Readers, I apologize for my silence regarding certain matters of protocol and bureaucracy with respect to the DSC. I have yet to respond to the DSC Sub-Committee preliminary findings but I have been advised to withhold comments until the investigation is complete. Further, I have not responded to the motions carried at the DSC meeting posted on April 23 of this year. I intend to but there are other things on my mind. I am distracted these days and I shall now explain.
You see folks, it’s movie trailers that concern me; not my license suspension or the politics of the DSC. The summer blockbusters are no longer on the horizon. They are now moving quickly through the middle ground. Are you awash in anticipation? Can you feel the earth-shaking momentum? Do you find yourself short of breath, teary eyed, and overwhelmed by the enormity of these coming events? It is enough to make your softer bits tingle. If you can’t relate you can’t have seen the trailers.
My issue is not with the movies themselves, some of which I will eventually watch. It is their ad campaigns which give me moment to pause. I will write some other day about sensitive human dramas and quirky independent comedy trailers; that ground, too, is rich and fruitful.
Blockbuster trailers are the movies in miniature. Marketing budgets for these projects can well exceed 30 million dollars, easily and frequently. It takes a lot of labour to compress the movie down to two or three minutes and encapsulate its key moments and ethos. More difficult now given that these “Big” movies often exceed the two hour mark. I blame the long-winded New Zealander who, at one time, I respected. That, however, is a lament for another day.
The action and drama is always larger than life in these condensed versions. The trailer is massively heroic and operatic in proportion; more so than Wagner’s Ring Cycle. In fact, opera is a mere a pop song in comparison to these mega-spectacles. In a further assault to the senses, the actors speak in thick raspy whispers. These are the voices of authenticity confidently bearing witness. Are these the last words ever to be spoken, the last words, which we, the viewers, will ever hear again? They just might be.
You think classical music or opera is dead? Well, you’re dead wrong. It has merely changed venues. Choirs of a hundred voices, full symphony orchestras, and swells, no, tidal waves, of deeply emotive sound carry the images further. (Wagner and Mahler themselves would be overwhelmed.) We can’t help but be passive. We are being assaulted on all fronts. “You will watch. You will be moved and you will purchase a ticket.” It can be intimidating.
If I have seen a trailer, I often resist the urge to watch the movie because I believe I have just seen all there is to see. As these promotions are similar in manner and form, they create a wall of noise that is so awesome in scope and volume that I am absolutely numbed. They cancel each other out and I am unable to discern the individual works. It’s hyper white noise and I am muted and humbled in its presence.
These trailers would not be made if they were ineffective. They connect with people and tickets are sold. However, there is not necessarily a direct relationship between marketing campaigns and a successful movie. There are plenty of examples afloat in the electronic void. Viewers and reviewers still have enough power to affect these commercial enterprises but that is an unfathomable thought when absorbed in the moment. So, spend your money, enjoy the shows and watch these epics unfold during the coming summer. As for me, I am left trembling in the corner, for now.