How Right are Trailers?

With several big trailers getting several big reactions, NC asks just how closely the trailers represent the movies.

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About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.

110 comments

  1. Please tell me he’s going to review the shitty-ass Fant4stic movie!

  2. I’ll never forget watching the first Korra trailer where they made it look like a fish out of water comedy. Hey guys look at this country girl aint she gonna have a hard time adjusting to the city. It was so bad I was put of watching the first season for a year without realising that network had no faith in the show. Again film is like photography you can take a picture of a building and chose how you want to communicate.

  3. Doug is completely off of the mark, about people going to go see a movie because they hated the trailer.
    That makes about as much as going to the dentist for a cleaning, and then saying “I hated that experience so much, that I’m going to schedule a root-canal for next week. Because I want to know exactly how much I’ll hate having one of my teeth removed”.

    I saw the trailer for the new Ghostbusters movie, and I most definitely am NOT going to see it.
    And yes, I was a fan of the original movies, and the original Real Ghostbusters cartoon series.

    Personally, I can usually tell very well by a trailer, whether I’ll like the movie or not.
    For example, I could tell from the trailer of Cats vs. Dogs, just how stupid that it was going to be.
    But then, almost any live-action movie which centers around talking dogs and cats, is going to be stupid (Homeward Bound, being a notable exception).
    I knew from watching the trailer of Michael Bay’s new TMNT movie, that it was going to be aweful (and probably as bad as his TF movies).
    So I didn’t watch the movie.
    Despite really enjoying the original two TMNT movies as a kid.

    • No one goes to a movie because of a bad trailer. They go in spite of it. Usually because someone else has told them it is good, or it gets good reviews, or because it’s just something they’ve been interested in. Or, heck, they wanted to see a bad movie.

  4. Talking about misleading trailers, I remember the one for Hot Fuzz. Good lord, that looked awful. I mean, awful. I adamantly refused to see the movie. Finally, my college roommate convinced me to watch the movie on DVD. Turns out the movie was amazing, and it just had a terrible trailer.

  5. Yeah for some reason Disney hasn’t found a good way to market some of their movies. The trailers for Frozen were so odd, jumbled and unfocused that I didn’t even know it was a musical until I even saw it.

  6. Hey Doug, thanks for the CF shoutout!

    I’m a Canadian, and we’ve got our own foundation, but the research done, in any country, helps all people.

    People in English North America have it amazingly well compared to other countries in the world, including other first world countries ( e.g. Japan and Russia) and that only came about because of all of the dedication from our doctors and researchers.

    With the proper diagnosis and medication for maintenance and illness recovery, people with Cystic fibrosis are able to live normal lives.

    But it’s still not perfect: There are costs- financial, physical; CF is a degenerative disease and the sad reality is that many people still die young. 30-years-old young.

    Canada’s healthcare system is friendlier to people with CF than America’s but it still stands that CF, for both nationalities, is one of the most classist diseases out there: Putting aside the cost of insurance and medication, the things that stereotypically come to the poor, such as under-heated apartments, lack of proper nutrition, lack of proper clothing, are death knells for people with CF; The more money and support you have, the longer and easier your life will be.

    I cannot encourage people enough to donate to Cystic Fibrosis agencies; The good they do is tangible and amazing.

  7. Can we retire the following songs from being in EVERY trailer?

    – Walking on Sunshine (Katrina and the Waves)

    – Do Ya (Electric Light Orchestra)

    – White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane)

    – Bad to the Bone (George Thorogood and the Destroyers)

    – Born to Be Wild (Steppenwolf)

    – Let My Love Open the Door (Pete Townsend)

  8. i find this interesting as I’ve been thinking of starting a video series on trailer reviews. Is this a sign from the critic? lol

  9. I think the worst trailer I saw was for Tangled. It made it seem like the hair had a mind of its own, and that looked utterly ridiculous to me. However, when I did go see the movie, I was very impressed by it.

  10. Perhaps a more straightforward answer is that trailers are small works of filmcraft in themselves, showcasing often remarkable editing and music direction.

    And then there’s something like the teaser for “The Last Airbender,” which was really a short film in its own right. It was also the single greatest piece of movie marketing I’ve ever seen, and of course a much better film than the full movie.

  11. ilovethings andstuff

    hey.. the super mario bros film wasn’t suck ass..it was really good

  12. ilovethings andstuff

    and the fembusters film is going to a major flop.. even worse looking film then batman vs superman dawn of the brooding morons is.. and just like the up coming flop known as suicide squad.. named so because the film is financial suicide for warner brothers

  13. The only time you know you’re in for a bad movie EVERY TIME is if someone like Michael Bay is the director or even mentioned. His lack of talent/comprehension/reality/anything human (I don’t know, it’s one, the other or maybe a mix) has that much stigma, it’s practically impossible to get rid of it. However, you know you’re usually in for a good experience when Christopher Nolan is the director and co-writer. His intelligent writing, realistic stunts and complex characters resonate so well with his name (or brand I guess if you want to call it that) that it’s practically impossible to not get invested. Even after his reasoning, I STILL don’t understand how Doug didn’t like the Dark Knight Rises but that’s another story.

    However… notice what those two have in common with their movies: The trailers. Both tend to make them look epic, both are trying to say something interesting or show something interesting and even have a strong sense of mystery. Their formula’s are very similar, practically the same yet you KNOW one is pretty much a definite in being a bad film and the other is the opposite. So why is it that we go for the glorified bad, even insulting movies almost as much as we go for the good and enlightening movies? Maybe these trailers have more sway than we think…

  14. Sheesh, Vessel makes Blip look reliable. Its worked once. Once.

  15. Funnily enough, I also had an experience of enjoying the Japanese trailer more than the American trailer with Zootopia. I saw the advertisements for Zootopia, and I did not get why people were so hyped up for it besides the fact it was produced by Disney. But then when I was in Japan, I saw an advertisement on TV there, and it looked amazing! I think Disney should just let their studio in Japan take care of advertising, because their home studio clearly sucks at it.

  16. The problem with the Frozen trailer wasn’t that it was bad or misrepresentative, the problem was that it was a blatant and shameful rip-off of an unrelated cartoon short which took an extensive lawsuit to resolve (spoiler – Disney lost).

    And Doug, I’m disappointed you completely skirted the issue of spoilers. I hate when I go to the cinema for a movie only to be presented a trailer for another movie which spoils is completely. It’s even worse when the movie is great or it relies completely on some sort of suprise. Truman Show? Completely spoiler by trailer. The Island? Let’s put the entire reveal in the trailer so we don’e scare away the dumb action-movie crowd. And you don’t even have to watch to Youtube archive to see some spoiler-heavy trailers. The Revenant trailer basically showed you the entire story from the beginning to the end. Batman vs Superman revealed everything there was to reveal (admittedly, no huge loss there). And don’t even get me started on Game of Thrones (although they at least try to hide the spoilers behind very quick cuts).

    As a kid I used to love trailers. Now I avoid them like plague.

  17. Doug kind of contradicts himself by saying that Batman & Robin was clearly terrible just based on the trailer alone, and then pretending that the new Ghostbusters trailer looks anything but atrocious, and that we can’t judge it based on just the trailer. We have seen TWO trailers of the new Ghostbusters, AND the screenplay has leaked online. We know it is atrocious. Lets face it people, this IS the new Batman & Robin; a shameless piece of exploitation that could very well ruin the franchise. Quite often the trailer is a very accurate depiction of the ‘tone’ of the movie. So if the tone of the trailer seems all wrong, and none of the jokes work, then that is a bad sign for the movie itself.

    • Honestly, I don’t care…I don’t even like the original Ghostbusters all that much. I have kind of a respect for the movie, but I also think that it is a movie which worked back then, in this particular time period. I don’t think the same movie released today would work the same way.
      There are a few movies which shouldn’t be touched because there are so iconic that any other take will fall short from the get go. And then there are movies which shouldn’t be touched because they hit a particular Zeitgeist and therefore wouldn’t work nowadays. Ghostbusters is kind of in-between.

      But if I had to judge this: Trouble on set, terrible trailer, give it a pass unless the critics say it is good after all.

  18. Nope, Im not gonna watch Ghostbusters. Im not gonna support this piece of shit.
    PS. Man of Steel is awesome.

  19. I am usually pretty good gauging the quality of a movie based on the trailer…but then, I don’t decide what I watch just based on it, but a combination of “that topic interests me”, “this trailer looks bad/good”, critic reviews and audience reaction.

    Still, making a good trailer is an artform in itself, they deserve to get discussed.

  20. I’ve found that with most films the trailers don’t really tell it like it is. The framing and everything like that is just overall lacking in giving me the information I want. And then you’ve got things like Civil War, Ghostbusters and Batman vs Superman which generally just confirm my suspicions that they’re likely going to be bad sits for me. Not to suggest that they are bad films in and of themselves, just that I personally would not enjoy them, and in the case of Ghostbusters that is purely because it just generally looks awful. The all-female dynamic could’ve worked if it’d actually been written maturely and not relied on the outdated stereotypes they seem to be intent in portraying (whether they be social, gender-based, or racial, or even a combination of the three).

  21. Blaze The Movie Fan

    I honestly don’t care about trailers anymore, I base whether I’m interested in seeing a movie or not on reviews, since they always give accurate idea on what the movie is like.

  22. Right now, all I can think of is Jack Fenton saying something like, “With these I can fight ghosts mano a ghosto.” As for trailers, I think when they show too many things it kinda puts me off, but I also don’t like the trailers that overdramatize the movie with blaring horns, like the natural disaster movies. It’s been done too many times >>. I wanna see a really subtle trailer, subtle but jarring, something ending with many implications that I can think over. It’s very vague, but I think it would be fun.

  23. I’m the weird one in my family, in that I actually enjoy the preview trailers at the movie theater or on DVD. And one of my favorite trailers of all time is the one for Life of Pi, which used Coldplay’s ‘Paradise’ in the background.

  24. The ‘trailer’ I remember the most is the tv commercials done for Event Horizon. Why? Because they made the movie seem like it was going to be more like Star Wars than Friday the 13th. I went out to see that movie with my cousin when we were freshly 17 and it horrified the hell out of teenage minds. (Both of us are squemish)

  25. One of my favourite trailers ever is the one for 10 CLoverfield Lane. It gave you the basics of the basics of what the movie was about without spoiling most of the surprises and tension of the actual film. It also made me really pumped to see a film that I might’ve just seen on Netflix in a few years if not for the trailer and I’m glad I watched in theatres, because that movie was amazing.

  26. The remaking of trailers into ‘new movies’ reminds me, has anyone ever watched fan made trailers? Not speculation trailers, but fan made for movies that have already been released?

    There’s a phenomenal one for The Shining that uses a piece of music from the TRON:Legacy score, a score that deserved a much, much better film (such as, The Shining), and it is almost better than the movie itself.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVQmzfS6B3k

    I actually recommend checking out that guy’s entire channel; he’s a master at compiling and editing clips into a coherent montage. He even made a disaster movie short out of multiple movies.

  27. Best trailer of all time? Titanic. Not even close. Yes, it gives the ENTIRE film away, but let’s face it…we all knew pretty much how that whole thing was going to play out anyway. I dare anyone to go back and watch that entire trailer again and not want to watch the movie instantly, even if you don’t LIKE the movie. That trailer MAKES you want to see it. To this day, I think 75% of that movie’s amazing success was that trailer.

  28. I’ve often said if you can’t judge a movie by the trailer, the trailer-makers aren’t doing their job*. That’s exactly what a trailer is designed for.
    Of course, they want your judgement to be ‘this is gonna be awesome!’, and only bring out that defence when you look and say ‘this is gonna suck!’.

    I’ve also often said: even if you can’t judge a movie by the trailer, you still have to. The very first judgement you make about any work must be before you experience it: ‘Is this worth my time and money to experience’? (Whether that’s reading a book or watching a movie or whatevering a whatever.) A trailer is a place to start for a movie.

    * You could say the same thing about the whole book / cover controversy.
    Also: a lot of trailer-makers aren’t doing their job.

  29. Please call the Star “Trek” reboots by their real names – Star WRECK. Thank you.

  30. Hey, thanks for the Lex Junior spoiler, you subpar fucking critic.

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