Trailers or Spoilers

By Joshua Kamath

Since the dawn of film (maybe not, I wasn’t around for it), Hollywood has dropped a trailer before the launch of their big name films. These trailers were meant to slap viewers in the face and scream, “Oi, come watch this movie! Here’s some scenes to hook you in”. However, the very nature of trailers has mutated over time, and begun to spill over into the territory of spoilers.

Trailers are defined as being “a series of extracts from a film or broadcast, used for advance publicity”. To elaborate, they are meant to be scenes from the film that are meant to give you an idea of what the film is, and the basic premise of the first act. However, trailers have mutated, devolved, into a feral monster over the years. We went from having one or two trailers before a film’s launch to having a minimum of three, unless it’s an animated film. This meant that more footage has to be shown, and it’s overly expensive to film scenes exclusively for a trailer, which means more footage from the final film makes it into the world and is available for digestion, at the viewer’s discretion.

Now, we’re all used to it, so most of us don’t really notice it. However, as trailers begin to show more and more footage, there is less and less wonder and excitement about going to see a film. The reason is pretty simple; we’ve already seen the film. If you’ve read any of my previous articles, you’ll notice that I had this exact issue with Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, but now I’m going to be speaking on a much broader scale.

Tim Burton’s Batman Trailer 

Take, if you will, for example, Tim Burton’s Batman (1989). The trailer opens with Keaton’s Batman soaring through Gotham, raining hell down on Nicholson’s Joker. We then meet some of the other main characters, goes through a few quick shots and then ends. You get to see Tim Burton’s vision of a gothic Gotham, meet all the main characters so you can identify them without much exposition during the film, and get some idea of the tone of the film and the level of action involved. Overall, it’s a trailer that doesn’t give away too much about the film.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Now review Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice Trailer #2. This trailer almost double the length, and begins with a lengthy expositional scene which is key to the film. It then scrolls through various action scenes to show the over-the-top level of action associated with a clash between Batman and Superman. However, the film then goes on to show some more key scenes, including snippets of their fight. Capping it off with the appearance and beginning of the Doomsday fight, the whole trailer is an amalgam of footage that is inconsequential and also paramount to the plot.

Power Rangers movie trailer (2017)
Finally, let’s have a look at Power Rangers Trailer #2. This trailer goes further than the previous one, giving us a solid look at the new suits, as well as the Putty Patrollers. We get to see a bit more of Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa, and see her character’s vulnerable side. Unfortunately, the film shows us the Puttys roaming the streets with a gigantic Goldar, as the Rangers arrive with their individual Zords and cap the trailer off with the first look at the Megazord. This scene screams final battle, and in my opinion doesn’t need to be there. I’m not saying I didn’t want to see Goldar, but I’d prefer to not see him in the final scene.
So, in conclusion, what I’ve been trying to point out with this entire article (let’s be real, this is me having a bit of a rant), is that somewhere in the last twenty years or so, trailers stopped being previews for films and have become outright spoilers. Half of the time, you don’t have to both paying the $20+ to go to the cinemas to watch a film, you just kick back and wait for the trailers to be uploaded to Youtube. As for who’s to blame for this current state, it’s a combination of Hollywood, and us as consumers.

Let’s be honest. We cry out for more, because we aren’t satisfied with the bare minimum, and Hollywood gives it to us because they want the money. It’s too late to change it, because Hollywood are aware that we’ll go and see the movies either way, blinded by the hype train that they roll out on a regular basis. I just wanted to get this off my chest, and see just how many of you feel the same way.

  1. I learned long ago to only watch the ‘teaser’ and never the ‘trailers’ for this reason. I also read an article last year from a financial stand point movies with trailers which spoil the crucial plot perform better than ones that don’t. I think it was based on the terminator film trailer that spoiled the crucial plot point of the real villain.

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