What makes a good trailer?

Over the last couple of weeks, there has been an explosion of trailers hitting the web for the latest and greatest Hollywood flicks. The trailers themselves however have not all been great. So I’ve decided to review a few of the recently released trailers and break down just what makes them effective.

First and foremost, a trailer has to get people excited about the movie. If nothing else, it should leave fans more excited about the film than prior to their viewing of the trailer. New trailers such as the ones for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Ant-Man” did a great job with this. The former showed fans great imagery and moments reminiscent of the original trilogy. It really captured the Star Wars essence that has been missing from the films since “Return of the Jedi.” “Ant-Man” gave fans a glimpse into the powers of the titular hero and provided some slick action scenes. Both trailers left audiences eager for more.

Secondly, a trailer should provide an overview of the plot. People want to have some idea about what they’re going to see, so providing an outline of the story in a trailer is a great tactic. The trailers for “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Terminator: Genisys” missed this mark by a long shot, but in distinctly different ways. The “Batman v Superman” trailer provided zero new information about the plot. As long as you could read the title of the movie, you knew everything that the trailer showed. It didn’t give fans a look at any new characters or story elements. This made it a pretty bitter experience, especially considering the massive anticipation for the movie. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum we have the “Terminator: Genisys” trailer. The latest trailer reveals a massive spoiler for the movie. After watching it, I couldn’t think of why the producers of the film chosen to do it. By revealing such an incredibly huge and important twist in the story, there won’t be any shock value when fans see it happen on the big screen. Paramount, the studio behind the movie, made a bizarre decision that I think seriously angered many fans.

Finally, trailers need to express the tone of the movie and give fans an idea about the vibe of the film. This is one of the few things that the “Batman v Superman” trailer actually accomplished. It very clearly showed viewers exactly what kind of mood the movie was going to have: dark, brooding and hopeless. Whether or not fans are excited for this tone is a whole other issue, but in terms of trailers, Warner Brothers did a good job. “Ant-Man” also did a good job in averting the initial fears that fans had about the tone of the film. The initial teaser trailer left many people questioning if the movie was going to be up to the Marvel standard, but the newest trailer quickly eliminated those doubts. All the things people want out of a movie like “Ant-Man” are there. The trailer absolutely nails the tone of the movie and left me much more excited for its release.

In the end, the job of a trailer is to promote the movie. Some do it well and others don’t. Whether or not it will even matter when these films come out remains to be seen. However, as a fan, I love seeing great trailers and this is what I think the best ones are made of.


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