It comes as no surprise that there are certain patterns in filmmaking, templates that studios follow almost like a checklist to entertain audiences by hitting familiar beats. This same cookie-cutter approach carries over not just from the major blockbusters but also to their marketing materials. Movie trailers have become so repetitive with various tics and tropes that it’s easy to identify what type of film is being marketed based solely on the trailer’s music and title reveal. And it’s not just blockbusters that fall into this trap. Twee indie films and historical dramas follow a certain path as well. The A.V. Club has pondered what makes a great trailer, but here are some examples of what makes a lazy one.
Cracked has laid out these constantly revisited elements in trailers in a new video that covers a wide range of types of films. There’s the ubiquitous “BWAAAHM” (made famous by Inception) noise that everyone is aware of, but there’s also the way that release dates are announced and titles appear on screen. On the quieter side, there’s the peculiar way that Woody Allen inserts his own credits into a movie, or the soft plinking guitar that lets audiences know that this is a movie with heart. It’s an interesting look at some clichés that should probably be retired from trailers in favor of new and distinct previews of the movies they’re advertising.
After all, if the film’s trailer is this uninspired, what does that mean for the film itself? It’s high time that the trailers match up with the innovative tones of the movies they’re plugging (at least when they’re innovative films like Deadpool or Guardians Of The Galaxy, and not say, the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles flick). They should all take a page from Paul Thomas Anderson or the Coen Brothers—now those are cool trailers.