There are people who will tell you the best part of a movie are the previews. There is a big reason for that. They don’t operate under the same rules. They can put all the best jokes in it. They can scramble the narrative to the point that it becomes deceptive advertising. Yet there are sometimes where a preview, or a trailer as they are called, can just make me want to see a movie right now. That the most disappointing thing about it is the future date before I will be able to see the actual full movie. This past week the teaser trailer for the May 5, 2017 release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 achieved that.
In 2014 the original Guardians of the Galaxy was a surprise hit. It grossed over $750 million dollars which was incredible for a movie based on comic book characters that few had heard of. Director James Gunn had not only heard of them but he clearly had an affection for them. He assembled a cast who inhabited these roles making them their own. The people at Marvel Studios knew they had a hit on their hands before they even released it. Which allowed them at add to the end of the movie “The Guardians of the Galaxy will return”. Next May that will come true with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
For big anticipated movies like this the advertising campaign starts about six months out. The first phase is the release of a teaser trailer. A short set of images meant to whet your appetite. The teaser is usually followed up rather quickly by a full trailer which runs for 2-3 minutes revealing plot details meant to draw you further in. The final long trailer usually arrives 60 days or so prior to the release. The bigger the anticipation the more these clips will be examined and broken down. A Star Wars trailer will be combed over with forensic detail looking for clues. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 just released the teaser trailer and it is one of the best examples of how to re-engage your audience in one minute and thirty seconds.
For a sequel of a big movie the director doesn’t need to introduce the viewer to what they are seeing. The job of a teaser is to remind you why you loved the original while promising more of the same. Mr. Gunn pulls this off by first using one of the 1970’s songs which made up the soundtrack of the first movie; Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Suede. That immediately reminds you of the fun of the music. Then over the first half of the trailer we see shots of all our returning heroes. Which leads to a scene between Star-Lord, played by Chris Pratt, and Drax, played by Dave Bautista. It captures all the fun of the way these characters interact in 30 seconds. The final shot shows us the only Guardian we hadn’t seen previously in a way much different than last we saw that character at the end of the first movie.
Kudos to Mr. Gunn for this kind of detail it raises my hopes for the sequel and it makes me look forward to the longer trailer which should be here in a few weeks.