seemingly switching tones, as Shining is recut as a feel-good romance about embracing life, and Mary Poppins is recut as a supernatural horror film. The great thing about both of them is, technically, neither one lies. Shining is about a writer who's trying to get away and has trouble connecting with his family.
Announcer: He's a writer looking for inspiration.
Jack Torrance: Lots of ideas. No good ones.
NC (vo): Mary Poppins is about a strict nanny with shocking superpowers.
(Footage of the recut Mary Poppins trailer is shown, with horror-like music playing throughout)
NC (vo): We all laugh at this because we know, through clever manipulation, something we're all familiar with can suddenly be transformed. But that, again, shows how misleading trailers can be, and how even though they're a lot of fun to analyze and get excited for, they're not always right.
NC: Keep in mind, half the time when these trailers are released, the movies aren't even done yet, and they're just given random scenes that they're supposed to turn into something incredible.
NC (vo): If you ever see a scene in a trailer that seemed out of place, it's usually because it's one of the only scenes available, and they weren't given much time to figure out how to make it look cool.
NC: I find a good way to figure out whether a film is going to be good is look at the scenes in context of how it would fit the film.
(Footage of the trailer for Batman & Robin is shown)
NC (vo): People were shocked at how bad Batman & Robin was when it came out, but if you look at the trailer and think of it in context of how these lines and visuals would fit the film, the warning signs were all there.
Poison Ivy: Come join me. My garden needs tending.
Dick: She loves me and not you and it's driving you crazy.
Batman: This is why Superman works alone.
NC (vo): How could you make any of this work in a serious Batman movie? You couldn't.
(Footage of the trailer for Iron Man is shown)
NC (vo): Something like the trailer to Iron Man looks good, though, because the setup is strong. An egotist genius stripped of everything forced to find his humanity again, and with great effects and humor. It's a juicy story that opens up a lot of conflict and development.
NC: Even with new films, though you can't guarantee always being right, you can kind of utilize this, too.
(Footage of the Civil War trailer is shown)
NC (vo): Spider-Man in Civil War seems like a good idea, but we know it's not about him. And on top of that, it's a different Spider-Man from what we saw before. This means they probably won't have as much of him in the film as you think, despite them ending the trailer with him. And even if they did, they wouldn't have enough time to establish him to a point where you'd want to be rooting for him. Chances are, this is probably a slightly longer cameo in a movie and won't have a starring role. Nevertheless, that's what everybody is talking about the most and are excited for the most.
(Footage of the Ghostbusters trailer is shown)
NC (vo): Even that lame-looking Ghostbusters trailer does have some potential when you really think about it. The character line-up of the nerd, the squeamish, the wild card and the badass could actually create some good comedy. Those gadgets are kind of neat, like being allowed to punch a ghost or blast them with handguns, and as fake as the ghosts themselves look, they do kind of seem creative, almost like the Ghostbusters cartoon or toys. Maybe it'll be something so new it'll work, or maybe it'll be something so lame that nobody can get on board for it.
NC: Seeing how trailers have so often not given us what they promised they're going to give us, we can never know for sure.
NC (vo): We can't act like we can predict from the start whether or not we're going to like a movie. Everyone has had a surprise they didn't think they would like. Everyone has had a film they disagree with critics on. And everyone has had a film where you come out saying, "Wow. That's not at all what I thought I was going to get from the trailer."
NC: Now, that doesn't mean don't analyze trailers or see what makes a good one or a bad one. Assumptions aren't always as bad as everybody thinks.
NC (vo): They help us make rational guesses and spend our time well, as long as we realize they are just assumptions and not facts. There's lots of good trailers to bad films I love watching to get my blood pumping, even though I know the film isn't good. And there's lots of films I adore with all my heart despite the fact that they were marketed falsely.
NC: Trailers are fun to watch, fun to analyze, and fun to speculate over.
NC (vo): We need to know, though, we won't always be right and there's no foolproof way to tell what we're going to like and what we won't. I thought I would hate films like Kung Fu Panda, Toy Story or Cabin in the Woods, but I ended up loving them. I thought I would love films like Man of Steel, Wolverine: X-Men Origins or Signs, but they sucked hard. Maybe you had the exact opposite thoughts of me and you thought these trailers perfectly summed up the movie. Whatever your thoughts, they are exactly that: Thoughts. They're opinions on things that aren't factual and that's what's gonna make them so great. Everybody has a different one, so everybody has something new to offer. So keep talking about your trailers, try to figure out if you think they'll be good or bad, but just remember: If people laughed from embarrassment at the first Star Wars trailer when that came out, I think it's safe to say just about anything is possible.
NC: Except this. (Poster of Fantastic Four (2015) is shown) Your thoughts were right about that. I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to.
(He gets up and leaves. The credits roll)