VIDEO: WTF happened to movie trailers?

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Cecil takes a look at the overwhelming amount of clichés in movie trailers.

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  • Alexa

    A really famous example of a trailer flat out lying, by having footage that wasn’t even in the movie, was Highlander: Endgame. And its also super annoying when a comedic film uses all the best jokes in the trailer, which is what happened to me when I saw Tropic Thunder.

    • The_Stig

      I’m actually glad some of the footage from Highlander: Endgame didn’t make it into the film. Like that scene where Kell stops a sword in mid-air like he’s Jean Grey or whatever. That part made me go “WTF?”

      Still wasn’t half as dumb as anything in Highlander 2 though.

      Don’t get me wrong, Endgame’s pretty bad, but it’s actually kind of watchable if you’re a Highlander fanboy and ignore the plot holes and the continuity errors and even the latter isn’t that much of an issue considering the Highlander film series is nothing but a long string of continuity errors being used to fix other continuity errors. It’s like using piss to wipe the taste of the piss out of your mouth that you drank to get the taste of the piss out of your mouth that you drank to get the taste of the piss out of your mouth that you drank as the chaser for some really awesome vintage scotch.

      • Alexa

        Well nothing is as bad as Highlander: The Quickening. But still its a pretty shitty thing to shoot footage just for the trailer just so people will see your crappy film. But then again what they had in the film would probably have people staying as far away as possible, like the question asked by Bruce Payne of whether Chris Lambert wanted to be inside him. I mean seriously what the fuck!

        • $36060516

          I actually enjoyed Highlander: The Quickening when I saw it in the theater, in a so-bad-it’s-good, laugh out loud kind of way. When I later saw the director’s approved cut it was boring by comparison.

      • Nessus

        I remember seeing Endgame in the theater when it came out. All I have is a tiny handful of vague images, and the overwhelming feeling that I was watching an episode of the TV series projected in a theater instead of an actual MOVIE-movie. The story and production values IIRC were very much TV-grade.

        But then IMO the big problem with the entire Highlander franchise in general is there’s nowhere to go except “here’s yet another big bad immortal (evil, super-old, super-powerful, etc, yet no one’s ever heard of him until JUST NOW) for McCloud to fight”.

        The only way to go bigger is by trying to explore what causes immortality, but you can only do that once, and then you’re tapped out. Plus “the Quickening” already tried, and made such a horrifying object lesson in what happens if you do an unsatisfactory job that it kinda scared everyone away from ever even thinking about it again.

        • The_Stig

          They DID explore what causes immortality. It was called Highlander: The Source, and it was 100 percent grade-A dogshit. The Source sucked so hard it made Highlander 2 look like a masterpiece of coherent storytelling.

          It even managed to piss all over Queen!

    • $36060516

      I don’t remember the trailer or much of the film of Highlander: Endgame, though I saw them both. What was the egregious material that was filmed just for the trailer? (Or was it material that was filmed for the movie but cut out of the final edit?)

      • Alexa

        There were shots of the main characters going through portals, and the main baddie being split in half and regenerating, in which he also stops a sword in mid air that’s aiming for his head. And yeah all of this, to my knowledge, was shot just to be put compiled for a trailer :/

    • Bouncy X

      a “worst” example is Paranormal Activity 3, the trailers featured like 99% footage never seen in the actual movie, that was terrible. if i recall, they werent even included as deleted scenes or anything…very odd.

  • TheRedWorm

    Lying in the trailer…. as long as really bad movies still have trailers, I suspect this will always be a problem :D

    ETA: Hell, even good movies do this. The Grey was fantastic, but the trailer lied it’s balls off about the tone of the film.

  • $36060516

    The plot ruining you describe is ridiculous. Just watched a trailer for a movie where a convict escapes from prison, kidnaps a family in a grocery store, forces them to drive him to their home, ties them up, grows to trust them over time and so unties them, the mother of the family gradually falls in love with the convict, years pass with them cohabiting happily as the convict becomes a father figure to the child, and finally the cops come looking for him at the house and there’s a confrontation. The only thing left up to the imagination was whether or not the cops get the guy at the end (which was spoiled by the first comment under the trailer on YouTube).

    A piece of orchestral music that used to get used in trailers a lot was “Carmina Burana.”

  • Moppet

    I’ve been stopping at watching the teasers lately for exactly some of the reasons you’ve brought up, when it comes to online stuff. This doesn’t tend to help much when I go to the movies though. Frustrating really.

  • The comedy swipe part practically made me sick. Lot of whoosh-whoosh-whoosh. Also, it is a very overused convention.

  • Gallen_Dugall

    You hit the nail on the head – it’s an outdated method of doing things. You take the film from the people who created it and hand it off to a group of marketing people whose only criteria for success is the amount of buzz generated by their work. This means the marketing people have zero stake in the product’s success and frequently they act accordingly by giving into the temptation to just show the best bits of the movie and all the twists. Marketing isn’t innately horrible, but when marketing is tasked with reducing risk (which is what corporate weasels see as its only purpose) instead of simply promoting a product, it can be.

  • John Wilson

    That why my trailer for my movie going to be a music video with footage not in the movie.

  • Sergeant343

    When I think of the worst example in recent memory, it has to be Dream House, for the trailer gave away the twist for the movie. A good trailer that released recently was Under the Skin, which reminded me of an Stanley Kubrick trailer.

  • FullofQuestions1

    -Ah, the strobe effect. So much totally unnecessary anxiety for my friend who has epilepsy. The fact that seizure warnings sometimes go by quickly and are hard to spot doesn’t help.
    -The Orphan trailer lied in a really weird way: The tone and plot were spot on, but almost all of the pieces were in the wrong context- for example, there’s a shot of Esther being creepy, followed by Kate screaming, “What are you doing?” even though that was not a response to something Esther did. It was weird seeing the movie; everything felt out of order. For some reason, they also put in a bunch of shots that, when played back to back, imply that Esther is a ghost.
    -The one trailer that I thought did a good job with giving away the ending was The Magdalene Sisters. It makes a person want to watch the movie because you end up wanting to know what they had to go through, how it affected them, and how in the hell they managed to survive. It’s billed as the tale of three women who managed to survive this awful thing, and so, the trailer works.

    • Jackie

      Strobes are so common in media nowadays. Enter The Void and recently an episode of Hannibal. I dunno why.

  • Magdalen

    “BRAAAM” i giggled. ^ ^

    • Jay_Bay

      Had to check my pants afterwards…..then I realize it was the horn.

    • Gallen_Dugall

      it’s nice to see the guy getting work even after he’s been dead for over a hundred years
      but I still prefer his early works

  • Jackie

    One of those movies came out on my birthday (July 15th)? Cute.

  • Cameron Vale

    The fading/cutting to black is so abused, I doubt that anyone has even failed to notice it anymore.

  • Sofie Liv

    Ah, thanks for the vid. Man I just highly, highly enjoyed watching this video.

    I had gathered most of what you said, but it was great to have it up there on the screen and gathered with examples and every-thing.

    The comedic pause… yeah.. oh boy… erhm… I do use that myself in my comedy quite a lot, but, it’s kind of different when you are in the middle of the flow, or when it’s just so abrupt in the trailers, at least that’s what I think.

    It’s a shame really, because you can do so much with trailers, it’s its own little artform in its own way, it’s almost like making small mini movies. It’s a shame people don’t use the format a bit more creatively :/

  • Transcendence did the whole ‘giving away the whole plot’ thing too, going up to literally 15 minutes before the end. Strangely enough the trailer was a far better story than the movie.

  • spiff2268

    One thing that always ticks me off is when they use a really cool song in the trailer that fits perfectly with the movie and then the song never ends up being used anywhere in said movie.

    • FullofQuestions1

      I know! I was so sad when “Dream On” wasn’t in Argo!

  • Jerry Nava

    Speaking of the trailers that lie, they may have showed a lot of the movie in some clips, but I can assure you the Amazing Spiderman 2 trailers are technically a lie, specially in the villains department.

    The cliché I’ve always hated the most is the one where they tell you the whole plot. I remember being excited about the Zorro sequel and then when I saw the trailer it practically spelled the entire movie, hell, there was supposed to be a twist about Elena being a spy, but nope, that’s on the trailer too. And so is the villain. Oh, and as an extra bonus they have that cliché of the kid saying “I can’t wait for my dad to kick your-(cut to a scene of Zorro punching)” and they didn’t even get that one right xD

  • Wizkamridr

    The Man of Steel trailers showed everything, and people still got pissed off after walking out of the theater. I don’t know what people were expecting from Snyder aka the other Bay.

  • Jackie

    Anyone hate the Earth To Echo trailer with those ear-breaking screech noises?

  • Endorenna

    They did the extended look crap to me when I went to see The Amazing Spiderman 2. Shame it was for the new Xmen movie, which I actually REALLY want to see. >_> Showed me an amazing shot I would really preferred to have seen with the right movie…
    As far as the spoilers thing, that is precisely the reason that I have a policy concerning trailers now. I see a trailer for a movie and I want to see the movie, I then avoid all other trailers for it like the plague because I know that they will spoil the movie for me. I’m already one of those annoying people who predicts everything that will happen in a movie about ten minutes in and is usually right, so dammit, if there’s going to be a plot twist that surprises me, I want to wait until the movie to see it so I can enjoy being surprised!