The Wolf of Wall Street trailer was carefully created to draw in the viewer with it’s appeal of sex, money, drugs while trying to convey the true story of a man who illegally came into great money, so much money he didn’t know what to do with it, and eventually was caught and prosecuted by the FBI. In the opening moments of the trailer, they flash between scenes showing credible actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, and Mathew McConaughey. This helps with ethos in the trailer because these actors are all easily recognizable due to the success of movies they have previously been in. The stars are likely to draw people to the movie because “the star automatically suggests ideas and emotions that are deeply embedded in his or her persona” (Understanding Movies: American Star System, 267). The names of the actors and their previous nominations for the academy awards are flashed in all caps directly after the viewer sees them in various scenes from the movie. I think that this is strategic because they forced the viewer to look closely at the scene to see if they recognized any actors in the movie before giving them the name of the actor.
I believe that the trailer takes away from the logos of the movie. Overall, I would say that the movie would be a comedy based on the scenes highlighted in the trailer. The music cuts out about mid way through when Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio’s characters are seated at a table discussing throwing a small man at a dart board. The scene is laughable not only for this but also the fact that a group of executives are spending the day at work planning this as company entertainment. However, generally Leonardo DiCaprio is casted into movies that are more serious in nature, whether it is a love story or a more disturbing movie such as Shutter Island. This confusion could cause viewers to not want to watch the movie because it isn’t his normal genre and they may discount the movie as just being “ridiculous”.
Color is used in the trailer to alter the mood and physically appear to us. “Color tends to be a subconscious element in film. It’s strongly emotional in its appeal, expressive and atmospheric rather than intellectual” (Understanding Movies: Color, 22). Every time text is flashed across the screen, it is black font on a gold background. The color gold plays into the theme of money (gold) and wealth by subconsciously making the viewer think of it every time they see the color. Also, the sleek black text can be compared to the style and appearance of the black suits of the men in the movie. This is an example of pathos because it plays on our emotions, subconsciously leading us to think about wealth and the sharp, black suits men with money often wear.
Overall, I give the trailer for The Wolf of Wall Street a 4 out of 5 rating. I think they successfully played on the ethos of the movie by highlighting the name recognizable stars throughout the trailer. Color worked on our emotion and followed the theme of wealth that is apparent throughout the entire trailer. Although they didn’t successfully convince the viewer of the logos of Leonardo DiCaprio appearing in a comedy, they strategically allowed the film to appeal to a larger audience. The trailer has scenes that include both humor and suspense, allowing the genre of the movie to be up to the viewers’ interpretation. This is effective because they can draw in the crowd of people who don’t have a favorite genre as well as those who usually watch suspense or comedy. The trailer conveys an effective argument to the viewer, making the Wolf of Wall Street a must see blockbuster hit.