RogerBW's Blog

June 2022 Trailers 01 July 2022

Some trailers I've seen recently, and my thoughts on them. (Links are to youtube. Opinions are thoroughly personal. Calibration: I want a trailer to tell me what's different about this film; the marketers want it to tell me why it's like all the others…)

The Man From Toronto: fish out of water meets generic comedy meets even more generic comedy. Nothing here appeals to me.

The Menu (Teaser): is trying very hard to convince me it has nothing to say, but I am not entirely convinced.

Dreaming Walls - Inside the Chelsea Hotel: I think I can see what it's trying to do, but it's trying to tweak emotions I don't have.

Anything's Possible: it's so hard to be young and pretty. Also the trans element is reduced to a line or two in the trailer, presumably to try to avoid scaring people off.

Laal Singh Chaddha: my heart is resolutely unwarmed, but it looks gorgeous. (Is this an Indian Forrest Gump?)

The Princess: looks clichéd but it could be a lot of fun.

Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe: I would now pay actual money rather than watch this. So I suppose the trailer has done its job.

Strange World (Teaser): seems somehow terribly safe. Pretty, though.

The Hunger Games - The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Teaser): Oh, right, there was a prequel: how President Snow got that way. I have no interest, but people who want to see more of this world can now do so.

Day Shift: gunfights with vampires is something we've "never seen before"? Huh.

Don't Make Me Go: brutally heartwarming.

Prey: …and? That's all you've got?

She Will: horrible people are horrible? Might go somewhere but I'm not optimistic.

The School for Good & Evil (Teaser): has that air of being based on a book series, and sure enough…

The Sea Beast: causes me to realise how much I'd like to see a film of Deeplight. Done well, of course, in a way that films never are. This tries to get away from its focus-group shackles, but it's not going to happen.

Vesper (Teaser): very pretty, and that's about as positive as a teaser can get.

Black Adam: it could be the best film in the world and the trailer would still make it look just like every other superhero film. I'll wait for reviews.

The Munsters (Teaser): the working-class ripoff of the Addams Family… is still valuable IP. (All IP is valuable while it's sitting unused on someone's balance sheet and they can pretend there are still people who are interested in it.) Oh, and Rob Zombie is still getting work.

Compartment No. 6 (first eight minutes): slow, and perhaps subtle, perhaps just with nothing to say… but I'm intrigued.

Persuasion: "based on", but perhaps not just another slavish remake (there have after all been six television productions already)? Dare one hope? Probably not.

Brahmāstra: it may be that this is utterly clichéd in India and I'm just not familiar enough with it, but this looks like actual fun.

My Policeman (Teaser): yeah yeah OK so is it going anywhere? Wait for the real trailer I guess.

Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical: presumably you're meant to bring love for the books. If you don't have that, this seems quite lacking in interest.

Blonde (Teaser): an interesting approach but I am not instantly engaged.

I Love My Dad (Teaser): I'm meant to be heart-warmed, I think.

Hot Seat: ah, heroic firefighter/cops meet compulsion horror meets "the only people who think there's anything wrong with capitalism are eeeeeevil scary terrorists". With "bonus" Mel Gibson.

Cinderella: well, it looks a bit less utterly generic than some of the other live-action remakes.

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile (teaser): I'm pretty sure I had one of these books as a child. This doesn't seem a lot like it.

My Old School: so, um, does this have anything to say?

Smile: looks like quite standard paranoia jump-scare stuff.

They/Them (Teaser): generic horror film teaser meets ooh these young people with their pronouns.

Barbarian (Teaser): ooh these young people with their AirBnBs, I don't really understand them but I didn't do them when I was growing up so they must be bad. Instant horror film premise.

Mothering Sunday: I have trouble seeing the appeal, but I suppose it is Glenda Jackson's first performance in 30 years.

White Bird - A Wonder Story: apparently you loved Wonder (2019), so you get more of it.

The Invitation: is the creepy not just a bit heavy-handed? And this is just the trailer? I guess the heavy-handed is what people are here for.

Wrong Place: oh Bruce. How many of these things are you doing? And why do they all look the same?

Hocus Pocus 2 (Teaser): haven't seen the first one, but this looks awfully predictable.

Resurrection: points for Hall, but Tim Roth can play abusive ex-boyfriend in his sleep, and "everyone but her thinks she's mad" has rather been done.

Thirteen Lives: slight points for Ron Howard, but this is basically a claustrophobia film.

See How They Run (Teaser): might be fun. For me the trick is to like your source material, to say that it's silly but you love it anyway. So just maybe.

South Park - The Streaming Wars - Part 2 (Teaser): not really a South Park fan. Shouty people, what fun.

Ticket to Paradise: obvious romcom setup is obvious. But the acting is at least amusing to watch. If I can't have a new thing, I can at least hope for the old thing done a bit better.

  1. Posted by Ashley R Pollard at 11:44am on 02 July 2022

    "I want a trailer to tell me what's different about this film; the marketers want it to tell me why it's like all the others…"

    My assumption is that you understand that there are no new stories, only new treatments. So the question becomes what makes this important to you? Why are you bovvered? ;-)

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 06:02pm on 03 July 2022

    I don't think that's entirely true, since it depends on where you draw the line between "treatment" and "story"; but even if it is, what I want to hear is "this film is not just another [genre] film; it's different in this specific way that might make it worth a look", while what the people cutting together the trailer want to say is "this [genre] film is just like all the others. You like [genre] films, so you'll like this." I suspect the people editing them have worked out that that's a more effective way of advertising to the majority of people who watch trailers.

    (Except for Based On The Beloved Children's Book trailers, which are mostly "all the bits you remember from the book will be here, only less vividly than you remember them from your six-year-old imagination". Or maybe that's just me.)

  3. Posted by Ashley R Pollard at 09:01am on 04 July 2022

    A story is a character in a setting with a problem, who has opinions told to the reader by describing what they see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. A plot is a situation that becomes more complicated as a series of crisis's unfold that then culminates in a climax.

    Heinlein defined the themes of a story as:

    1. Person vs. Person: The problem is another character (Bob needs to defeat Alice to become Class President).

    2. Person vs. Self: The problem lies inside the protagonist (Bob doesn't know how to express his emotions to Alice).

    3. Person vs. Nature: The problem comes from natural sources (Bob's town is destroyed by a volcano, or Alice is sick).

    4. Person vs. Society: The problem is the social environment (Bob struggles to maintain his dignity in an ignorant community after receiving an Abomination Accusation Attack).

    5. Person vs. God/Fate: The problem is destiny, eventuality, fate, or divine will (Bob does not want to fulfill a prophecy that he will lose his family).

    6. Person Caught in the Middle: Of other characters or conflicts.

    7. Person vs. Machine, as in machinery. Most commonly told from the perspective of a worker being replaced by a machine.

    Asimov defined the types of SF story that could be told as:

    Gadget sci-fi: Man invents car, holds lecture on how it works.

    Adventure sci-fi: Man invents car, gets into a car chase with a villain.

    Social sci fi: Man invents car, gets stuck in traffic in the suburbs.

    Gimmick fiction is: Man invents car two thousand years early, chaos ensues.

    And finally, the most academic definition of story plots, Booker who said there are six traditional plots and three new plots (new being modern defined as in the last 200 years since the creation of the modern novel):

    Overcome the Monster Voyage & Return The Quest Mystery Rebirth Rags to Riches Comedy/Burlesque Tragedy Rebellion

    However, you are mostly right about beloved children's books, or at least we share that feeling in common.

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