View Single Post
Old 11-29-2008, 02:37 AM
LTJG Iferal's Avatar
LTJG Iferal LTJG Iferal is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 265

Originally Posted by Big D View Post
Did you see the original trailer for The Wrath of Khan? Non-stop exploding ships, consoles, and dudes. Supplemented with Angry Khan voiceovers. It captured the theme and pacing of a handful of the film's scenes, but ignored all the depth and character - the Carol and David subplot, the Genesis device, the confrontation of age, obsolescence, and death. Basically, it was a trailer that said next to nothing about the movie...
Very much, indeed.

For those who think they can tell so much about a movie from its trailer, I invite you to watch this one:

What does this trailer tell you about the movie? It certainly establishes an atmosphere - dark, brooding, revenge-based. Yes, you can grasp the basic plot as it is explained in the trailer. But what can you divine about the movie's "theme and pacing" from that trailer?

Well, you're wrong. What this trailer FAILS to get across, perhaps deliberately, is that the movie it is a trailer for is a musical. Nearly every line of dialogue that is NOT in the trailer, is sung, not spoken. People were so shocked, when they bought tickets to this movie, to find out it was a musical that many walked out on it. In the UK, someone tried to file a class-action lawsuit accusing the producers of false advertizing, BECAUSE the trailer, and the other promotional materials of the film, simply did not convey in any wise that the film was a musical - a fact they claimed was so important that anyone's decision to buy a ticket would be affected by it.

Here's another example. What can you deduce about the "theme and pacing" of the following film? Bear in mind, this trailer was released quite soon after the film The Chronicles of Narnia came out:

If you were to go to that movie, what would you expect? Something very much like the aforementioned Narnia, certainly. Almost a clone of it, it seems like, right?

Wrong. The "fantasy" elements depicted in that trailer are certainly in the film, but there aren't many more of them than you see in the trailer. Bridge to Terabithia in all actuality has nothing to do discovering new fantasy realms - a few snippets of the kids' imaginations are shown, but these are neither the basis nor the driving element of the story, which is really about the kids themselves. The story, 95-percent of which takes place firmly in inescapable reality, involves the relationship between the two main characters, and (sorry for the spoiler) how one of them deals with the death of the other. It is a dark drama that explores mature themes that the trailer doesn't allude to in the slightest, and which many parents who saw the films with their families did not want to expose their young children to. Many of those parents complained, because they took their kids to see a fantasy adventure film, not the film that Terabithia really was.

And yet, all of those people - the unfortunate musical-haters who have attacked Sweeney Todd, and the disaffected fantasy fans who have criticized Terabithia's ad campaign - really COULD have known what they were in for, very very easily. Why? Because both of those works were derivative.

The film Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is based on a quite NON-obscure stage MUSICAL of the same name. Although the people who produced the movie were not involved in any way with any of the stage productions, and thusly the film does differ from the stage play in a couple of minor ways, the fact is there was source material - a musical - and while Sweeney Todd was another person's vision of that source material, it was essentially true to that source. So, the film Sweeney Todd is a musical.

Likewise, people could've known all about Bridge to Terabithia by doing a quick round on Google or Wikipedia. Had any of those angry parents bothered to do so, they would've learned literally in seconds that movie is based on a book written in 70s, and that the death of a child - one of the principal characters, no less - is the anchor of the story and an integral part of the plot. They would've learned that the book was one of the most controversial of its time because of the aforementioned death, amongst other things such as one of the main characters' exposition and discussion of his atheism. The author of the book was not involved in the production of the movie, but it would be obvious to anyone with even cursory knowledge of the book's content that anyone's "vision" of the story simply would not be able to avoid integrating those controversial aspects of the book into the film.

How does this relate to Star Trek? Well, this film is a derivative work, like the above-mentioned films; it has source material that it must stay true to. The trailer gives you the sense of an action film, but this obviously doesn't have to be true at all - as illustrated by the above examples - and said trailer must be taken in the context of the source material. Abrams may have a unique "vision" of Star Trek, but there are certain things about it he cannot change. What makes Star Trek, Star Trek is certainly not only the names of the characters or the fact that the ship is named the Enterprise; and it is most definitely not the fact of whether or not Kirk knows how to drive a car. What Star Trek IS, is its story and premise - the High Concept, if you will, which has been firmly established, and which has nothing to do with how old Kirk was when he first got on the ship. You know that this film will be sticking with that premise, regardless of what the ship looks like. If Paramount's allowing this film to have been made at all is not evidence enough of that, then Nimoy's endorsement of the project should be highly suggestive of it.

Last edited by LTJG Iferal : 11-29-2008 at 02:40 AM.
Reply With Quote