Stop Me When You’ve Heard This One…

I really thought I was done talking about movie trailers today. I dedicated two whole installments.

Then I watched this.

There is giving too much information. There is over-sharing. And then there is giving away the entire movie. Sigh. I suppose I should give them some credit. Whoever edited this managed to tell a story in under three minutes. The entire story. Oy.

Thus, we must once again accept that some trailers spoil too much. That restraint is a good thing.

What makes for a good trailer? What makes you get just enough, just a taste, but does not fill you up on every single detail? Feast on these.

You get the premise. Groundhog Day, but with teenagers. Darker. More Sisyphean. More torment of Tantalus. And, instead of solely focusing on the main character, it starts to ask, “What if you use this challenge to affect others?” That is when the movie elevates itself from interesting to must-see. (Full credit to Zoey Deutch for having the range to play all the emotional beats.)

The glimpses are there. The plot is there. But not the ending. Not the results. Just a taste.

This is the trailer that made me love trailers. It clocks in at 3:08. That is insane. Most trailers are in the 2:08, 2:18, or 2:28 range. 3:08 used to be madness. But it works. Zeta-Jones, Hopkins, and Banderas all have characters worthy of their own movies. They all have strong story arcs. By letting each breathe, you get enough that you want to know more.

The movie has so much going for it. An Academy Award-winning actor. It won the Oscar for Best Sound Mixing and the Oscar for Best Sound Editing. It has one of the great voice over artists. Directed by a James Bond alum. Fantastic music. Sword fighting choreographed by legendary Bob Anderson who worked on Princess Bride. All of it, all getting their due in the one trailer. All without giving you too much. Three minutes later and I all want is more.

In that same category is Cloud Atlas. If a 3:08 trailer is unheard of, a 5:41 trailer is completely insane. Yet it has to be that way to let it unfold. The movie is just short of three hours. In that time, you encounter a massive cast, playing with six different plots, over six different timelines, in six different worlds. Oh, and the actors play different characters in each timeline. It is intricate, complex, and happily, there is no way to give away the plot in anything less than ten minutes.

Probably my favorite trailer of all time. You honestly do not know what you will see. A jaw-dropping cast. The promise of a heist movie. That is all you really get. Something about dream heisting? What are they stealing? How? Why are things off-center?

Those images are gripping. The music is in its own category. You know that Leo wants to get out and get to the ones he loves. But what does it all mean? I could watch it over and over.

It builds. And it builds. It gets tenser and tenser with each scene. It does not even need the final reveal. There is more than enough here to draw you in. I do not even like heroes fighting heroes. But this? Equal part high-stakes and fun. It builds and builds and builds. And I love it.

The Dark Knight Rises also builds. However, it starts off so. Very. Quiet. It lulls you in. Then it starts to get louder. You see things falling apart through destruction. The stadium. The bridges. Then Batman. “But… it talks about hope! Batman has to be triumphant!” And Batman says that he has not given up everything. Not yet. So maybe this is the time… Drool. All the drooling.

Again, more building. I stand behind almost all the M:I movies. This is the first where they point out, “Hey, uh, this guy pretty much goes rogue in each one. When does he have enough and finally snap?” And then our hero drives into a former ally. An intelligence-boss admits that people can die and that is fine. Another car-motorcycle crash. The helicopters fight. (And knowing how much Cruise loves practical stunts, we get to enjoy them being CGI-less.) More! Who cares about the plot, we will see it! Keep making more!


You get the idea. Withhold. Not everything, but enough. Tell us what the movie is about. Do not tell us the movie. Restrain yourselves. Then we will join you in the story.

About Cosand

He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.
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