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Have you ever seen a movie and thought that the trailer was better than the movie? Not necessarily as a form of criticism of the film or that the trailer simply had all the good jokes or something, but that the trailer was literally a better piece of cinematic art?

I’ve been thinking about this after seeing Like Crazy last week. I think the film’s trailer is a knockout and emotionally evocative in ways the film simply isn’t.

Usually trailers are necessarily thin, reducing a plot to its basics and giving a feel for the tone. (Or they outright lie when a marketing plan calls for it.) But for films that rely on creating atmosphere that task may well be easier in two and a half minutes as a montage backed by an appropriately emotional song and slick editing. The Like Crazy trailer is better than the film because it’s unencumbered by the film’s narrative or characters (bazinga!).

The trailer still gives me chills, though I think part of it is that I see what could have been and it’s a reminder of the missed opportunities of the film.

This happened last year as well with True Grit, which was more of a case of the trailer being great than the film being poor. The first half of the trailer is sweet though fairly standard, but when it launches into the Johnny Cash song it turns totally badass.

And it’s not like great trailers are a curse. The Social Network and The Dark Knight both lived up to kick-ass trailers.

Who knows what next film will be unable to match a great trailer? I’m pretty confident that it will be great, but is it possible The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo won’t equal the intensity of it’s trailer?

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November 2017
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