A Tip for Movie Preview Editors

While recovering from strep and my old friend the abscess this weekend, I saw two movies: Wall-E and Hancock. Two very, very different films, but they did have one thing in common: Their trailers and previews showed clips from the first third of the movie, no more.

This, I have to say, was a delight. Oftentimes producers cram as much cool-looking footage into the trailer as possible, and it makes a good trailer, but it ruins the movie. You can figure out the entire plot just by watching the preview, and that’s not good. I know these movies have great action scenes, but you don’t need to reveal all of them in the trailer. Show hints of one, maybe one money shot, but make it from an early scene. Leave the climactic battles a secret. I don’t even want to know who’s fighting who—that’s why I’m going to watch the movie!

I’m sorry to say it, but the trailers for The Incredible Hulk are a big reason why I haven’t seen the movie. They show too much. They show the two big action scenes and little pieces of other action scenes, and if you know anything about the Hulk, you know the whole movie. Is it still worth watching on the big screen? Probably. But it’ll also be on Netflix.

Not only did the Wall-E and Hancock previews leave plenty to be discovered in the second and third acts, they were remarkably original films. Both are barely longer than 90 minutes, which felt a bit short in Hancock’s case, but it was the perfect length for Wall-E. Neither are based on any previous material that I know of—they’re not from comic books, they’re not remakes of older movies, and they’re not retellings of other stories. They’re just good scripts that people wrote.

I have to say, Pixar has done it again with Wall-E. I honestly don’t know how they do it time after time. Perhaps it’s because they don’t follow formulas. Or maybe it’s their creative process, how ideas from anyone in the company are respected. But they continue to produce these extremely beautiful films that entertain and move people…it’s quite a feat.

I want a Wall-E of my own.

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