October 1, 2023

Movie trailers are created to present what a film is going to be about. However, these trailers often misrepresent the story being told in a particular body of work.

Dr. Melissa Croteau, director and professor of Film Studies, said she believes movie trailers may be misleading.

“What you’re getting in a trailer is an advertisement. My thing about trailers is that you don’t trust trailers. I would go and  read reviews, particularly from trusted reviewers from papers like The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Chicago Sun-Times. These are the three papers I’ll go to every time to see, ‘What did you really think?’” Croteau said.

Advertisements are expected to bring audiences to theaters. With the  transfer of artistic liberty from production studios to advertisements, films are likely to be presented in a way that targets the audiences that a production studio wants rather than representing what a film is actually about.

“Bad editing will distance its target audience through misrepresentation of what the film is truly about. What constitutes a good film is always subjective, but if the film trailer has a lot of cliché lies and plot elements you recognize from seeing other movies, then that film probably isn’t going to bring anything new or interesting to the table. ‘B’ movies copy, but ‘A’ movies remix and create,” said Amber Ford, senior film major.

Keeping an eye out for redundant themes is key as viewers and critics determine the quality of a film.

“For myself, personally, good script-writing and good acting are important for maintaining my interest. If I’m being pulled out of the film and taken into my own head-space too often, then I don’t consider it a good movie,” Ford said.

Although the review of a film itself can be subjective, there are aspects of a film that determine its quality.

Croteau outlined the aspects of what she believes makes a great movie.

“See film as this multi-layer medium that has all these elements: metaphor, symbolism, themes, character development. All of those things functioning together simultaneously,” Croteau said.

While it can be hard to identify what it is that makes a movie great, it is not  complicated to identify how a movie makes you feel.

“It’s OK if your favorite movie is “Dumb & Dumber,”” Croteau said. “With film, as far as enjoyment goes, it’s all about what makes you feel happy, and a lot of that has to do with where and when you were when you first encountered that film.” So don’t beat yourself up if your favorite movie is “Bad Cop” because we can all love great film-making and still love “The Muppet Movie at the same time.”

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