I chose to analyze the trailer for the movie Transformers. When it was in theaters it was a great success and eventually lead to two sequels. But why was it such a success? To be honest when I heard that someone was making a movie for Transformers I thought it was going to be a really cheesy movie with little plot and way too much animation, but I changed my mind once I saw the trailer (of course this was several years ago when the movie came out). But what made the trailer so good? That is what I am going to focus on in this blog.
Of course we have to start with the basics. The trailer pretty obviously shows that the movie is going to be full of action. But that was pretty much expected right? The plot is about alien robots coming to Earth; of course it was an action movie. However, the trailer does show that there will be some human involvement in the action when it shows the (presumably American) soldiers running through the desert, being chased by a giant robot. This is an appeal to pathos, or emotion. The soldiers are in the desert and are an obvious representation of the American soldiers who are currently serving in the Middle East. But the trailer also hints at an underlying romantic theme by constantly showing Shia LeBeouf with Megan Fox. Why would you put a hot female actress in the movie if she wasn’t going to be romantically involved with the main character? So it seems that the movie may be a bit deeper than I originally thought it would be, which may have been enough to lure some females who were on the fence about going to watch such an action movie. It also hints that there is going to be a fairly deep connection between Shia’s character and his unnamed car-robot in the scene where Bumblebee is being attacked by the American government. So, in all, it certainly seems that the movie will be a bit more than just an action flick that has way too much animation and way too little plot.
I would say that the next thing that really persuaded people to go to see the movie would be the names that were associated with it. Of course Shia LeBouf is a pretty well-known name from his early days in Holes all the way to his role in Eagle Eye, so he may have been a draw for the average movie-goer, but he was certainly no action movie guru. The female lead, Megan Fox, is also a very well-known actress and model (It also doesn’t hurt that she is very attractive and so even if the average teenage boy who is watching the trailer isn’t aware of her other films, he would still be inclined to go watch her movie). This sentiment is also expressed by Louis Giannetti in his book Understanding Movies, where the author states “romantic roles are almost always performed by attractive players” (Giannetti 279). But she is also not the biggest name out there, so her effect may have also been rather minimal. In my opinion the two biggest names that we attached to this film weren’t even actors- Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg. As a producer Bay has worked on an incredible number of films, and even though the average person can’t name one of them off the top of their head, they still know his name. The real coup de gras of all the names associated with the film was Spielberg. I am sure that there are millions of fans in America that will go to watch a movie simply because he is the director. His name is synonymous with great movies. I am convinced that this combination of celebrities was enough to draw millions of fans to the movie, whether they knew what the thing was about or not. This idea is also by Giannetti “Perhaps the ultimate glory for a star is to become and icon in American popular mythology” (Giannetti 267)
All in all I think that this was a very effective trailer. It displayed the main meaning of the movie without giving away too much, it clearly showed all of the celebrities who were participating and it also showed that there was a softer side that would appeal to men and women of all ages.
Link to trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnwmUZuF5OY