The Sunday Babble: who needs movie trailer criticism?

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This is the second crack at The Sunday Babble for our new website, The Frame Loop. Following last week’s post about my plight to abstinence (I lasted four days, if you were wondering), today I am screaming at a wall about the odious world of movie trailers.

Over the last 14 months, I’ve tried to crack into the ever-desirable role of a freelance film critic. I feel like I’ve learnt hot to spot the difference between good and bad criticism, even if I haven’t cracked that improbable nut myself.

One thing that I have absolutely despised about this precarious industry is the insurgence of movie trailer criticism. For me, it is completely redundant, arduous work. Analysing something, which has a sole purpose of selling something to popcorn-fuelled cinema-goers. I won’t name and shame any specific sites or podcasters that fall into this trap, but suffice to say that my Twitter feed certainly does get clogged up with it. Heck, even the reputable Guardian film blog are culprits.

But my hatred goes deeper than mere ‘what a waste of time’ bemoaning. By their very sly and disingenuous nature, trailers often oversell the product they are trying to promote. Think back to the exhaustive viral campaign for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus last year (a man who cut his teeth in the advertising trade). It took the concept of a teaser to a defiant new level, with a series of promo videos, business cards, a faux-TED talk and various social media stunts. When it came round to the October release date, Prometheus ended up eating it’s extra terrestrial self as the campaign became too hyped and saturated the market. Admittedly, it didn’t help that the film was a devilishly good looking, steaming piece of shit, either.

Where do the film critics and bloggers come into this predicament? It may be the most tired superlative going, but the gabber about trailers really does fuel the fire. We read too much into them, get ourselves dizzy with excitement, and ultimately scorn when the films are released and we have been duped. Worse still than our disappointment is that we push that burden onto our readers. As alleged film savants, we should know better

So, friends, foes, and potential employers/colleagues/dole office frequenters, I implore you to do away with the bullshit. Yes, trailers can be a fun and essential part to a cinematic experience, but they aren’t worthy of speculative critical analysis. It’s the equivalent of a hype-man at an LCD Soundsystem concert. Instead of pandering to the future, let’s focus on the here and now. Shut Up and Play the Hits.

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