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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: How do we fix the problem of spoiler-laden trailers?

Ryan Lambie at Den of Geek ponders the problem of trailers that ruin entire films:

From a cinemagoer’s perspective, however, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to avoid having a film spoiled, to a certain degree, by its own promotional material. How many times have you sat in a cinema and managed to work out what happens in a film next because you’d already seen snippets of it in the trailer? I’ve lost count.

At the screening of Battle: LA, my clear memories of the film’s trailer affected my enjoyment of several pivotal scenes. Because I’d already glimpsed them in the movie’s promo, I was able to predict more than one plot development based on what I’d already seen. It didn’t spoil the film overall, but it’s merely a recent example of how a trailer can inadvertently spoil some of a film’s surprises without intending to.

But the solutions he comes up with don’t seem very viable:

Given that movie trailers aren’t going to be abandoned by marketing types any time soon, I therefore propose two possible solutions to the problem of spoiler-filled trailers. Number one, they only show pieces of footage that tell us absolutely nothing about a movie’s events at all, a shot of an empty sky, perhaps, or a tightly-edited snippet of a character saying “It’s-“, Monty Python-style.

Alternatively, trailers could sidestep the use of movie footage altogether, just as many videogame ads avoid showing what their game actually looks like. Instead, a film’s tone could be conveyed through the use of glove puppets, or via interpretive dance.

Hmmm. What options did Lambie miss?

How do we fix the problem of spoiler-laden trailers?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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