The Trailer for ‘The Descendants’

'The Descendants' Title Screen

Now, I don’t know about you, but I like to approach a film knowing as little as possible about the plot and having seen as little of it beofre I go in as I can. More of a draw for me is who has directed or written it, what the premise is, who is in it, or what firends and critics have said about it. I don’t want to see the whole film beofre I go in – I want to be pleasantly surprised and shocked or amazed in front of it. Now occasionally this has gotten me into trouble, taking someone to see a film which has tormented them for a few days afterwards (whoops) but on the whole it’s an approach that I’ll stick up for.

Most of the time trailers either: (a) ruin or; (b) completely misrepresent the film they are advertising. Sometimes both. A case in point is ‘Fight Club’ – the trailer makes the film look like dumb, brainless people-thumping-each-other film entirely without merit and immediately put me off watching it. It took a large number of people telling me that actually it was a very good film until I was able to overcome this and watch what turned out to be a very good film.

It’s like the Gillette razor TV adverts – they are so insultingly terrible that I don’t want to give anyone who thinks that represents or is aspirational to me any creedence or money, so I will NEVER buy anything by Gillette ever again on the basis of their own continued evidence.

Time and time again a trailer puts me off a film I would have otherwise gone and seen which is surely the opposite of the desired effect? A number of them seem to follow the same, uninspired format as well, and the one for ‘The Descendants’ (the new Alexander Payne film starring Georgel Clooney) is an example.

Take a look at this:


Okay, so George Clooney lives on Hawaii, but he’s still got family problems. He’s got to step up to the plate and reconnect with his children. Ooohh, I wonder if he will, I wonder how this will turn out. Oh no, they’re going to show us how it turns out. Oh look, he hates his daughter’s boyfriend, I wonder what’ll happen there. And after a few dodgy vocal edits the next musical bed kicks in under a soppy montage and the music is so sickening it makes me want to scream out loud in the cinema. They even start repeating lines before they get to the end, as if it wasn’t long enough already!

So now I have a dilemma as this is supposed to be another good film with a great central performance by George Clooney. And I really liked ‘Sideways’ which Alexander Payne directed. But I can’t bring myself to go and watch something with such a hate-inducing and revealing trailer. If I hadn’t been shown the trailer (I can’t easily avoid it) I’d probably already have gone to see it.

I know I might be judging books by their covers a little here, but how else are you supposed to pick out a book in the shop?



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