The way in which film trailers engage and sustain the audience

Trailers consist of a series of particular shots from the film being advertised. The intention of a trailer is to engage an audience to the film; by drawing from the most thrilling, amusing or otherwise significant parts of the film; without generating spoilers. Trailers are exposed to selected target audiences typically in cinemas.

Gladiator and MI: 2 are the two trailers I shall be analysing further.

The USP- films unique selling point is presented in both trailers. There is NO voice over in both these films, hence relies on dialogue, music and action to convey the plot.

Gladiator is reliant upon clever use of written words, which are effective. Russell Crowe’s name is NOT highlighted-, as he is not well known. However, Ridley Scott’s name is, for on the contrary he is known as a respectable, well known director. Universal and Dream works is instantly identifiable and highly regarded, – DreamWorks is a Stephen Spielberg company, – very credible, so the audience is shown the potentional of forthcoming film.

In contrast, MI: 2 proudly presents the name of “Tom Cruise” in large letters he is very recognizable. He guarantees a response from the female population; who appreciate is sex appeal. He ultimately carries the box-office draw.

Throughout the Gladiator trailer, the colours remain dark and depressing, but when slow motion occurs sequences of flames and light are exposed to represent adventure, excitement and battle. The combination of fire and light along with slow motion gives an incredible effect. The music is very dramatic; a mixture of drumming to accumulate the tension, chants of ” Maximus” by the crowd enhances the brutal excitement, instantaneously informing the audience who the hero is. A device like sound effects – metal clashing on metal, constantly continues the theme of rebelliousness and vengeance. Moreover, the mis-en-scene captures momentum, the costumes, – especially the masks add to the terrifying atmosphere. Weapons/ blood with addition to the vocabulary of ” slave”, and ” gladiator”, directly indicates a historical genre.

Therefore, the film is unsuitable for children; this is justified by the vicious mis-en-scene itself. The speed of Gladiator is relatively consistent, but the use of slow motion for the action sequences; the chariot going through fire, is very effective. The few romance shots is very clever from the director, as it shows the spectators that the film is not solely about violence, thus it captures a whole other audience. The film title appears near the end; the reason being that hopefully the audience is hooked therefore shouldn’t forget the name now. The last frame happens to be, ” Summer 2000 AD” and note still continues the style of the whole genre- a historic epic. The film is unsuitable for anybody minors, due to the violent scenes subjected, hence individuals over this age will appreciate this ” art”.

Whereas, MI: 2’s mis- en- scene is completely the opposite. We are exposed to gadgets of a futuristic scale, the setting is breath defying. The colours, similar to the sound is dull and silent to begin with only to emphasis on the height Cruise is mounting through extreme long shot, but then suddenly transforms into brilliant colours. The first frames were slow to stress the height but then suddenly moved fast when subjected to the theme tune and sounds of explosions, which is extremely effective. Symbolisation is presented through the character’s glasses; which proves him to be a spy. The trailer engages our attention by involving us to be a spy through such methods as, ” Message will destruct in 5 seconds”. The filmmakers have fabricated an action packed genre. The target audience is 12+, likely to be male dominated; however females will be targeted through Cruise’s sex appeal.

To conclude, I believe Gladiator is more effective in sustaining and engaging audience’s attention than MI: 2. Gladiator is somewhat more powerful in its approach. The trailer delivers many different elements of historical concept, -of vengeance, of good over evil… The intensity of the film is strong, moreover the nature of this material through mis-en-scene appeals thoroughly towards its target audience. Techniques like written words, ” A hero will rise” is almost biblical. The words enforce an intriguing story. We witness a sense of grandeur of the Roman Empire, its greatness; at the same time its corruption and decay. Everything is so simple, yet effective. For example the words ” father to a murdered son…” creates emotions, – which captures the audience’s sympathy. In my opinion, filmmakers saw a gap in the market and exploited it. MI: 2, seemed a bit too predictable. The filmmaker’s have re created a world; the trailer conjures an illusion of such a fascinating period.