Watching the whole trailer is like knowing the final score of the game before you see it.
Yesterday at the comic shop it came up in discussion, yet again, that I don’t watch very many movie trailers for someone that rarely misses a new science fiction or super-hero movie.
But that’s exactly why I don’t watch them, I intend to go see the movie. In my mind a trailer serves a single useful purpose, to help me decide whether or not to go spend my attention watching the whole film. I think back to the first trailer I saw for the Matrix, it was amazing and it served its purpose to show me why I should give this unassuming title from directors I’d never heard of a chance.
On the flip side, the trailers always show too much, give too much away, or spoil the biggest most exciting moments of the film. The Matrix trailer, to stick with our example, shows off; Neo’s gun reveal after going thru the metal detector, a lot of the lobby room battle that follows, Trinity’s iconic hanging kick, Morpheus’ dive to the helicopter, Neo’s bullet dodge, and tons more. Instead of being awed by these groundbreaking scenes when I first watched the film, I was simply putting the pieces together. Watching the whole trailer is like knowing the final score of the game before you see it. I just spend the whole time waiting for what I know is going to happen to happen, instead of feeling like I’m a part of watching the events unfold. Even worse is when it’s a big highly anticipated name like Star Wars, because almost immediately after the trailer comes out you start seeing articles like this from Polygon, Rouge One: Everything we know, which is only one of a dozens of similar articles from many different outlets. Not surprising from the headlines, these articles are huge lists of spoilers picking apart every frame of the trailer.
WARNING: I’m going to write a Rouge One spoiler below that I unfortunately learned even doing my best to avoid all the reveals.
So one of the only things I know about Rouge One is that Donnie Yen, one of my all-time favorite martial artists, is going to be playing a blind warrior born on Jedha. That’s great exciting news, but now when I see his first appearance I will be affirming, “Yep, there he is.” instead of, “holy shit DONNIE YEN!” I feel like I’ve been robbed of that.
So if you’re not one of the 23 million plus people who have already watched the Rouge One trailer, skip it, let yourself be rewarded with a much more thrilling experience when you go see it in theaters. Instead watch the trailer for something you might be on the fence about, like The Passengers. But I encourage you to stop watching the second you decide you’re interested enough to see the whole movie. Which for me was about 35 seconds in.