Movie trailers are the best. A well-made trailer is a perfectly curated blast of cinema, a proven formula designed to both clearly communicate what kind of movie it is and leave you motivated to see more. Not many media formats are able to pull off as much in such a short amount of time.
You get a sense of the genre, the style of acting, the production value, the tone, and just the right notes of plot to allow you to make an informed judgment. They are expertly scored, edited, and paced to function as a standalone piece of entertainment while hyping the feature film. A great trailer reveals narrative, characters, and plot to you at just the right moment to tell the film’s story with the most impact.
Trailers hit their mark with impressive accuracy. A good horror movie trailer will scare you in the middle of the day in a well-lit and populated office. A good superhero movie trailer will make you legit worried about humanity’s plight for a few moments. A good comedy movie trailer will make you snort some soup and send your oyster crackers scattering. Good movie trailers can do all of this without spoiling the actual movie.
Which also happens. Some trailers are too good for their own good. A trailer can easily be better than the movie itself, creating a false sense of excitement in a movie that turns out to be rather plodding in its full length. What seems like compelling character depth in the quick take of a trailer can be pretty slight or boring in the context of the full narrative arc. Or the worst offense, a trailer that dutifully takes you through the key plot points in order, even presenting baffling selections from the third act, climax, or resolution of the movie. Get out of here with those.
Either way, the promise of the format is appealing every time for me. Show me some title cards crosscut with a striking tableau I can’t quite make out. Is that Ryan Reyn…oh wait that’s Ryan Gosling! Different Ryan. No problem, still in. Is he flecked in…blood…ah, it’s just paint! It’s a tale about an artist. I think. What’s else? Oh, hell no, now it’s blood! Man! You got me, trailer. You got me. I want to watch any trailer, even for movies I know I don’t want to see simply because it’s a quick hit of free entertainment.