Tuesday, January 9

Movie trailers

A few days back I saw a trailer for Stomp the Yard on TV. The main draw of the movie seems to be the dancing because the plot of talented rookies in some sport taking on the established veterans has been done time and again in any number of settings. Likely, the hero is the one who jumpstarts the ragtag group of the rookies, falls in love with some girl with connections to the veterans, things fall apart and the veterans see if the hero would like to join them, he declines and brings the rookies together at the last minute to win and get the girl. I haven't looked into the movie anymore than this trailer, so I may be wrong about these predictions. Still, I find it hard to believe I'm that far off. What surprised me about this trailer, however, was that it revealed the ending so blatantly. In the final seconds you can see the hero kissing a girl while confetti falls and his team jumps around behind him with a trophy. I doubt anyone coming to this movie didn't expect a happy ending, but it was rather surprising to me until I began to think about it.

How often do people go into movies completely blind now? Likely, they don't go to a movie unless they've read some reviews or seen some trailers or at least seen a poster which reveals a bit about it. Even more, if the person manages to remain completely in the dark about plot details, once they begin seeing the movie they apply any number of structures they've observed in similar films and can probably make some good guesses about the ending after twenty minutes.

What I find fascinating is that filmakers know this and have changed the ways their movies are presented now. The general structure may remain the same, but the early parts have changed. Take Hitch which my mom and sister watched severl nights back. Even if one did miss the trailers or has since forgotten about them, it's hard not to imagine Will Smith getting together with the gossip columnist after their respective characters are introduced. However, they first appear together in a bar but with different people. At one point, they even cross paths but just miss each other. The audience was expecting their first meeting at this point, perhaps in an amusing instance of slapstick, but it doesn't. Of course it eventually happens, in the same bar ten movie minutes later actually, but audience expectations are played with. I find it interesting that filmakers are still able to practice some originality within these established structures and the associated expectations.

A final question on this subject. If some movie remains popular in future, and people can reasonably come into it without any expectations except that it is a good example of some genre, will they be missing some of these little tricks?

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