Trailer Analysis Essay

Example Movie Trailer Analysis

I will be analyzing the movie trailer developed for the movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  This movie is placed in present time, in the United States of America, in a medium sized city. Charlie, the main character, is an incoming freshman in High school who has no friends and ultimately is an outcast or “wallflower” in the beginning of the movie. We are introduced to his new found friends Sam and Patrick, two upperclassmen that “take Charlie in”  and invite him to partake in their fun and carefree lifestyle that has labeled them the  “misfit toys” in their world.  Charlie struggles to adapt to the social structures of High School and his new friends at first  but slowly develops into the individual he never knew he could be.  Charlie becomes infatuated with Sam, his beautiful exotic new friend. When his new comrades are threatened , due to their adversity, by the  “in” crowd, Charlie finds that he is braver than he had ever anticipated. The point of the story is not to learn how to become accepted, but to learn to accept yourself.
This movie was produced by Summit Entertainment Studios; a Lionsgate Company, the same producers of “Juno”. This film is based on the critically acclaimed novel written by Stephen Chbosky. The main character, Charlie, is played by Logan Lerman who is famous for his latest role as Percy in the Percy Jackson series. Lerman’s infamous co-star is none other than the beloved Emma Watson, who will undoubtedly remain an acting legend for her portrayal as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series. This movie is classified under many genres. It can be classified as a  comedy, teen drama, and a romance film. The target audience for this film is primarily teenagers and young adults. They’re attracted to the idea of “belonging” and discovering a piece of the puzzle that is growing older. This movie’s unique selling point lies in it’s approach at the realistic life of a teenager that isn’t “accepted” and how he approaches the ultimate question of who he is.   

Sound is used throughout this trailer to convey specific emotions to the observer. This trailer utilizes slow acoustic melodies in the beginning  to make
the viewer feel  a sense of forlornness. The music tempo increases as Charlie discovers his new friends, this is done to uplift the viewer and feel an
emotional tie and connection to our main character, Charlie.  The more drawn to the main character the viewer becomes the more likely they are to go and see the film.  Voiceover is used throughout the entire trailer, this voice belonging to Charlie, once again making it easier for the viewer to grow personally connected to the main character. Charlie has a soothing voice which implies that he is a comforting character. The language used by the characters in the clips shown are appealing to younger audiences. The characters use slang words and ‘humorous’ phrases, for instance when  Patrick is cheering with the cheerleaders at a football game and he exclaims “Be aggressive, Passive aggressive”.   There is a very simple but very drastic musical idea used in this trailer. Musicians  know this idea  to be a Ceasura, to the audience it is a dramatic pause with no audio. This is used to heighten the anticipation of the viewer and highlights the turning point of the main character. Sound is a sense often underestimated by the average person however  in advertising it  is evident that it can be one of the most influential selling points and consequently can make or break a movie trailer.

Ironically, visual influence is often overlooked by most people. In this trailer the visual sense is  very clear that you are an observer of Charlie’s
life. As it goes on you grow with Charlie the more he “shows” you. Initially the shots appear at a slow and steady pace, coinciding with the audio.  When the audio picks up speed the shots also pick up speed. This conveys how quickly things change for Charlie, and also the difference between his old ‘boring’ life and his new life with friends. Almost all of the shots displayed are shots from an outside person observing the main characters life. One of the only point of view shots is used to enhance the way Charlie sees Sam ,when he sees her for the first time we see her through his eyes. This tactic emanates the romantic feelings Charlie harbors for Sam, and how important she is to the story line. The other main visual effect used to enhance the trailer is the use of “title slides”. These slides are used to reveal things to the audience, for instance, when it begins the first one used says “Charlie never stood out until he found friends that let him in”, you also learn his new friends names through the use of these slides. Slides like these are a very productive advertising tool as the viewer must read the slide and therefore engage themselves mentally and wholly into the trailer.

I feel this trailer does a fantastic job of portraying the movie. The trailer really focuses on subconsciously pulling the viewers emotions towards specific aspects that can be transferred from generation to generation. I feel that they could have alluded more to the story line, and the climax of the film, as it seemed to just be a beginning and then abruptly happy ending with little to no problem in between. I would definitely go see this movie based on the trailer.  I chose this trailer for that reason specifically. This trailer fascinated me and is the sole factor that compelled me to go and see the actual film in theaters. 

Trailers are a major part of the film industry as they give a brief insight into the mood and setting of the film being advertised. Owing to this pivotal role in the film’s sales and viewing, the trailers must be clear, concise and effective, drawing in as many audiences as possible. The trailer I have chosen to analyse is ‘Casino Royale’, one of the ‘James Bond’ films. It is an action film including scenes of action, romance and violence. All of the recent ‘James Bond’ trailers appear to follow a similar format with a script extract in the first half and an action sequence in the second half.

Another, less obvious, trend is the way in which there is always a reference to time, or a major an event that differentiates between the two halves of the trailer. In ‘Quantum of Solace’ there is a script extract saying “How long have we got? ” with the reply being ” Thirty seconds” when the trailer is thirty seconds from completion. In ‘Casino Royale’ a similar concept is applied in the form of a violent action distinguishing between the two halves of the trailer. The trailer shows effective use of sounds and like most Bond trailers, uses script extracts for the first half and the theme tune playing for the rest of the trailer.

The theme tune encourages people who may not have been paying full attention to the television to look up. This particular soundtrack is distinguishable from their competitors’ because it delivers a strong brand identity as the music accompanies a “hero” to whom a number of men aspire. After the Metro Goldwyn Mayer shot a soft drone begins to reverberate, building up tension. Along with this drone, a very high, very soft, spine-tingling note is played as a car rolls up to a building. The atmospheric combination of sounds is partnered with an establishing shot of a building.

This combinatination allows for the audience to be captivated and absorbed into the world of double O . The eerie background music is then punctuated by one of six script extracts: “This may be too much for a blunt instrument to understand. ” This script extract is a simple statement and the ‘blunt instrument’ may be referring to James Bond’s reluctance to accept this particular mission and the complexitiy of the task envolved. It is read by Dame Judy Dench who plays the character “M”, one of Bond’s accomplicases, based in head quarters.

This simple line is spoken in a slightly menacing way, underlining the film’s danger and sincerity. This perception is later added to, when the action sequence commences. A further three script extracts are read by M, but the final two are spoken by Daniel Craig in a similar tone. The use of script extracts is far more effective than the potential use of a voice over as the latter would ruin the atmosphere and disrupt the audience’s attention drawing the focus away from the mood.

Between each of these extracts, there are a number of digetic bangs which change according to the flashback shown. The flashbacks show an excellent contrast between light and dark as they have a bright, white background compared with the dark, gloomy scene shown before it. The flashbacks also link ‘Casino Royale’ to the other James Bond films, as scenes are lifted from previous films to be used in this trailer, effectivly attracting prior fans. The bangs are made digetic because they coincide with the number of punches or kicks which hit their target in the fighting scene shown.

At this point everything is still in black or white as it is less offensive to show violence in this form. The use of black and white may also signify the fight was in the past and that James Bond has moved on from this time. In the first half of the trailer the lighting is artificial as the characters are situated inside. There are few editing techniques used, two of them being frame cuts and fading. The frame cuts are used when the scene turns from the dark room to the flashback, and the fading is used from the flashback to the dark room.

The use of fading when returning to the original scene allows for a moment of blackness in which the audience can reflect on the scene they have just witnessed. Without this slight pause the trailer would seem too condensed meaning the audience would take in less of the flashback, so they would be less likely to remember this effective sequence. At exactly half way, Bond is depicted standing in the same bathroom shown in the first flashback. At this point everything is still in black and white until he shoots the screen.

This is the decisive moment that differentiates between the two halves. Once Bond has shot the screen, a spiral begins to appear around him as red drips down from the top of the screen engulfing it in a red film, like blood in a computer game. The red is the first colour we see and once it has overpowered the screen it flashes before progressing to the main action sequence. Although the use of red is understandable as it is commonly associated with blood, death and misfortune, I still think it looks out of place, making the trailer less appealing and therefore less effective.

The first shot in the main action sequence is of a Daniel Craig in a digger determinedly driving towards a building. It then jumps to him destroying the building. The use of a jump cut is very effective because it means the scene is only viewed for two seconds showing how life moves on without waiting for anything or anyone. The use of a jump cut is then repeated as we visit the next shot of Bond when at his home in casual dress. The use of jump cuts cleverly portrays the likelihood of unexpected happenings in the film as the two shots I have described are not clearly linked although they follow in sequence.

Casino Royale’ uses a large number of different and exciting camera angles to emphasise the action or to intensify the mood. The first shot we see (after the opening legal shots) is an establishing shot. This low angle, establishing shot portrays a dark, private street with a block of flats just the other side of the road. There is one single lamp post which illuminates just one small circle in the street. The circle of light draws your attention to it because outside the circle, the street is cast into shadow.

The low angle also makes the building seem superior both in size and power. A great number of shots in the first half are low angle shots. This applies to the scenery and the characters displayed making the audience feel inferior thus implying they should look up to James Bond and aspire to be like him. We later meet the softer side of our superspy as there are several shots of him with women. They do this because stereotypically women like romance and by including this, it is widening their target audience, something that is imperative for an effective film.

The use of romance is not in one continuous stream, but is crammed in between Bond jumping across buildings and crashing cars, proving that his love life has to fit arround his job, making it less of a priority to him. Throughout the trailer, characters are shown wearing a number of different items of clothing. Daniel Craig is depicted wearing a suit for much of the first half, as he is inside receiving his mission and he is not actually carrying it out. The suit is typical spy clothing due to their cool heads and professionalism.

In the second half 007 wears a combination of casual clothing, swim wear, army combat clothes and in the final shot, he is back in his suit tearing up the five of spades. James Bond also uses a number of props typically linked to the spy genre. These include guns, knives, cars, speedboats, sunglasses, bombs and state of the art scanning devices. The use of a gun as a prop is especially important and effective as the gun not only links James Bond to the spy genre but it is also used in the decisive moment seperating the two halves of the trailer.

The gun has a recognised association with the word spy, as well as the connotations secret, dangerous and intelligence. In conclusion I think the trailer is very effective because it uses a variety of atmospheric sounds to reflect moods, has good contrast between lighting and colour and a variety of editing techniques. The combination of all these thigns makes the trailer exclusive in it’s presentation meaning you may wish to view it or stray from your sofa to visit your local store in order to purchase the film and place under your possetion.

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