Is the New 'Godzilla' Movie Suffering from Too Much Pre-Release Promotion?

Surprise! There’s yet another Godzilla clip out a mere two weeks before the film finally premieres on May 16. Unnecessary? If it were the only Godzilla clip released prior to the release, no — but that's far from the case. In fact, it feels as if I have seen so many trailers, extended trailers, short clips and behind-the-scenes featurettes lately that my life is an ongoing cycle of Godzilla déjà vu. Oddly enough however, these videos teasing the film have actually been quite different. And that’s exactly the problem. 

I actually feel that I know Godzilla himself and should probably take him out to coffee because of how well acquainted we’ve become. To be honest, I feel as if I even know the film and its plot so well that I maybe shouldn’t spend the $10 to go see it when it’s released. I probably will anyway, but that’s only because I want to see Bryan Cranston’s face for 123 minutes. 

Fangirling aside, I have to question why not only those behind Godzilla, but the film industry itself, feel the need to share the entire story of a movie with us in previews and sneak peeks. I mean, I want a little bit of mystery at least I probably would’ve even been fine if I hadn’t seen the giant monster at all before the movie hits theaters. But I have… so many times, thanks to pre-release promotional materials. So now I’m not going to receive that "wow" factor I had hoped for. 

This is the issue with many movies and television shows today unfortunately. They share so much with us beforehand that there’s little to be left to the imagination. 

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That’s pretty much how I felt after watching the first episode of Playing House the other day. Funny, but not as funny because I had already seen the funniest scenes time and time again during USA Network’s commercial breaks. It’s how I felt after seeing the trailer for Divergent without having read the book and realizing that yes, Shailene Woodley’s character fits into various factions and must avoid being discovered… but then is discovered anyway and must fight the good fight for divergent beings like herself everywhere.

Similarly, after seeing the trailer for horror movie, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, earlier this year, it was pretty obvious what we were dealing with in the film. Man becomes a “marked one” and is chosen by the devil. Man is possessed by the devil but tries to find an exorcist and all other forms of religion to rid him of this evil. At the end, man gets trapped by the devil and all his possessed minions, attempts to flee but then probably dies anyway. I’m not going to spoil it for any of you haven’t seen the movie, but...well, didn't the trailer do that anyway? Scary people in a house, plastic sheets hanging from the ceiling so you can’t see what’s behind them, terrified main character. Fin.

Horror movies are usually the worst when it comes to showing its audience members too much. For the most part, their trailers reveal almost every major frightening scene in the movie. I have even caught myself whispering to my friends — while closing my eyes and squirming in my seat — “Oh my god, I’m scared. I know something is going to happen now or someone is going to pop out. I saw it in the trailer.” 

Of course, horror movies are not the only culprits. Comedies, and especially rom-coms, are classic examples when you have either seen every hilarious part of the story in the trailers or you basically know the plot from start to finish. In late January of 2014, the National Association of Theatre Owners even created new guidelines asking that trailers not run more than 150 days before a movie’s release and that these trailers didn’t exceed three minutes. Why? Well, theater owners and audience members alike believe that long trailers give away too much of the film. And they are absolutely correct.

It’s too late now considering the release for Godzilla is just around the corner, but it would be such a nice change if started seeing shorter trailers as well as fewer clips from movies in general. Everything should be short and sweet.



Images: Warner Bros.

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