Okay, this isn’t going to be some revolutionary insight. More the domain of stating the obvious. But still.
If you know me, you probably know that The Matrix is my favourite movie. Like, ever. I can’t imagine ever liking a movie more. I love it for so many different things and on so many different levels, that it would take an entry of its own to point them out. When Alqua & Colt were here and the conversation crossed The Matrix, I surprised them by pointing out a little design detail about the movie which they didn’t notice before – and that’s the thing, you don’t notice it (unless you’ve seen it as often as I did), but it all adds up to a whole. Oh my. I feel the urge to watch it again just from writing about it.
Oh, and don’t ask me which of the three I mean. There was only one. Then there was some Matrix-themed ad-lib fan fiction which was accidentally released as full feature movies. Let’s not talk about them. Or, let’s, when I finally remember to post that translation (from German original) I made of an excellent recension of the “trilogy”, which really put up the three movies (no-no, there was only one!) against each other. I already spent two paragraphs talking about The Matrix when it totally wasn’t what I intended to talk about. Happens every time. But now you have an idea of the passion I feel for that film.
You may also know, that roughly from 2000 to 2008 I was a very avid filmgoer (apparently, that’s indeed a word). Almost every Saturday night I’d be sitting in a cinema with a friend, watching some new movie. Or, in some very rare cases, watching a movie we’d already seen, again. Yeah, we were that crazy. Now don’t mistake me for some French-arts-“the black lamp shade in the background symbolizes concealed feelings” type. I was, and am, always happy to ride the blockbuster-/entertainment-train. Like most people, in fact (that’s why they’re called blockbusters, doh) – most people just won’t admit it. If the movie turned out to be crap, all the better, we’d rip it apart sitting at Burger King until 3AM. If it was great, we’d … basically do the same, only with a positive connotation. Or rip apart another one, that failed to be as great. You get the picture.
There was one thing I came to hate during that time, and that is movie trailers. You see, we’re slowly edging closer to the topic. I was fine with teasers – a few disconnected frames from the upcoming film followed by a release date to, basically, just notify you, that something is coming up. Great. But then the release date would come closer and we’d get into the domain of trailers. And not just the sort that gets shown on TV, but those full fledged 2-3 minutes long (sometimes even longer…) previews, which could technically rather serve as a review. And as a regular filmgoer, you’d have to watch them over and over again, especially in the last few weeks/months before the advertised work would hit the theatres.
It’s the nature of the medium trailer, that you have to pick the best stuff from what you’re advertising. You want to lure, and you lure with cake, not with bread. So, essentially, by the time you’d pay for the ticket, you’d have seen all the best scenes and heard all the best jokes several times already. All that’d be left for the actual movie, was putting them into the right order and filling the gaps with .. the stuff they thought themselves wasn’t really that hot. And then the actual plot. See, pretty much every plot, no matter how intricate, can be summarized in 2-3 minutes. Yes, even Lord of the Rings, if you try really hard. And that’s what trailers do. They try really hard. You’d know who the good guys are, who the bad guys are, what they’re conflicting about, what the problem to solve is. Of course, the resolution would be left out (usually). But that doesn’t really make things better. The resolution rarely is the gem of the plot. The interesting part is the problem itself, the setting, the setup, the conflict, the history, the riddles and the hurdles. All things trailers happily give away to wet your mouth. The resolution mostly boils down to “hero wins”, and although he might do that in an original, clever and spectacular way, or sometimes not even win at all, this is not what drives the movie. We don’t sit down for two hours for the sake of the last five minutes. We want to enjoy the entire ride.
And now the two, so far apparently disconnected topics discussed here join together. The Matrix (1999) was the movie that started off my passion. It is what made me into a filmgoer in the first place. Which means, I wasn’t going to cinemas before. Which means I haven’t seen any trailers. All I saw was a TV teaser in which Neo famously dodges a bullet followed by “What is the Matrix?”. When I first sat down in my cinema chair to watch it, I actually didn’t know what the Matrix is! Every line of dialogue, every action scene, every special effect were provoking a “whoa, that was AWESOME!” response in my brain.
Today I visited YouTube and it recommended me to watch The Matrix Trailer. And I did (and instantly desired to see the movie itself again). While being who I am I’ll of course point out, that The Matrix contained so much awesomeness, that there is still a metric ton left unshown, I can’t but wonder if I’d liked it as much as I did, had I been bombarded with that trailer beforehand.
Am right with you there!
Most film trailers I’ve seen have condensed all the best bits into the 2 minutes. ESPECIALLY the ones for the film you’re about to watch at the beginning of the dvd….I mean, it’s there, already in your dvd player….why try selling it when you’re just about to watch it?! Gah!
I’m going to take this one step further, and away from trailers, but I’m working on the same principle. Making films from books. You’ve read the book (or books), you know what to expect. Sometimes they get it right, and it’s as if things have fallen off the page and onto the screen. And sometimes they change endings, or whip out your favourite characters, and you’re left with a bitter taste in your mouth. Peter Jackson did well to satisfy so many people with his take on LotR, but there were still moments….
I’ve not been to the cinema for a long time now. I didn’t even go to see Watchmen (was a bit worried I’d stomp out if they messed up another of my fave graphic novels). I want something new, something fresh, something that takes me fore a ride, that makes me think, that gets me utterly lost in the cinematic experience. I don’t want a rehash of a good book I’ve read(even if it is a good rehash).
And thus endeth my rant!