Film Trailer Editing Analysis

The film I picked was David Fincher’s remediation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I picked this film because I remember one of the trailers being extremely memorable. The film is a very gritty thriller with very explicit visual imagery. Both of the trailers do a very good job at delivering this mood, but in different ways.

The first and shorter trailer is edited using fast cutting. Sans the opening establishing shot of the car turning into the snowy drive way, all the following shots are extremely short. The trailer does not reveal anything about the synopsis of the film, and just provides very appealing visuals to promote the movie. The music used for the trailer, Karen O and Trent Reznor’s cover of “Immigrant Song” originally by Led Zeppelin, is very intense and is ideal for setting the gritty mood of the movie. (It is also used very effectively in the gorgeous opening scene of the movie.) In fact, the editing in the trailer seems to reflect the music as the cuts are made in tune with the song.  The shots jump back and forth in time and is not in chronological order. It also varies in terms of colours: darker scenes are often contrasted with very bright yellowish scenes to give the trailer an even more jagged and chaotic atmosphere. The trailer does consistently flash back to the initial scene with the car driving into the snowy driveway, showing the car getting closer and closer to the mansions between other short shots, which adds suspense to the trailer as it appears more frequently near the end of the trailer. The trailer does some interesting editing using match cuts, as the characters’ actions reflect each others through transitions, adding some continuity (along with the repeated driveway scene) to the trailer. The trailer reaches climax at the end when the tagline “The feel bad movie of Christmas” flashes in huge stenciled letters in fast cutting in tune with the song turning into loud noise effects. From this trailer one can assume that the movie will be violent and gritty with a lot of gruesome imagery.

The second trailer is edited in a more traditional trailer style. The main difference from the first trailer would be that this trailer actually introduces the story. It still incorporates same scenes used in the first trailer, but most of them longer than in the first trailer. Through the main characters’ voice-overs, the story is introduced, as the scenes showed reflect what is being said. From this trailer, one could safely assume that the movie is a crime/mystery thriller, as the most of the trailer is spent introducing the mystery behind the murder of Harriet. Another interesting editing in this trailer is that although it starts out with relatively longer cuts, the shots become shorter and shorter as the trailer progresses, becoming quite similar to the first trailer near the end. However, the music used in this trailer is more ambient and low-energy compared to the aggressive and noise-filled music of the first trailer. If the first trailer’s music gave it a sense of violence, the second trailer’s music adds a sense of mystery. The second trailer definitely makes the movie appear more reserved and quiet.

From someone who has seen the movie a couple of times, I think it would be really interesting to re-cut the trailer using different music. I would love to see the trailer edited with Enya’s “Orinoco Flow”, a New Age song that doesn’t suit the movie’s overall mood at all but is used in an extremely intense and crucial (SPOILER) torture (SPOILER END) scene during the movie. If I get to re-cut the trailer, it’d be a relatively short trailer (30 seconds). I think I will start out with “Orinoco Flow”‘s chorus with fast cutting of the movie’s more violent scenes. The song will contrast the visuals being showed and fascinate the audience (hopefully). I would still like to use the tagline “the feel bad movie of Christmas” because that seems extremely fitting to the movie and is also fascinating being contrasted with the somewhat ironic music choice. Although the song does not reflect the movie’s content at all, I think it would be nice to have a strangely paradoxical trailer of the movie because the scene involving the Enya song was mindbogglingly bizarre because of the gravity of the situation being contrasted with the Enya song. Furthermore, for people who watch the movie after viewing the trailer would slap their knees so hard and remember the trailer better.



One thought on “Film Trailer Editing Analysis

  1. Pingback: To The One I Love, The Book Trailer | Dawn Gena

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