Plenty of people swear by DVDs, but there are a few key aspects of a trip to the cinema that sets the experience apart: the taste of movie-theater popcorn, the stadium seating and, of course, the trailers. You’d never be late for a movie not because you might miss the opening sequence but because you could might the chance to rate the really kick-ass trailers that come a few minutes before.
But increasingly in recent years, trailers have been the cause of much discontent in the filmgoing community. Simply put, they give away too much. Plot points, surprise cameos and stunning special effects that would otherwise wow the unsuspecting spectator are all parts of a film you don’t want to know about before a full-length viewing.
Consider the newly released trailer for “Iron Man.” It shows the film’s protagonist, Tony Stark, in pre-superhero form. Fine. Then it shows why he’s forced to build an Iron Man suit. Still, it’s OK. Then it actually reveals the first suit, a crude creation made from metal scraps that prove sufficient enough to take out an army of terrorists. And then it keeps going, divulging Stark’s character transformation and the second, much more stylized version of the superhero costume. It shows the second suit in action; we see it fly thousands of feet in the air and engage in aerial combat with a couple of fighter jets. Now we’ve basically seen 90 percent of the film.
The point of a trailer is to entice the audience, and it would be na’ve to expect producers to save all the best material for the actual cinematic experience. But how many people have eagerly waited for the next Judd Apatow or Vince Vaughn comedy, paid an insane $10 to see it and then found they’re not even laughing because all the funny jokes were featured in a preview that came out last spring? Or take the summer blockbuster, when you can predict every single stunt the main characters are going to perform because all the leap-through-midair-over-an-exploding-bridge sequences have graced screens across America for the past eight months.
Of course, it doesn’t help that some cinefiles feel the need to download the newest teasers the minute they premiere online, or that many attend conferences like Comic-Con to see freshly edited spots made to whet the appetite of a few fanboys. But even if you’re not one of those people, you still probably watch television. Studios might only show a selection of the movie’s defining moments in one theatrical trailer, but they’ll definitely show the rest over the course of 17 different TV spots. By the time you see the actual movie, it’s all déj