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Summarizing trailers ruin magic of the movies

Sean Sweany | Tuesday, April 3, 2007

As a film fan, I naturally find myself a fan of movie trailers. Sometimes going into a film, I’m more excited to see the trailers than the film itself. The spring is always a big time for movie trailers because studios want to drum up hype for their upcoming summer blockbusters.

This spring is no exception with trailers for “Spiderman 3,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” “Shrek 3” and “Transformers” – to name a few – playing in theaters. For a trailer addict like myself, these are the ultimate gratification – especially since I can watch them over and over in high-definition at apple.com.

However, while watching the trailers in front of “Blades of Glory” this past weekend, I became distinctly aware of how frequently previews these days are condensing entire films into three-minute montages.

I feel like I could relate to someone the entire plot of “Spiderman 3” in chronological order just from having seen the latest trailer. The same goes for “Pirates 3” and “Shrek 3.” Trailers like these take away any suspense or surprise movies can contain.

Often, trailers for comedies give away all the funny moments of the film, leaving nothing left for audiences to laugh at during the movie. All four funny jokes in “Nacho Libre” were in the trailer, making the film largely an unfunny waste of time. “Blades of Glory,” thankfully, did not do this. In fact, most of the jokes for that film’s trailer weren’t even in the movie.

More trailers should be like this – giving enough to generate enthusiasm for a film without giving away the whole thing months before it arrives in theaters. The original trailer for “Knocked Up” was done in this style, and it was both refreshing and delightful.

The film, from the creators of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” follows what happens after a drunken slacker unexpectedly (Seth Rogen, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”) impregnates an up-and-coming journalist (Katherine Heigl, “Grey’s Anatomy”) in a one-night stand. The original trailer was short and only showed clips from one scene in the movie, establishing a basic plot and a continuity that allowed viewers to connect with the stars.

Unfortunately, producers have since come out with a longer trailer along the lines of “Spiderman 3” that shows scenes from nearly the whole movie and seemingly gives away the entire plot.

So much for the hope that things were changing for the better.

If there’s a solution to this problem, it’s not on Hollywood’s end. Movie studios need to market their films, and they have determined that enough people will see them no matter how detailed and revealing the trailers are.

One could stop watching the trailers and just wait for a film to arrive in theaters, but this also seems unrealistic, at least for me. I mean, when you were young, if you could have gotten a peak at your Christmas presents early, wouldn’t you have done it?

Hollywood will likely continue to make movie trailers that give away the premise of a film in order to sell as many tickets as possible. Accordingly, people like me will continue to watch these trailers no matter how redundant it might seem to basically see a movie in its entirety and then go see it again later.

Speaking of trailers, there’s a new trailer for “War, Inc.,” the latest John Cusack film, on the Internet now, so you’ll have to excuse me.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Sean Sweany at [email protected]