Trailer Breakdowns

Trailer Talk: Downsizing

Downsizing1-1500x750.jpgTrailers are one of many tools in a marketing execs arsenal, made to sell films and make money. In a lot of cases, a good trailer can make or break a film’s prospects at the box-office. In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in the number of trailers and TV spots with one film having as many as five trailers in circulation. This does result in trailer fatigue. For some—the more the merrier! But, for me it only takes one, maybe two, good trailers to get me hyped, excited, and intrigued. Whatever the atmosphere the film wants to set for itself, whatever kind of hype it wants me to feel, I just need around two minutes of screen time and I’m good. I don’t want to know almost what happens beat for beat throughout the entire story. While some execs try to give you a full meal in their advertising, I just want an entree, because that’s what a good trailer does—it gives you a taste of what to expect. With this in mind, let’s discuss both trailers for Downsizing.

I saw the first trailer a few weeks ago in the cinema. It opens by showing a new technology that shrinks humans down for sustainability purposes. Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and wife Audrey Safranek (Kristen Wiig) realise that they could gain a better and much more luxurious life by undergoing the shrinking procedure and joining a community of people that have ‘Downsized’. Cue a montage of life as a tiny person whilst The Talking Heads’ ‘Once in a Lifetime’ plays over some hijinks. The visuals, while not overtly stunning, are done quite magnificently. The mini world, and the shrunken down humans, look realistic but quirky. This trailer left me interested to see the film. All it had to do was introduce a few characters, give me the general premise, put a good song over it and boom! I was hooked enough to want to see the flick by the end of two-and-a-half-minutes. Here it is below:

Today I watched trailer two and well… I’ll try to be brief on this one. It is the exact same thing, except a major plot point spoiler is thrown into the mix, and there’s a little bit of extra plot sprinkled into its montage. How did I feel after watching this? Disappointed? I am not going to outright discuss the spoiler here, just in case you actually wanted to see the film and be surprised, but I have it at the end of this article for the curious and the uninterested. While Downsizing hasn’t suffered from trailer fatigue, what it has suffered from is someone wanting to sell a movie so badly, that they have already tried to trick us into watching it. This is a problem we have seen time and time again. With Netflix, the internet, and, well, audiences being much more frugal about their content in general, maybe marketers believe they have to be more overt to hook audiences in. I believe in subtlety, and I know many who do. Please, execs, stop the spoilers! In its defense, trailer two does lay hints at further, perhaps more important, plot points for the film. This is nice, but, after what I think is a very strong well-crafted first trailer, I’ve been left with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I’ll still go and see the flick, but I will lament that I was spoiled.

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