Friday, September 16, 2011

Coming soon...Part one

Watching the trailers is one of my favorite things about going to the movies. I love that almost as much as I do the movies themselves. There is something wonderful about seeing sneak peeks of films that are coming out. The anticipation of a film is almost as fun as watching them.

There is an art to making a good trailer. A good trailer can get people into a bad movie while a bad trailer can drive people away from a good movie. I understand that the film makers themselves usually don’t have any input as to what gets put into the trailer. That is handled by the production company. The person who edits the trailers can’t even be held accountable because it’s going to be the group of people holding the money that has the final say. Also to be clear I am going to focus on trailers not teaser trailers. Teasers are a whole other IMHO article.

I want to show you a good trailer first, one that sells just the right elements of a movie and gets you interested in what is going to be comming. Then we will break them down from there.

This was a great composite of action and intrigue and it gave nothing away as far as any of the subplots in the film. What do we know from this trailer? We know the following… Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Tia Carrere and Action, action, action. There were three underlying subplots to this movie that we get to enjoy as we watch the movie. Nothing was given away but we did get a good idea of what is being sold.

You knew going into the movie this is a horror film about the ghost of his mistress coming back to haunt him. This ruins the build up and reveal to the fact that Harrison Ford’s character had an affair. The first half of the movie has a huge red herring subplot on who the ghost is. This story line is pointless if we already know it's not really whats going on. The over share on the trailer is where I think this movie’s failure was.

This had me up until the end. My journey of interest kind of goes like this… I was mildly interested, more interested, hey this might be cool, wow, this might work, HELL YEAH I WANT TO SEE THIS KICK ASS FIL….he is peeing fire, really? I have so many off color jokes about this being an ad for safe sex right now that I will just set the trailer down and back away.

That last little bit throws so many doubts as to the quality of the film. For me it overshadows the rest of the really cool things and the only thing I am left with is a pee joke.

Movie making is a collaborative process, the people who make the choices about the content of the trailers needs to keep that in mind. The trick to putting bums in seats is to entice them with a great hook that is a great trailer. This is where I am going to leave off for now; I am going to call this part one. Part two will go over the edits they do in a trailer to make sure that it gets a green band rating.

What are some of your favorite trailers? Good or bad your choice.

Monday, September 12, 2011

In the Beginning…

One question that has always plagued me is why we need to have an origin story with every hero film. There are some characters that are iconic and don’t need one. Superman is one that comes to mind. Are there people on the planet who do not know how he came to be? If there are, they are probably not going to see this film anyway. Origin stories take up time that could be spent with an original story. Instead of telling the part of the story everyone knows, tell us a part that is unlike anything we have heard before.

Spiderman is coming out and it’s starting from the beginning, again. I know that that is more of a reboot and some of the elements from the first movies are now going to be changed to be more in line with the comic books so I can see where you would want to start over. Rewriting history is the one exception to doing an origin story. However, the origin story needs to be completed in the first 15 min of the film and they need to kick the real story off from there.

Other reasons to start from the beginning is the completely reinventing the style of the story, Batman Begins is a good example of this. Previous films have had the look and feel of the Tim Burton’s Batman movies. In order to separate themselves from those films they started from scratch to reset the style of the new film. If the Hero is not as famous or more obscure it makes sense to start from scratch.

Let’s look at the first X-men movie. We didn’t need to have an entire movie dedicated to how things started; we just need to have a quick recap/introduction at the beginning of the film. Sir Patrick Stewart’s voice over was perfect. It let everyone know what was going on and then we enjoyed the movie from there. The Incredible Hulk is another one that did a great job of recapping at the start. Do a quick recap during the opening credits that way you can bring anyone who is not familiar with the origin up to speed and you movie directly into the story.

I think one reason film makers do this is because studios have a set expectation of how the formula is going to work out. It worked for Batman so we need to have this in every hero film. It really depends on the character and story. I also think that studios are trying to accommodate many people in their telling of the story and try to encompass people other than the fan base of the characters. I think they probably underestimate the popularity of these characters. I know that you can’t make a movie and please everyone, the fan base is supercritical of how their beloved heroes are portrayed. But as film makers I would suggest that you can move on to new original stories and we as the viewers will keep up. I promise.

What do you think? Is it a requirement to have an origin story for Hero Films?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Too Much of A Good Thing.

I am a movie geek; I love the art of movie making. I am also a nerd so when it comes to science fiction films I am usually happier than a womp rat in beggar’s canyon. I am usually one of the first in line to partake in anything science fiction. I love Star Wars and have been a fan for a long time. I remember going to the theater to see a trailer for Star Wars and was completely hooked from that point on to any and all things sci fi. I am here today to say that I am and always be a Star Wars fan. And I have to be honest I will always love that universe.

I just learned about the changes to the content with the Blu-Ray release coming out. George Lucas is the creator of that universe and he has complete control over his property. I respect that and encourage that. He obviously wanted to have a specific look and feel to his universe and he has every right to try and capture that. But I am the consumer; I am the one that decides what I do with my money. I can and will choose not to buy the Blu-Ray release of the first six films.

I am in love with the enchantments to the scenes adding more life to some of the city shots; bring the bland sets of cloud city to life with windows in long boring hallways. These changes are great, but I have an issue when you change content. Paramount has done the same thing with the re-mastering of the original Star Trek series. They made the product that was there better by leaving the content alone but updating the effects of the shots that they had. Mr. Lucas should take a lesson from them. I think the example of this is when Han shot second. That completely changes the aspects of the movie. We completely lose Han Solo’s journey from rogue to hero, this completely takes away the contrasting elements. It’s such a small thing that changed so much.

It kind of reminds me of the art teacher. Her students all had really superior work. When asked how she taught the students to do art so well she said I just know when to take away the picture, because they will continue to add to it until it’s over done.

I am including a clip from the new movies one that has the most controversy around it. What do you think?

In my opinion the original was much better because we could see the emotion coming from a guy in a mask. We don’t need to hear the dialog to know what is going on here.

 I say thank you, but no thank you Mr. Lucas. I will not be joining you on this adventure. To you I say NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!