Geek Speak

The Hype Machine is Killing Geek Film, as Evidenced by Avengers: Age of Ultron Hype

The Avengers: Age of Ultron release date is now just a touch over two weeks away, and the hype is building to a fever pitch. By this I mean that nearly every surprise, reveal and “good part” of the movie has been spoiled. Not by reckless, craven fanboys in league with black-hat hackers, but by asshole studio execs and clueless marketing teams convinced that the best way to get someone to pay to see a movie is to bury them in trailer after trailer after trailer, each revealing one or more thing that, in a sane world, would be revealed in the fullness of time as you sat in the dark having your mind blown by the actual movie.

This is some fucking bullshit and it needs to stop.

According to this Esquire story, by now you have already seen almost fifteen minutes of Avengers: Age of Ultron if you’ve watched everything that Marvel has released. That’s more than 10 percent of the goddamn movie, and it’s not like they’re just putting random background scenes in those trailers, teases and sneak peeks. Most of them contain important plot material, and they’re all full of shit that would be a lot more satisfying in context — the one thing they don't provide. This is true across the board, but the problem seems especially bad in geek films. That’s not just annoying, it’s downright stupid. Why go to the circus at all when you’ve already seen the clowns come tumbling out of that car?

And it’s not like the latest Marvel film is alone here, even if it is particularly egregious. The trend in trailers for geek films has been spoilerific for years. It wasn’t always this way — cue up a vintage trailer for your favorite film, pre-millenium, and see how it used to be done: a few snatches of the film meant to set the tone, some gravelly voiced narration and maybe a hint as to the plot. Those trailers were made to intrigue, but somewhere along the line some asshole marketer decided America was too dumb to be intrigued and decided to beat us over the head with the trailer, condensing every hook and plot point in the movie into ninety seconds of trailer.

Most of the time, if you see a trailer for a horror movie and can’t figure out the killer or twist by the end of it, you should probably get checked out for a head injury. Want to know the surprise at the end of act two in the latest action movie? Don’t worry, it’s right there, 44 seconds into the second trailer (of four). And it’s not like having a sweet trailer proves anything, since if you can’t muster ninety seconds of kickass from your ninety-minute movie, you are beyond fucked. It’s gotten to the point that once I decide to see a film, I avoid the trailers like the plague, which gets harder and harder as they place them all over every remotely related piece of television, Internet site and cereal box available.

It’s time for it to stop. There has to be a better way than dumping the viscera of every upcoming film all over every available media channel months before it releases. Someone clever young Don Draper wannabe needs to step the fuck up and figure out a new way to market these movies, because it’s getting to the point where I’m starting to want to avoid not the trailers and preview scenes, but the actual movies. Why bother to see the movie when I can read an officially released 500-word synopsis, watch three trailers and a handful of preview scenes, and get everything but the “Remember to turn off your cell phone” warning that the theater plays before the movie?

Find me on Twitter, where I tweet about geeky stuff and waste an inordinate amount of time: @casciato.

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Cory Casciato is a Denver-based writer with a passion for the geeky, from old science fiction movies to brand-new video games.
Contact: Cory Casciato

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