Don't watch the new X-Men (or any) trailer
Tauriq Moosa is a tutor in ethics, bioethics and critical thinking at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He is currently pursuing a Masters degree at the Centre for Applied Ethics, Stellenbosch University. He has published essays and articles on practical ethics, focusing on subjects like free expression, killing, sex, and religion in public life. He debated religion with Archbishop Desmond Tutu in the BBC documentary, the Tutu Talks, and has been featured on local radio shows. He is also an avid comic book writer and reader.
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So the new X-Men film trailer is out. It's being Tweeted, Facebooked; it's probably rising through the ranks of YouTube, Vimeo and so on. It's easy content for sites, a blessing of fandom tied off with a bow of brevity and recognisable brand: embed the video, write a little fangasm squee paragraph or two and watch your page hits fly.
But how about we stop watching trailers altogether?
These stupid little flashes designed to titillate have long been the bane of expectations for all our media (though obviously good for the makers of said media): Consider the genius trailer of Prometheus, with that epic creepy looping siren, and the subsequent awful film that unfolded. It's like getting an amazingly beautiful can that delivers a bigger pile of bullshit.
It’s easy to find crappy films with amazing trailers. But good films are good not because of their trailers, though obviously it helps to make people interested.
What, however, are we supposed to do with trailers?
They’re not the film, so they can’t give away the story. However, some trailers do show us all the best parts (say, the funny bits in a comedy) or reveal twists inadvertently that, presumably, we’d rather not see. Thus making the trailer bad for both viewer (assuming she wants to watch the film) and maker, since people now won’t pay to see what they already know.
So trailers need to excite us without stealing too much from the film.
However, nowadays we have various ways of obtaining info thanks to knowing release dates of upcoming films, reading Rotten Tomatoes summaries, or having more than one friend.
This doesn’t undermine the point that trailers are an artform when done right. That Prometheus trailer is many times better than the film it advertises.
But if it doesn’t work for good films – since we want to watch said films, we have better ways of obtaining information, we’d already watch it despite the trailer, etc. – and it doesn’t work for bad films – why would we care about the trailer when we hate what we know about the film – then why should we bother watching and spreading trailers at all?
So, don’t watch the new X-Men trailer. Or any trailer. Go watch the damn film.
Image Credit: WikiPedia (source)
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