Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t watched Side Effects or Flight and don’t want them to be spoiled for you, stop reading now!
Not too long ago, my roommate and I decided to enjoy a Friday night in with nothing but some microwave popcorn and whatever we could find on On Demand. And after flipping through On Demand’s entire library, it seemed we would be spending the evening with Channing Tatum, Rooney Mara, and Jude Law in Side Effects, which looked like some sort of psychological thriller. Let me refresh your memory. Here’s the trailer:
After watching the trailer, we felt sufficiently prepared for a psychological puzzle/love story. Too bad it actually ended up being less of a psychological puzzle and more of an average hoax movie. Not only did Tatum’s character die like 20 minutes into the movie – there goes my eye candy (Sorry, Jude) – but the thriller aspect of the film had nothing to do with drugs or anyone’s psychological problems but rather with super manipulative women. And to top it all off, the love story I ended up getting was between Catherine Zeta-Jones and Rooney Mara? I don’t understand!
Maybe I wouldn’t have disliked the movie so much if going into it I had watched a trailer that adequately prepared me for what I was about to see. Let’s face it: A misleading trailer can ruin a movie, or, as was the case with Flight, it can just really throw you off.
Let me start by saying that I loved Flight. It was a great film. But, going into it, I expected a story about a respected pilot who was being falsely accused of alcohol abuse after he landed a plane that just about any other pilot would have crashed. Or perhaps he wasn’t being falsely accused at all, but regardless, I expected to be on his side. I was ready to cheer him on and scream “How dare they!” and “Show some respect! He was the only one who could’ve landed that plane!” at the screen. It also didn’t help that Denzel Washington played the pilot – how could you not root for Denzel?!
Instead, what I got was one of the most in-depth, frustrating, and powerful stories about addiction I had ever seen. I spent the entire film with my fists clinched as I watched Washington’s character give in to his addiction, therefore ruining his life. I did want to scream at the screen, but it had nothing to do with defending the man in front of me. I was in for much more of an emotional roller coaster than I had expected, all because the trailer hadn’t properly prepared me. Thanks a lot.
These are both pretty big examples of misleading trailers. Most of the time, the misleading elements are just one aspect of the trailer: It presents something as a comedy that is really a drama, or it shows every funny scene in the entire movie in the trailer, so you’re left with a not-very-funny film. Or, in my case, you’re left screaming at the man you came prepared to love, or you’re left with a lot of Jude Law when you were hoping for a lot of Channing Tatum.
Now it’s your turn! What are your trailer pet peeves? Have you ever been completely mislead by a film’s trailer?