Here’s a trailer for an upcoming film. You may have seen it already. You may not. Have a watch and we’ll continue after that.
As trailers go it’s a beauty. The Universal studio card disappears into the first half of the trailer’s signature style, eerie bass strings under a battered man being interviewed, leading up to the question “Will you give yourself to this programme?”
“Yes”. Kenneth Kitson, blocked in, taking up a fraction of the screen, disappears into black. Cue a strike of sinister brass. The eerie strings are still there! We’re thirty seconds in. It’s an atmosphere that is ominous, that is foreboding. If you didn’t know what this trailer for, you’re about to get some great big fucking hints.
Drugs! A woman’s voice makes it clear they’re mending him! The eerie strings lurk with rasps of the sinister brass.
Cut to another scene, another voice: “There is nothing you wouldn’t do for this country.” A cut and… it’s Ed Norton! “You have the strength to do what’s necessary.” And still the strings and brass, building in intensity, building the tension.
Now we’re following an older bloke. There’s Kenneth Kitson all fixed. And then there’s Albert Finney! The audience gasps!
“Welcome to the programme,” he intones with gravelly menace as the penny drops for the rest of the audience: it’s another Bourne film!
The screen fills with the sight of the new “Bourne”, Jeremy Renner. We’re halfway through the trailer. Most trailers would leave it here with you already excited, leaving you on tenterhooks.
But not here. Now it’s time for what they’ve made him into, to show you Kenneth Kitson is no second rate Jason Bourne.
Running! Windows smashing! Hitting! Revelations! (But without giving too much away.) Improvised weapons! An explosion! More hitting! Jumping from a tree and then falling while hanging onto another tree! An aeroplane! A gun being put together! Renner taking aim with the gun! And all while the soundtrack builds up from nothing, more and more, until a shot silences everything.
Cue the film’s title.
I was made aware of the trailer on Empire’s website, so knew what it was coming in – which is a shame. If I was to see this at the cinema without any prior warning, if I’d been sent this as a link with “just look at this!”, as a fan of the three Bourne films so far, I wouldn’t know what it was already – I’d have been guessing what it was about 20 seconds in. I know Jeremy Renner is taking over from Matt Damon. The early reference to “the programme”. My God how exciting would that be?
The internet is brilliant at viral campaigns and all that, (and the fact I can actually watch this trailer without going to the cinema) but here is a time when I wanted to just have had that childlike surprise when I see something for the first time without any warning and just coming away thinking “WOW!” I wished I’d have seen it at the cinema, where the trailer looks like it really belongs, with those blocks of images in the first minute coming up from the massive screen at the front, the sound in the second half surrounding me to the point of frenzy.
The thing is, it is an ace trailer, it really is – it makes the Bourne Legacy look absolutely fucking ace, with oodles of style and grace (the editing is top drawer)! It’s grade A marketing – and does what trailers should do: make you want to see the film now – and at the cinema.