When analyzing a trailer there are a number of elements that draw us to a film, one would be the actors who are working in the film. The second is the emotions the trailer evokes. Third would be catch phrases or taglines. There are a number of other subtle elements to movie trailers but in this Trailer Review I would like to focus on the three listed above.
First the Actors.
There were a few surprises with the actors who chose to work in this film. The first was Brendan Fraser who is known more for his comedic and sometimes silly roles. I have often enjoyed this actor especially his work in other dramas such as Crash and in the sitcom Scrubs he starred in one of the most emotional episodes of television I have ever seen; the episode was titled My Screwup. Second surprise casting was the great James Earl Jones. Mr. Jones is a phenomenal actor who is known for his voice acting as Darth Vader in the original Star Wars Trilogy and Mufasa in The Lion King. He is also known for his role as Terence Mann in The Field of Dreams. I was saddened to see him recently reduced to cell phone commercials about texting. It is great to see him in a more serious role again. And finally the biggest surprise was that the star in this trailer is the lovely Vanessa Hudgens who became known for Disney Channel's High School Musical. This role seems to be a great departure for her and yet she looked so completely different than herself that it gives me hope that it will work.
Second the Emotion.
From the opening of the trailer to the end you can see this film is intending to be an emotional roller coaster. The opening of cutting hair with no music evokes such a grating yet strong feeling that my attention was immediately seized. It is more than obvious that this is going to be a coming of age story about a girl who has had an extremely rough childhood. Yet, with that pronounced strongly on the surface I hope it will carry through to more depth and really ask the hard questions. Apple’s (Vanessa Hudgen’s character) challenge as to where God was when she was suffering is a question often asked and I hope this film will be able to deliver with more than a casual brush off.
Third and Finally the Catch Phrase.
Catch phrases and taglines are terms probably better relegated to comedic forays into the film medium. However every trailer has some form of this advertisement tool and this one evokes an often over used one, “Based on a True Story.” This particular tagline always begs the question of how much of this film was true? The scenario of a teen living on the streets and becoming pregnant is one that is all too often plausible. But, given the details of the story, a wall street father, drug addicted mother, and a chaplain giving assistance I once again find this trailer doing its job of drawing me in.
Gimme Shelter is exactly the type of emotional drama that can stand out in the January season of risky not-quite-blockbuster action films, and lack luster dramas. I truly hope I am not wrong and that the trailer delivers on the heart string chords it is pulling.
by Mark Young