Monday, March 26, 2007

trailer talk

A couple of people have written in to ask about the Stardust trailer, including someone who had seen footage from Stardust at San Diego and wrote to ask if the film would be more like the footage he saw or more like the trailer. (Answer: More like the footage, of course.) Somebody wrote asking if I dared explain why Tristran's hair gets longer in the trailer and then mysteriously shorter again at the end of the trailer. (Answer:....Er, do I really have to explain that scenes from a trailer aren't always in the order they appear in in the film?)

I like the trailer. I've been shown a lot of other trailers for Stardust in the last six months, and was astonished to see how much they varied and the impression they seemed to give, and I realised how close the recut trailers for The Shining and The Parent Trap and Mary Poppins were to the truth. Trailers and films only bear a tangential relationship to each other. (Take a look at the three links above if you doubt this.)

In November I saw, for example, one trailer for Stardust that gave the impression it was a film about three witches on their quest to become young again. I saw one trailer that didn't seem to be about anything, but still left you feeling like you'd seen (and not enjoyed) the whole movie, which wasn't any movie that had ever been made. There was even a trailer that gave the impression that this was a film all about Tristran's quest to discover the riddle of his birth, which he solved by becoming a sky-pirate.

The current trailer, the one you can see right now on yahoo movies, is aimed at people who have never heard of Stardust, and it gives you the set-up (he's going to cross the wall to bring back a fallen star for the girl he's in love with) and what happens next (the star is actually a girl) and a sense that After That Lots of Stuff Happens. That the trailer-makers constructed the trailer in question by assembling and juxtaposing footage from one place and putting it beside another (at one point a scene that you think you're seeing is made by splicing together two events almost twenty years apart), editorially creating dialogue (including actually changing words or putting different dialogue on scenes) and so on, is perfectly par for the course in trailer-building. That they went with the sword-fightingy bits and a lot of running around rather than the love story for the Stuff Happens is fair enough -- you only have two minutes, after all.

What I hope we'll get soon is some actual scenes over at and that will give more of a sense of how the story feels and is actually edited.

(I should mention that there's a different, and slightly longer Stardust trailer, with more footage, including some of our ghostly princes, at anyone who wants to compare the two... It should pop up if you click


There's a rabbit caper movie pledge up at All I can say is I'm sorry.

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