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While you wait for the Avengers 4 trailer, watch the 5 most innovative trailers of recent times

We were supposed to get the Avengers 4 trailer this week, but since that didn’t happen, why don’t you bide your time watching these top 5 most innovative movie trailers of recent times?

weekend binge Updated: Dec 01, 2018 09:19 IST
Rohan Naahar
Rohan Naahar
Hindustan Times
Avengers 4,Avengers 4 trailer,Best Movie Trailers
Robert Downey Jr in a still from Avengers Infinity War.

It seems like a sign of the times that trailer releases are anticipated with the same excitement as movie releases, but this is how it has always been. The box office earnings of a little known film called See Spot Run were impacted after fans queued up to watch the first trailer for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (and left promptly afterwards). Remember, this was before YouTube, and fans had no option but to watch trailers in cinemas.

We were supposed to get the Avengers 4 trailer this week, not because anyone told us - we simply assumed it. Several online sleuths had theorised that simply because the first Avengers: Infinity War trailer was released at the end of November 2017, it would make sense for Marvel to release the Avengers 4 trailer one year later. After all, Marvel president Kevin Feige had hinted as much. But it was not to be.

So while we wait for the trailer to finally drop, let’s talk about this rather under-appreciated art form, because that is what it is, despite the sheen of consumerism that glistens on its surface.

VICE did a fantastic video recently, titled, ‘How Movie Trailers Manipulate You’, which explored this very thought. How can a piece of marketing develop a style of its own, a style that can influence the product it is advertising. This is what happened when test audiences realised that the cut they’d seen of DC’s Suicide Squad was nothing like the energetic, Bohemian Rhapsody-injected trailer that Warner Bros had put out. So the studio hired - in what has to be a first - the company to cut a version of the movie.

Warner Bros has become sort of synonymous with terrific trailers. Only this year, two of their films - A Star is Born and more recently, Detective Pikachu - became hot topics online after their trailers debuted.

In that VICE video, they said that neurological studies have proven that there is a correlation between how our brains respond to trailers and the box office potential of the film they’re advertising. No wonder then, that while 2017 witnessed the lowest box office figures in decades, the movie trailer industry is experiencing its golden age.

Keeping that in mind, here are the five most innovative movie trailers in recent memory - no rules applied.

Mad Max: Fury Road

If there’s one film which seems directly influenced by the rapid fire editing style of film trailers, it is George Miller’s genre-defining Fury Road. Cut to Junkie XL’s phenomenal (and cruelly snubbed) score, the trailer perfectly captured the rock opera tone of the film.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Gone are the days when studios would give directors control over a film’s marketing. David Fincher is perhaps one of the final examples of a director being given this liberty. It is said that it was Fincher who came up with the tagline for his version of Stieg Larson’s book - he called it ‘the feel bad movie of Christmas’ - and it was Fincher who cut this terrific trailer, which utilised Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song years before Thor: Ragnarok.

Cloverfield

Like the trailer for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the teaser trailer for Cloverfield was a mood piece - it didn’t reveal anything at all about the story, but captured everyone’s attention, which is what trailers should ideally do. Imagine: No one had any idea what this movie was, and then they were treated to 9/11 imagery and had the Statue of Liberty’s head hurtling towards them. Cloverfield was a risky movie - an original IP, with no stars and a super-secret plot. But that trailer almost single-handedly responsible for pulling in opening weekend crowds.

Watchmen

No other song could have captured the visual and thematic soul of director Zack Snyder’s movie better than the Smashing Pumpkins’ The End is the Beginning is the End. It arrived years before movie trailers started to become as cliche-ridden as the movies they were selling, when companies and studios were willing to experiment (and cough up the cash for major tunes).

Inherent Vice

While the film was met with mass confusion - it really is near unwatchable - the trailer was notable for the fact that it was cut by director Paul Thomas Anderson himself, establishing clearly that not only is he one of the best filmmakers of all time, one of the best film writers and cinematographers of all time, he is also quite good at editing trailers.

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The author tweets @RohanNaahar

First Published: Dec 01, 2018 09:19 IST