Hollywood And The Trailer Conundrum

The final trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom dropped yesterday, and I’m still angry about how much of the story it gave away.

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It’s not a new phenomena for feature film trailers to give away too much of the story, and in essence spoil their own plot threads. But yesterday the third and final trailer for Fallen Kingdom proved to be perhaps the most egregious example of a film studio giving away far too much since The Amazing Spider-Man 2 actually showed the final shot of the movie in a trailer.

There’s an obvious argument for why studios do this, at the end of the day they’re a business and their job and the role of the marketing department is to get people into the cinema. But that shouldn’t come at the cost of the cinematic experience you take part in once you’re there.

In part in can perhaps be associated with the Social media age we’re currently living in. People want information in small portions and they want it straight away in quick news cycles. So hiding away the main story thread and focusing on tone and themes isn’t perhaps the best way to approach a trailer aimed at a mainstream/general audience. Instead your trailer needs to focus on “moments”; key shots and plot points that grab the attention and make you want to see the film.

The final Fallen Kingdom is littered with said moments, some of which are highly infuriating spoilers, so I won’t go into detail here. But what I can do is note that there are at least 5 key moments, plot points or mysteries spoiled over the course of a 2 and a half minute long trailer.

So the question has to be asked, can marketing departments focus on themes and tone and still get those tickets sold? Quite frankly, the answer is a resounding yes and anyone from the film industry who argues otherwise is either complacent or incapable of producing a unique marketing campaign.

John Krasinski’s recent horror-hit A Quiet Place is testament to the wonders a good marketing campaign can do. It didn’t spoil key moments of the film, only ever alluding to them, and relied on the quality of the film premise itself to sell the tickets. That could have failed spectacularly, especially for a film that doesn’t have any prior name value, but to everyone’s surprise it opened up to similar numbers to that of Ready Player One.

What’s all the more frustrating is that Fallen Kingdom nearly had it nailed. Whilst the first trailer failed to capture the buzz that Universal likely wanted, and received pretty negative reactions, the second trailer was widely praised. Honing in on the horror tones of the film and providing only the most basic of story-points, the second trailer told us exactly what the film was going to be and teased enough moments to grab our attention, all the while maintaining the secrecy that hotly anticipated films should try and keep.

What’s more concerning on the Fallen Kingdom front is that apart from that second trailer the entire marketing campaign feels like a B-Movie you would find on the SyFy channel. Alongside the most recent trailer we were treated to the following poster and I can safely say that it’s one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time.

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So enjoy marketing campaigns the likes of which A Quiet Place managed to produce, applaud studios when they manage to scramble together a trailer that tells you everything you need to know and nothing more and criticise when they give you too much. Talk with your money if you have to. Because until movie-goers start to show that marketing still matters in this social media age the steep slope that trailers find themselves on is only going to get worse.

John Krasinski to work with “A Quiet Place” team for “Life on Mars”

In an exclusive report the Hollywood Reporter have learned that director of the critically acclaimed A Quiet PlaceJohn Krasinski, is set to form a reunion with the same team behind his feature film directorial debut.

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Krasinski will be reteaming with the producers of A Quiet Place – Michael Bay, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller – to work on Life on Mars. Based on the short story by Cecil Castellucci titled We Have Always Lived on Mars the story follows “a woman who is among a handful of descendants of a Martian colony long-abandoned by Earth following a cataclysm. The woman one day finds she can breathe the air on Mars, upending her world and that of her fellow colonists”.

Paramount, who distributed A Quiet Place, are in negotiations to once again pick up Krasinski’s project.

 

Review: A Quiet Place

Director: John Krasinski
Writers: Bryan Woods, Scott Beck and John Krasinski
Starring: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe

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A Quiet Place is an Oscar-worthy film.

John Krasinski has hit a masterstroke with his feature film directorial debut. Starring, writing and directing a film which he considered something of a personal passion will have helped this film no-end, and having his real life wife Emily Blunt along for the ride to add experience and chemistry only helped to raise this film up from good to great.

Featuring a small cast of 4 people (Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe playing the children of the aforementioned Blunt and Krasinski), set on a farm in the rural landscape of Duchess County, I doubt anyone involved with the production of the film would realise what a hit they had on their hands.

Debuting at the box-office with numbers similar to that of Ready Player One, a film which cost roughly $150m more to make, the debut film for Krasinski has already more than tripled its meager budget of $17m.

It’s hard to decide where to start with the positives of this film. Every member of the cast do an outstanding job and it’s hard to tell you exactly who the lead of the film is because all 4 characters are central to the story and family connection that the film is built around. Many people are quick to criticise child actors, but Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe are absolute stars here. Selling their fear to absolute perfection, they at no point feel out of place or outshone. Krasinski does a wonderful job in the caretaker role, playing the protective and loving father to perfection. But it’s Emily Blunt who steals the show with her performance, including one scene in particular that should call for her to be nominated in the Best Actress category come 2019.

It would be remiss of me to not mention the use of sound throughout the film, the entire premise of what this cinema experience is built on. The film makes quick work of establishing the rules of the world within which it is set; what constitutes too much noise, what noises can be heard by what camera shots, and by extension what can be heard by the lurking monsters. Hopefully you get lucky and see this film with either an empty audience or a well behaved one. Having someone talking during this movie is likely to ruin the experience, which is entirely built around there being no sound in the movie and thus in the audience either, otherwise you run the risk of detracting from the tension and story that is being told on screen.

There is very little dialogue in this movie, nearly all communication is done through sign language and facial expressions, which only serves to heighten the performance of the actors involved. But what sound is used, is done so masterfully. I imagine that this film is a sound team’s wet dream, as they were able to focus on the minutia of what the audience should be hearing, and when the time came for loud noises and action, they were able to pull it off without losing any of the tension felt during quiet moments. Again, I would be incredibly surprised not to see this film get the nod for Sound Editing and Sound Mixing throughout the next award season.

All in all a near perfect movie, the action pieces were well directed, the pacing went at a frenetic pace but didn’t sacrifice character development to achieve it and the cinematography was really good, although I would have liked more landscape shots of the farmland, just to add a little further context to their surroundings outside the farm itself.

I tip my hat to John Krasinksi and everyone else involved in the creation of this film, because it’s not only the best horror film to come out in years, but it’s generally just one of the best films period over the past handful of years. Here’s hoping that this wasn’t just beginner’s luck for Krasinki and that he can go on to be one of the next great directors.

Final Score: 9/10 Porgs

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