If trailers are like the shiny cover of a book screaming for your attention, then movie clips are like flipping through the book’s coarse feeling, sterile looking pages. The latter isn’t as immediately gratifying as the alluring quotes and imagery on the book jacket, but it’s a much truer test of what’s in store for you. We've all been duped by trailers before. Whether you're hyped on a bad movie, or overhyped on a good movie, either way you leave the theater with some degree of disappointment. If you’re aching for a glimpse of a movie but don’t want to go into the theater with a false barometer, we suggest skipping the umpteenth trailer and opting to watch a clip instead. Here are 5 reasons why:
5. Clips Are Fanboy/Fangirl Methadone
If you’ve been overdosing on the latest trailer for [insert highly anticipated movie title here], you need something to wean you off and give you some perspective. Trailers are an overly concentrated dose of explosions and dubstep bass drops. Clips provide a quick fix without burning possibly the best parts of the movie into your retinas.
4. A Clip is Cut by the Filmmaker, Not the Studio
When a studio cuts a trailer together they’re interested in one thing: getting butts into theater seats. Studios have go-to teams of editors that know just how string together the most ostentatious bits from a movie — probably cut to “Adagio in D Minor.” The problem is, the filmmakers aren’t always involved with the way those are cut. The artist’s vision and intention for the film may not align with how the studio decides to market it.
3. Clips Actually Make It into The Movie
Scenes in trailers are often left on the cutting room floor — I believe the term for that is “Trailer Trashed.” A 2008 New York Times article detailed the many misleading scenes from National Treasure: Book of Secrets that were in the trailer, but not in the final cut of the movie. This is more common for comedies that use alternate joke takes, but it happens quite often with other genres as well.
2. Clips Create a Window of Opportunity for Emergency Bathroom Breaks
This is plain ol’ practical advise. Sometimes the pre-show previews run long, and by the time the opening credits roll you’ve hit the bottom of your large soda. You’ll be thankful when you see a familiar scene that allows you to make a mad dash to the bathroom. The people next to you will also be grateful when you return, and you don’t have to ask, “What did I miss?”
1. Clips Give You Realistic Expectations
Movie clips, particularly those that are the opening sequence of the film — think the IMAX preview shown for the opening of The Dark Knight (pictured at the top), among other extended previews — give you the truest gauge of a movie. Unlike flashy TV spots and trailers, an extended clip sets up proper expectations for the pace and tone of a film.
Why would a site that makes their living posting trailers and TV spots tell you not to watch them? Let’s be realistic, I don’t think you should NEVER watch a trailer. If you’re in a movie theater or watching TV, trailers can be flat-out unavoidable. Do we expect you to close your eyes and plug your ears in a theater or leap across your living room for the remote? Of course not — though I have admittedly done both of those things. We'll keep posting exciting trailers for those who want to watch them. We just think that clips are a better guide and measuring stick for your moviegoing experience.
Trailers will always have their place, but we’re living in a time of teasers for trailers for teaser trailers teasing the trailer… and that’s not exaggerated in the least. We may not be able to control how studios market their films to us, however, we can decide to what degree we allow ourselves to be affected by it. Moviemaking is one of the most powerful and culturally impactful artistic mediums. If we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, we shouldn't judge a movie by its trailer.