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I guess I just like liking things

If I knew how to Photoshop things you would be looking at a "HercuLucy" poster right now

If I knew how to Photoshop things you would be looking at a “HercuLucy” poster right now

Last week I saw both Lucy and Hercules. I went to see the first one despite it’s “10% of the brain” nonsense because the trailer made it look like a superhero movie of sorts – woman gets dosed with an experimental drug and gains powers – okay, cool. Sorta Black Widow-y without actually being Black Widow (despite Black Widow not having any actual superpowers). Neat!

I went to see Hercules because The Rock was in it, but also because the trailer made it look like it was going to tell the story of Hercules’ 12 Labors – there was the giant lion, the Hydra, all the cool stuff. “Man!” I thought, “When he diverts that river to clean out the Augean stables, that is going to be super awesome!”

I am sad to report that neither movie lived up to the promises put forth by their trailers. “The trailer was better than the movie,” I told at least one friend about Lucy. The action seen in the trailer was pretty much the extent of the action in the movie. The movie was more of a consideration of what might happen if a person were able to realize more than their current potential. That’s fine, but it isn’t what got me into the theater.

The next paragraph contains spoilers for Hercules – drag and select to read.

Hercules used the 12 Labors as a jumping off point… sort of. The stories of his exploits were told in flashback, but the movie goes on to basically say “these are lies we tell so Hercules’ fame will grow so he’ll be able to get more mercenary jobs that will pay better. Oh, and by the way, it wasn’t just him doing all these things, there’s a team of us. We just put him front and center as the selling point.” Again, that’s fine if you want that to be your movie, but the trailer sold me a different thing. But at least Hercules throws a horse in the movie (no kidding!) so it wasn’t a total loss.

I understand that trailers are trying to sell the movie. That’s the whole point of a trailer. They include a great shot, a memorable line or two, and give you an idea of what’s going on — mostly. Sometimes when you go back and watch the trailer after seeing the movie you can’t help but shake your head at how they cobbled it together, lines all out of order and misleading. And I get that you need to do that if your movie has unexpected twists and all that. But misrepresenting the whole story? I don’t get that at all. Sure, it got a lot of people in the theater for Lucy this last weekend, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if that movie sees a huge drop-off in sales this weekend. Part of that will be Guardians of the Galaxy, but a bigger part will be word of mouth.

My favorite trailer/teaser of all time is this one for Terminator 2:

“Skynet is always building more Terminators!” this says. “OH MAN” is your response. This doesn’t use any footage from the movie at all, but it serves the purpose of getting you fired up for the movie. And in this particular movie’s case, any indication of what’s going to happen kind of ruins the whole experience, in my opinion. Someone watching Terminator and then Terminator 2 without knowing anything about 2 is going to have a better experience. The first part of 2 mirrors the first one, so until Arnold is revealed as the hero robot, it looks like we’re in for the same kind of experience as the first movie. And I don’t even care that I didn’t warn you about that spoiler, because before the movie was even released every article  was about how “Arnold plays the good guy this time!” which completely yanks the rug out from under that first 20 minutes of the movie.

I’m a guy who generally doesn’t mind knowing a lot about a movie before I’ve seen it, but being told “this is what it’s about” when that isn’t what it’s actually about is irritating.

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