Trailers: The Art of the Tease

As we come to the end of the 2011 summer movie season (where did the time go?), a nice treat while seeing a movie is being teased for what lies ahead for the rest of the year and next summer. Recently, we’ve seen teaser trailers for Fincher’s Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Muppets Movie, both Spielberg holiday offerings, War Horse, and The Adventures of Tintin, and of course, The Dark Knight Rises (leave it to Ryan to forget Twilight: Breaking Dawn!)

The Independent has a fascinating write-up on what goes into a trailer. Of course, a trailer is the centerpiece of a marketing campaign. David Cookes also gives some background on the history of film trailers:

Until the 1950s, American trailers were produced by the National Screen Service, although some directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and John Ford liked to produce their own. In the 1960s film directors took a keener interest, leading to more stylish trailers. Plot spoilers in trailers still existed into the 1970s although trailers were less brash than today. “This is Universal’s extraordinary motion picture version of Peter Benchley’s best-selling novel, Jaws,” intoned the gentle voiceover on a trailer for Speilberg’s shark fest which, during its three minutes, showed so much footage and dialogue, it was akin to an abridged version of the film.

I love a well-done trailer, and what I mean by that is one that teases the audience without giving away too much. Sometimes the best trailers use little or no footage from the film their advertising. The riveting trailer for The Dark Knight Rises is a great example of this, using footage and voiceover from the previous installments and a short clip of new footage.

The trailer above, for David Fincher’s version of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, is probably the best trailer since Fincher’s The Social Network. While it makes extensive use of footage from the film, the cuts are super quick. This montage style is bolstered by the pulse of Trent Reznor and Karen O’s cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” which gives the whole thing an exciting, kinetic feel.

Read the rest of the article here, and see commentary on some of the hot new trailers, including the new Twilight (Ah, there it is!).

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