30 April 2011

The Risks and Benefits of Trailer Abstinence

I have a new goal for the Summer Movie Season. No trailers. As best as I can I'd like to avoid seeing any footage of some of the summer's biggest releases including THOR (2011), Transformers: Dork of the Moon (2011) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Swallows, Fart 2 (2011). Actually as an exercise in avoiding advertising alone this task will be exceedingly difficult.

Why the Hell Do You Want to do That?

Gene Siskel famously didn't like watching movie trailers. He wanted to go into a film with as honest of an opinion as possible in order to give a review with as little bias or hype as he could. I appreciate the same idea. Trailers tend to give away plot points, action pieces, jokes and even actors that could create skewed expectations going into a film (hell I made a whole post about that a while ago). I decided that my goal is to go into these flicks as fresh as possible, let the action drip down my eyeballs like eye-drops at the eye doctor. That was terrible.

Trailers especially affect comedies. Hearing the timing of jokes the first time around is vital to a comedy's success and a good trailer can ruin that very well. Action flicks tend to have the same problem - we're not as enthralled by that explosion if we've seen it on TV a thousand times.

So Why This Summer?

Thanks for asking, self. I've already seen some trailers for THOR, Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), X-Men: First Class (2011) and Green Lantern (2011). Actually, trailers will generally be the turning point if I'm on the fence whether or not to get pumped for a film. On paper X-Men: First Class seemed retarded and Green Lantern seemed awesome. In trailer form X-Men: First Class looks thoughtful, action-packed and well-cast as well as an interesting experiment in taking the classic superhero movie (X-Men [2000] started this fucking trend anyway) and placing it in a different, distinct time period, while Green Lantern looks rushed, messy and full of shit. Needless to say, by abstaining from trailers I relegate myself to watching all flicks crap and good.

Recently there's been a lot of fanfare over Dork of the Moon, but I've proudly avoided it so far. At this point I generally know what I'm getting into with Bay and Co's third outing with the Transformers and any trailer whatsoever wouldn't affect my decision to go see this movie (and then write 5-6 reviews of it). Under that assumption I'd rather be surprised by the cameos, jokes, awesomeness and even the general tone of the film.

The Hangover 2 (2011) in particular strikes me as a film that will indelibly rely on surprises to be an effective comedy. At this point I'm trying to avoid commercials for it as well, quickly changing the channel when it comes on. I am an enormous fan of the first film, and from what little I've heard the second is very similar in plot structure so it really needs a series of shocking events to sustain its watchability. Actually the first teaser was just about perfect in wetting my appetite. The discordant rhythm of Jay-Z's "Reminder" echo through the surrid scenery and shots of the Brad, Zach and Ed that exist perfectly to both recall the fun of the first film and ask how the hell did they get into the situation they're in now. It drips in such sleaze that guarantees a step-up in everything that made The Hangover (2009) incredible. I don't need any other trailers. I will see it based on this alone.

I'd actually chalk up Bridesmades (2011) to the same degree tho it's an unproven franchise and one that could probably win me over with a good trailer that I haven't seen. That's certainly a tougher film to get behind although the recent character posters have peaked my interest.

What Comes Next Then?

So if you are to join me in my Trailer Ignorance there's a few things to do. First and most easy, fight the urge to click on that tempting New Transformers news and YouTube links. That should be fine. Second is avoiding the commercials on television. This is a bit trickier but when watching the TV alone changing the channel shouldn't be a big deal. If you've got friends over just scramble and fight for that remote from the host and then change it. Or run out of the room screaming with your fingers in your ears.

Perhaps the most difficult avoidance of Trailers however is in the theaters. At some point you're probably going to have to see some of these movies and needless to say they'll be playing some trailers for other Summer Flicks during THOR, Something Borrowed (2011), Jumping the Broom (2011), you know, all the blockbusters. You've basically got the option of either showing up to every movie late and risking missing some opening credits (not bloody likely...you couldn't arrive late enough to miss every trailer) or just sit there in the theater screaming, eyes closed and fingers in your ear. Either option is equally sane in an advertisement-driven society so feel free to do whatever.

Anyway, I'm pumped for this summer. The superhero films look pretty quality (except for that one that looks really retarded) and there's even some good-looking fledgling properties like Cowboys & Aliens (2011) and Super 8 (2011). It's also going to be basically identical to 2009 with installments of the Hangover, Transformers and Harry Potter franchises. I'm also looking forward to such underhyped films as Horrible Bosses (2011), Bad Teacher (2011) and Everything Must Go (2011). So turn off the trailers and just see what's out there!

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