Friday, September 5, 2014

Planes, Pains, and Champagne: a Journey Through the Life of The Aviator

The Aviator, a movie chronicling the life of Howard Hughes, a business tycoon and aerospace engineer, is dramatic, awe-inspiring, and heartbreaking. Although the trailer for this film is a mere 2 minutes and 30 seconds, it does an incredible job of giving the viewer a taste of the content, and an even better job of encouraging them to go out and see the film.
            Throughout the trailer, pathos is used over and over again, as the viewer is taken through the highest points of Hughes’ life—and the lowest. The beginning of the trailer mirrors the trailer for The Great Gatsby in many ways, with glitzy parties and glamorous costumes. This would evoke emotions of awe and intrigue in the viewer. However, as it continues, we see the demons Hughes faced throughout his life, and our awe turns to pity. However, there’s still a level of mystery, as the trailer doesn’t make clear what exactly those demons are. This emotional rollercoaster is enough to draw audiences to the film, as it gets the viewer to wonder what happens to Hughes, and why the industry he was so passionate about would turn against him. This trailer very artfully and effectively plays on the emotions of the viewer, and leaves a lasting impression and a yearning for more information.
            The trailer also utilizes ethos through the actors in the film, all of whom are established and talented people. The cast includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Beckinsdale, Alec Baldwin, and Cate Blanchett. These are names that most people have heard of before and have likely seen in other films. In addition, most of the actors and actresses have maintained a positive reputation throughout their career. When considering these actors, “we ask ourselves: Should we pay attention to them? Can we trust them?” (Giannetti, 56). In the case of this film, we want to pay attention to these actors, and we know we can trust them due to their reputation and past roles, which have by and large been successful. This builds the credibility of the film, because since people know these names and see them as poised, talented actors and actresses, they will be more likely to go see the film.
            Finally, the trailer is able to maintain logos, or logic, by following the story of Hughes’ life accurately. The trailer references airline companies like Trans World Airlines (TWA) and Pan Am, which actually existed at the time. The information depicted in the trailer about aerospace is accurate, yet vague due to the fact that it was so early on in the history of air travel. By keeping the story and history logical, the trailer would attract history buffs and regular viewers alike, because “most of us respect appeals to logos” (Giannetti, 69).

            Overall, I felt that the trailer did a great job of attracting audiences through its use of a wide range of emotions, big names, and adherence to history and logic. After viewing the trailer, I definitely felt inclined to watch the movie and truly wanted to know more about the life of Howard Hughes.  

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