With so many options for media now a days who has time to suffer through a bad movie, (thanks Hail Caesar, I want my two hours back). So the cinematic gourmand has no better resource than that of an astute movie trailer critique. What can one learn in a two minute preview that can sway their hand one way or another? Well when it comes down to it, you can get an overall general quality of the movie but hitting a real home run necessitates having some guidelines to stand by. For example a comedy movie trailer could look completely uproarious with laughter and humorous punchlines simply because they put the 5 decent jokes in the whole movie in the preview. Likewise a picture can seem like a rather mundane run of the mill romantic comedy simply because their premises are too long to be boiled down to a short clip or albeit it too risque. Another key aspect of how a trailer truly represents the film lies in the hands of the phenomenal people who put the trailers together. Such salt of the earth people who love Sam Adam’s Summer Ale, (or so I’ve heard) can have a huge effect on flow and overall play of the short vignette.
With all that technical mumbo jumbo on what can make a good/bad movie trailer I will provide my main thesis for trailers: All Jack Black movie trailers that look hilariously side splitting never pan out to a great comedy, while all Ben Stiller trailers that appear to be a dull repurposing of a dated premise end up being quite delightful. Now this by no means say that all Jack Black movies are bad and Ben Stiller movies are good, Tropic Thunder alone debunks that myth. When prospecting the likelihood of a movie on a 1 to 10 scale I would say more often than not the trailers to movie quality ratio are inversely proportional on the sliding Stiller/Black Scale. For example let’s take these two classic cases.
For Jack Black: Year One
Pretty comical looking and an interesting premise but on the whole crappy movie.
For Ben Stiller: The Heartbreak Kid
Seems pretty drawn out and played out but is a fairly hilarious movie.
So listen to me and the next good looking Jack Black movie pass up for Walter Mitty 2.