Posts Tagged ‘Vantage Point’

Extratextuals’ 2007 Awards Extraordinaire, Pt. 2

January 11th, 2008 | Jonathan Gray

Derek’s first part is a hard act to follow, but I decided to focus on trailers, teasers, hype, and TV opening credit sequences. I’ll wage in later about the TV opening credit sequences, but for now, should the clip embedding work:

Best Movie Trailer
Trailers are one of the most underrated, under-appreciated art forms in the contemporary media environment. Indeed, it bears reminding that amidst enthusiastic discussion of YouTube debates, political satire, reporting, virals, etc., many of the most viewed videos on YouTube are trailers. Moreover, as media companies try to saturate our daily lives with trailers, so that we see them somewhere, they also need to be aware that many of us will see many trailers multiple times, and so there’s a fine art to making a trailer that hasn’t sickened you by the time you see it for the tenth time.

Runner-Up: Juno. Ideally, I’d have loved to pick two excellent trailers for bad movies here, but (a) I didn’t see many movies in 2007, so I don’t have much to work with, and (b) the point is that Juno’s trailer had me convinced that I’d like the film. The crispness of the script jumps out at you, and it offers a supremely recognizable (ie: real, not Saved By the Bell-ized) high school life. Ellen Page’s performance announces itself as fantastic, and the trailer chooses wonderful scenes to showcase two great cult properties in Rainn Wilson and Michael Cera. Plus it has Allison Janney/CJ Cregg in it. It pandered to everything I wanted, right down to being filmed in my hometown, Vancouver (which I can nearly always tell visually. No bullshit. It’s the quality of the green. All that rain. And the sky. And the houses).

Winner: Vantage Point. I already blogged about this, so let me just link to it here. But I haven’t seen it, and even if I don’t, or don’t like it, I think the trailer rocks.

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Kudos to the Trailer:Vantage Point

December 9th, 2007 | Jonathan Gray

I’ve now seen this trailer several times, and am a massive fan of it. I don’t know if ultimately I’ll like the film (the evil Arab bad guys motif is often recipe for stereotypes and lazy writing, and the scrolling Manichean pairings of “life-death,” “truth-lies,” “good-evil” in the trailer leave me concerned whether the script will be equally divided into tidy binaries), but the trailer‘s editing, look, concept, and cast all really jump out at me.

From the beginning, it’s a brilliantly edited trailer, with scene or image changes following the audio quite neatly, with captivating then breathless pacing, and with a nice balance of intrigue and action. It’s good on the small screen, but on a big screen it’s masterful: each of the four times I’ve seen it in a cinema now, it’s easily won the trailer sweepstakes for me.

It also seems to give surprisingly little of the plot away — yes, the president is shot, some Arab bad guys seem behind it, we learn the president was a decoy, and the real president seems to be in subsequent danger, but Dennis Quaid’s “something else is going to happen” seems the mantra for the trailer (much as Charlie’s “guys, where are we?” was a mantra for the equally intriguing Lost trailers in 2004). These days, it seems quite a skill to advertise a thriller — I don’t tend to watch many, not because I don’t like them, but because most are (or at least appear to be) ruined by the trailers. Trailers need to capture the tone of a film, and thrillers seem too much for many editors to handle — how do they show narrative intrigue and plot twists without spoiling the film left, right, and center? Advertising a comedy or an action film, by contrast, are so much easier — you just need to show a really funny joke or a fight sequence respectively. Jokes can be funny the second time, fight sequences too (especially if they involve free jumping. I love free jumping), but spoil the plot twist and you can’t go back on that. This trailer here, though, handles the issue with skill.

And, segueing off my previous post on casting, the combination of William Hurt, Matthew Fox (complete with good Jack-faces aplenty), Sigourney Weaver, Forest Whitaker, and Dennis Quaid is intriguing in and of itself. It’s Smoke meets Lost meets Alien meets Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai meets, um, errr, Jaws 3D. Sounded good till the end there, didn’t it.

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