Movie trailers are some of the most powerful and influential forms of today’s popular mass media. Often times, a flashy, well-made movie trailer can spark excitement and anticipation for a film that actually ends up being rather forgettable.
As opposed to a theatrical trailer, a different form of movie trailer is the teaser trailer. Usually, the sole purpose of a teaser is to begin to arouse anticipation for a movie that is still a long way off from release. The examples here represent two different types of teasers. The first, a teaser for the next James Bond installment, Skyfall, gives audiences their first short glimpse of actual footage while still leaving plot details fairly vague. The second, a preview for Anchorman 2, the sequel to the Will Ferrell news-team saga, does not actually show anything from the movie, but rather uses the characters to promote the concept of an upcoming movie.
Various techniques, such as sound design, can accentuate the tone of a movie or, on the contrary, can create an irony that brings to life different elements. In this example, the two films serve as opposites, each reflecting a different approach to the impact of music and sound. The first film, The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, utilizes multiple up-tempo songs (again with the use of contemporary tracks for a period film) that essentially play to the larger than life nature of the title character, Jay Gatsby. On the other hand, the second film, The Dark Knight Rises, uses a quieter, slowly brooding accompaniment to give an eerie uncertainty to the unknown fate of this trilogy.
Drugs & Guns
Let’s examine the trailers for two upcoming films that share similar themes of drugs and guns, and revenge. Both of the trailers feature contemporary musical elements, however, both are not set in present day. The first film, Gangster Squad, features an excellent cast line-up, including Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Anthony Mackie, and Giovanni Ribisi. The second film, Savages, is the latest from director Oliver Stone whose earlier work includes Platoon (1986), Wall Street (1987), and JFK (1991).
Is one trailer more effective than the other?