Saturday, 2 August 2008

Great trailer... shame about the film

There's a perceived wisdom that if the trailer’s great, the movie will be terrible. A case in point being The Phantom Menace whose teaser stoked the fevered anticipation of legions of Star Wars fans only for them to discover, several months later, that the movie sucked, big time. More recently there was Wanted whose teasers left me salivating, while the movie left much to be desired.

Studios spend a small fortune cooking up these two-three-minute slices of cinematic foreplay. And with movies costing such huge sums these days, and the line between success and failure being such a thin one, who can blame them. Summer blockbusters, typically, have great trailers. Then again, if you’re stomping up that kind of money on stars and/or special effects, you’re bound to have enough cool moments to string together to whet one’s appetite. (And if you don’t, well…)

As a committed movie fan, I love trailers. I’m constantly linking to or posting youtube versions here because, well, they’re bloody exciting, generally offering the first peak at a film I’m desperate to see, sometimes pricking my interest in a movie I’m not.

A few months ago, prior to seeing Son Of Rambow, I caught the trailer for Robert Luketic's 21 , the release of which had pretty much passed me by. But the trailer (see below) made me sit up and take note. It was slick, fun, and flashy, and did its job brilliantly — it made me want to see the film.

For various reasons, I didn't manage to catch it while it was still in cinemas, and so I was very excited when a Blu-ray of 21 (***) turned up in the post yesterday. So much so, that it jumped right to the top of the viewing queue last night. The trailer had promised a sharp, edgy, snappy tale about a group of MIT students who uses their mathematical smarts to clean up at Blackjack in Las Vegas. But what I got was something much slower, more pedestrian, more conventionally plotted. Not that it’s terrible. It’s reasonably entertaining and diverting in a wet Sunday afternoon way. But it was most definitely not the movie its trailer sold.

Still, the Blu-ray transfer was gorgeous, particularly in capturing Vegas' razzle dazzle and neon hues, although Russell Carpenter's night time HiDef cinematography isn’t a patch on Zodiac.


Gerard said...

1) What disappointed you about Wanted? I really enjoyed it a lot! A classic? Of course not. Fantastically daft fun with an agreeable bleak streak? You damn betcha.

2) Did you see the 10,000 B.C. trailer? That thing deserves some kind of award, in retrospect...

3) How's the Zodiac director's cut? It's only available on Blu-Ray over here (though I'm hoping to upgrade later in the year...)

4) Cool post. I was saying today how I'd buy the crap out of a DVD magazine which basically collated all of the film trailers and promo vids released each month.

Mark Salisbury said...

1) Too much. Jolie was hot. Some of the action was cool. But I just didn't care.

2) Yep. And agreed. I also know once I saw it that I didn't need/want to see the film.

3) Brilliant. The entire package is amazing. I'll post my review soon.

4) I think someone tried it once. RES magazine used to give away a DVD of promos to subscribers. And I remember at Empire we gave away a free video that was all trailers. And Total Film do it once a year. The problem nowadays is that we see everything on the net. There's nothing quite like seeing a new trailer on the big screen.

Mark Salisbury said...

Once you go HD there's no looking back. Upscaling can be pretty good but the leap in quality that Blu-ray achieves is simply beyond comparison. They just need to reduce the price of the disks now.

Gerard said...

Awesome news about Zodiac. It'll be one of my first purchases when I finally upgrade. The main thing preventing me from going out and getting a Blu-Ray player now is both the cost of the players and the discs themselves. But I've some cash saved up and will hopefully make the plunge in a few months.

Question: I know BR players are obviously backwards compatible and have region restrictions for Blu-Ray discs, but can you play your old R1 DVDs, for example, in your Blu-Ray player? That is, is it multizone capable when it comes to playing standard def discs?

Mark Salisbury said...

Unfortunately not. My Sony Blu-ray player will only play region 2 DVDs. And since I've many, many region 1 disks, I had to buy a multi-region upscaling DVD player because none of my existing DVD players had a HDMI connection.

Gerard said...

Ah, total balls. I've a multiregion-capable DVD player with HDMI and upscaling, but I'm not sure we've the space to have two players hooked up in our lounge room at the moment...

We really need a bigger place. Thanks for the info. I'm going to begin looking into things.