Take Notice, Hollywood: This is What a Good Trailer Looks Like

Before I get started here, I want to first credit my friends over at Movie Parliament for talking about the new trailer for Prometheus and for making me realize that a quality movie preview like this is a sad rarity.

When I first heard about Prometheus I was ambivalent. I somewhat dismissed it as a big-budget, effects-driven sci-fi action flick. It will probably still embody those traits, but this new trailer and the solid cast have me much more excited to see the film. Check out the trailer below: 

This is everything that a movie trailer should be. The importance of trailers cannot be overstated, and 20th Century Fox gets it right with Prometheus. The trailer is utterly enthralling but does not give away much. We learn barely anything about the characters or about the things they encounter on their apparent mission. We just know that s*** hits the fan in some fashion.

Trailers often struggle to walk the line between capturing viewers’ attention and giving away too many plot details, but this one perfects that requirement. Throw in the Inception-esque music, the frantic latter portion, and the dramatic line, “Big things have small beginnings,” and you have yourself a hell of a preview and a film that many more people — myself included — will want to see.

To illustrate some contrast, here are a few trailers that fail in the areas where Prometheus succeeds. The main problem is excessive plot revelation:

Bruce Almighty (2003)

Producing effective trailers for comedies is admittedly difficult, as it’s hard to include enough content without giving away too many of the film’s jokes. That being said, I remember seeing Bruce Almighty years ago and liking it to a degree, but thinking that I would have enjoyed it much more if many of the funniest parts of the movie weren’t included in the trailer coming attractions, which I saw ad nauseam.

Contagion (2011)

This trailer explicitly tells us that Gwyneth Paltrow’s character dies. Yes, it does occur very early in the movie, but still, could we not have had just a little more suspense?

Dream House (2011)

This trailer was just one of many things that went wrong with this movie. One of the main twists of the film — that Daniel Craig’s character is a mental patient who has created a fantasy world to cope with some horrors from his past — is revealed in the trailer. I would imagine the film has at least one or two more twists (although maybe it doesn’t; the film was critically panned and I thus never bothered to see it), but this is a big thing to give away.

Anyway, let’s get back to Prometheus. Hopefully director Ridley Scott — who has a great track record (Alien, with which Prometheus appears to have many similarities, and Gladiator come to mind) but has delivered some mediocre work over the past decade or so (such as the derivative American Gangster, Hannibal, and Robin Hood) — can get back on track with this film. The talented cast that includes Noomi Rapace (the actress who played Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy), the omnipresent Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, and Charlize Theron should help. And of course, this trailer has Prometheus off to a promising start.

About Tommy D

Clemson and UGA alum with a market research job in LA. And I kind of like movies.

Posted on March 24, 2012, in General Movie Discussion, Upcoming Films and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Cannot wait for PROMETHEUS. Ridley Scott is a master.

  2. I was a little surprised that the Contagion preview gave away so much. It made me less likely to see it. Prometheus looks good.

  1. Pingback: Prometheus – Review « Tommy D Talks Movies

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