Saturday, June 06, 2009

I don't know why so many movie trailers give the whole film away.

Feeling a little burnt out, I gave myself the afternoon off yesterday and went to the movies.

I'd been talking for more than a week about seeing Sam Raimi's "Drag Me to Hell," so finally settled myself in for the 1:40 show, with my Twizzlers and my ridiculously large "small" Diet Coke.

First, though, came previews. I love previews; I would happily sit through half an hour of coming attractions. But yesterday, especially because the trailers highlighted upcoming horror and suspense films, I noticed that almost all of them left me feeling no need to see the actual movie, because I'd just seen the whole thing distilled to 90 seconds.

The worst offender was a trailer for a film called "Orphan," which opens next month. You can see the trailer by clicking through that link; I won't post it here, in case you're interested. The logline says, "A husband and wife who recently lost their baby adopt a 9-year-old girl who is not nearly as innocent as she claims to be," and that is all the trailer should show. Instead, we see details of what happens after the couple adopts this girl. (Interestingly, although I read reports that Warner Brothers was going to change the trailer in response to complaints, the trailer I saw still includes the line, "It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own.")

A trailer isn't supposed to be a summary of the movie; it's supposed to give us only enough information to make us want to see the rest. This is bound to be more difficult with thrillers and suspense films, but I didn't get the sense that this was even the goal of the "Orphan" trailer. Am I missing the point? (I do, sometimes...)

What I Read This Week

This week's reading, done mostly while I was traveling, was all advanced copies of books I picked up at BEA.

Matthew Cody, POWERLESS. Twelve-year-old Daniel moves to a small Pennsylvania town and makes some new friends who have unusual skills -- which, mysteriously, they lose on their 13th birthdays. This terrific adventure novel for young adults is also a surprisingly poignant allegory about the loss of childhood magic. Knopf publishes it in November.

Aaron Starmer, DWEEB: Burgers, Beasts, and Unwashed Bullies. Another young adult novel, about five talented preteens imprisoned by their assistant principal in order to cram for a set of standardized tests. Something's very weird at their junior high school, and the boys join forces to figure out exactly what's going on. The characters are the fun of this book, and I hope we'll see them in further adventures. The book comes out in October.

Cornelia Nixon, JARRETTSVILLE. A beautiful novel about the real-life shooting of Union Army veteran Nicholas McComas by his fiancee, Martha Jane Cairnes, in 1869. We get the story from Martha's point of view and from Nicholas, and the story of the trial from several other townspeople, in the tradition of Peter Matthiessen's KILLING MR. WATSON. Nixon makes her points subtly, and lets her readers draw their own conclusions. It'll be out in October.


Anonymous said...

I have noticed recently that trailers have 2 traits-

1--They show a biased selection of the movie and the movie actually goes in a differnt direction.

2---They show the ONLY good parts of the movie amd the movie is actually dull

norby said...

I too love watching the trailers before the movies. I even enjoy watching them on rented dvds. But recently trailers have gotten a little out of control. They're longer, and you do seem to get too much out of them. I've also seen a few movies where scenes from the trailers weren't even in the movie!

Claire said...

The long trailer for "Funny People" is just as bad. Also, Elizabeth and I went recently to an event by the DC Film Society that WAS just trailers--about an hour and a half of previews for summer movies, followed by some fun discussion and ranking of the previews we saw. It was a good evening!

Karen Olson said...

How did I miss these first two books? They sound fabulous.

AnswerGirl said...

They're ARCs I picked up at BEA, Karen -- they were actually in the booksellers' lounge, so I don't know if Knopf had them on the exhibit floor or not!