It may seem that I haven’t been posting to Art of the Trailer recently though some great trailers have been coming out. The case is that I have been waiting. Waiting for my prediction to become true so I can say to you all “I CALLED IT!!!”
No, I am not talking about my Golden Trailer Predictions – though the results of my forecasting should be up tomorrow. I am referring to the call I made in my review of the third trailer for the highly anticipated Dark Knight Rises:
The subtle tension of silence surrounded by chaos was a magnificent choice. Just like the first trailer, the stakes are instantly set high and my attention is devoted to catching any glimpse of exactly how awesome this movie is going to be….Marvelous job by the marketing team and I think it safe to say that this is where the bar is set for the next generation of Movie Marketing.
To state it another way, I was predicting that we would start to see a slew of trailers that play on the silence of the moment and a single, powerful audio track to create intensity and poignancy that builds to a mounting climax. I am sure I have been getting on my friend Ryan’s nerves because I keep insisting that he just wait and see – soon every trailer will be trying to cash in on this technique. And I was right. 🙂
While waiting for another video to load, I found myself watching a trailer for the upcoming Snow White and the Huntsman. This trailer actually pre-dates the Dark Knight Rises one, and as such it demonstrates a lessened version of the effect the latter teaser pulled off. Still, you can see the trending features of a very quiet trailer, usually with one underlying soundtrack that builds very slowly to the climax, while the rest of the trailer is carried by the best lines of dialogue. Utilizing hushed tones which invite the audience to lean forward in their chairs is the new and coming wave in a world of loud, dubstep, “last shot of thing flying at camera” trailers.
And so we arrive at the real reason this post exists. Early this morning, a trailer dropped for what is sure to be the most anticipated musical film of the year – Les Miserables. And the second I saw it, I knew – I was right:
This trailer captures perfectly that auditory tone that is so rapturous to modern film viewers. The marketing team didn’t reinvent the wheel on this one – Claude-Michel Schönberg’s musical touched our hearts once before and he does it again here through the magnificent voice of Anne Hathaway. “I dreamed a dream of time gone by” is arguably the most powerful standalone bar of music from the show and so this trailer utilizes it perfectly.
Please do note the formula of the trailer, which perfectly matches up with that of the Dark Knight Rises one. Starting off almost silent, a powerful yet quiet voice speaks words that instantly raise goosebumps on our flesh. From there, the trailer builds to a spectacular crescendo around 0:56 and another powerful moment at 1:10. The last bit of the trailer diverges from form slightly to end on a decrescendo of volume but almost like a breathless whisper, drawing every ounce of your being into its spell as the title screen unfolds – ending on the wonderful tagline “The Dream Lives”.
Two important things to note about the way this teaser handles things. First and foremost, it is one thing to raise goosebumps with a powerful moment, and entirely another to maintain that feeling throughout a minute-and-a-half long clip. The Les Miserables teaser does this masterfully, allowing Schönberg’s music to carry the emotional tone and craft our feelings, so that at no moment of watching it is the magic broken. I hope to see more trailers in the future that can handle such powerful feeling throughout a trailer.
Second, and I do find this very interesting, it seems that the trailer uses the dynamic score and song to overshadow the lack it has of any particularly interesting cinematography. The first 40 seconds showcase a few interesting shots and camera angles, but for the most part the trailer focuses on giving plenty of face time for all of the primary actors. This is very different from the Dark Knight Rises trailer which featured the now iconic IMAX cinematography which Christopher Nolan loves to sprinkle into his superhero films. I don’t think we have much to worry about in that department but it is interesting how the teaser leans towards the auditory rather than the visual. Very different from modern stylings.
Overall think this is an excellent first look at what I am sure fans have been looking forward to for many years now. The trailer assures us that each actor and actress seems to fit into their roles, that the overarching tone of the film seems to be about right, and most importantly that the music appears to be phenomenal – just as it should be. I am not sure whether to declare this the “Year of Anne Hathaway Trailer Voiceovers” just yet but thus far she does have two of the best trailers of the year under her belt and I can only expect good things from both of those to films. I know I a very excited to see one of the best musicals ever created brought to the Silver Screen and I cannot wait for the next trailer to give us just a bit more of that Dream that Never Dies.