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Movie Trailers Tempt Viewers Back to Theatres

Michelle Fordice | Friday, September 28, 2007

Movie trailers. They’re like the mini candy bars you steal out of jars and eat too many of at Halloween – delicious and bite sized. They let you know what’s coming up in the movie world, take a peek at the film adaptation of your favorite book, enjoy a few seconds of your favorite actor or actress, and keep you up to date on the preferred political sentiments of the moment, all without taking more than a few minutes of your time. What more can a busy college student who wants to do nothing more than procrastinate ask for?

Studios manufacture the trailers for their movies to lure audiences into seeing the advertised film, and as such they can often stand alone as entertainment. I admit with pride that one of my favorite ways of wasting time is sitting in front of my computer watching the diverse lists of trailers off of Yahoo or Apple. Time flies away as I discern what movies I want to spend my money on and review for all my favorite Observer readers. Sometimes it is disappointing to realize I’ve already seen every one of the trailers in the previews before the movie I’ve gone to see, but I cannot resist. Besides, there is something to be said for the excitement of seeing it in the theatre, and I can make sure everyone with me is paying attention to the good ones.

The most exciting trailers are probably those that advertise films you’re already looking forward to. Whether it’s the sequel to the movie you adored, the adaptation of your favorite book or the movie that features the actor or actress you never mind seeing on a big screen, trailers gift you with the morsels that have to last you until the film is released. I love getting to see the first glimpse of a story I have adored for ages in a new visual format, hoping that I will not be disappointed.

Sometimes trailers save you money. There are some films that really aren’t worth the exorbitant ticket price or the time to see them. Trailers let you view the best parts of many movies without ever having to see it. You get the one good laugh, the point of highest tension, or the one meaningful point. There are several movies that I abandoned the desire to see, certain that in the two and a half minutes before another film I caught everything I needed to and the rest could be released without cost. Trailers aim to display the best the films have to offer, and for some movies, that is not much.

Not only do movie trailers let you take a peek at the movies you want to see, they give you some authority on the movies you want to be able talk about with other people. When the kid sitting across the way in class launches into a commentary on global warming and cries that everyone should see “An Inconvenient Truth,” or disparages the health care system and cites “Sicko,” or discusses whatever else catches their fancy and has a complimentary film release, you can nod along with the rest of the class like you know what it is they are talking about. All without having to go to the movie that while good, probably doesn’t overwhelm your desire to see such gems as the latest “Die Hard” sequel.

Sometimes trailers are disappointing. They can be cliché and predictable, give away too much – or simply do nothing to salvage a lost-cause film. Of course, the worst is when they advertise a film you can’t wait to see, but then let you know it will only be a limited release (in other words, it will not come to South Bend. There are movies I still have not managed to catch.).

The rest of the time, they take you on a whirlwind tour of everything there is to look forward to in the upcoming months, tantalizing you back into the world of popcorn and movie stars. So, despite the fact that I have a paper to write, I think it’s time to go see what Colin Firth might be up to in “The Last Legion,” try to understand what “The Nines” is about, get excited over “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” and worry about what this world has come to with a glimpse of “Alvin and the Chipmunks.” Augustine can wait