Previews

The entire internet (at least anyone not out shopping on black Friday) seems to have lost its collective mind over something again. This time it’s a preview for the new Star Wars movie.

For most of my life I’ve loved previews. I always wanted to be in the theater early, seated with my popcorn and ready to see the future flicker to life before me. Previews would get you talking, help you make plans for your entertainment budget and help you believe in the magic of Hollywood. Maybe I’m the one that’s changed, but previews are not the same to me anymore.

I have reviewed and critiqued previews before. I’ve got more than one web page bookmarked that exist purely to show these previews on demand. There are archives of previews that can be reviewed and dissected at any time before or after the film itself has come out. They’re shown in high definition at your fingertips any time you’d like to see them. I stare at the screen today and feel that the magic is gone. It’s certainly not at the theater any more.

I went to the theater with my daughter to see Big Hero 6 just a couple of weeks ago. I’m so happy she’s interested in stories with heart and imagination. I’m glad she’s excited to see some of the same types of films I love. We sat there in the theater waiting for things to get rolling with popcorn and excitement. Then, right at the time the film was scheduled to start we were bombarded with 27 minutes of advertisements and previews before the movie we actually came to see started. That was one of the last few steps toward my dislike of previews. Almost a half an hour? That’s more than enough to test the patience of an adult, never mind a child. I heard one of the other children in attendance ‘whisper’ to his mother, “What are we watching?” Once we passed this barrage we moved on to a film that, while good, certainly had a couple of its best moments totally given away by the previews. The funny is lost when you’ve already seen it in the advertisements before the film.

So, the theater is no longer the haven of previews it once was but I should be selective and pick the ones I want to see here on my computer. That brings me back to the Star Wars preview out there today.

I watched it. IF the creative team wanted eyeballs on advertisement, they won. I had to see it. I was compelled by my childhood and driven by my devotion to the preview.

We got a few seconds of film, tied together with the music we know and love. Those few seconds spawned no fewer than a dozen shot by shot breakdowns that popped up on my news feeds. Screen captures, questions of symbology involved, cursing, begging and threats of nut kicking for failure. It’s not even dinner time yet – wait until the shoppers get home. True, there were no plot critical elements or ‘best moments’ from this film that were given away here. There was nothing beyond a handful of images here FOR A MOVIE THAT IS AT LEAST A YEAR AWAY. We’re not into December 2014 yet this ad is for a film due to release in December 2015 (IF everything stays on schedule and doesn’t end up getting pushed back like Jupiter Ascending – you know the one that was supposed to be out this past July?). A year away and we’re getting shot by shot take-downs form a few seconds of film?

I am not excited by this. I’m really not sure I’ll remain that interested. Star Wars is firmly planted in my childhood and was one of the formative influences of my life. This ad was more depressing than exciting to me. I can’t ignore it, but it’s difficult to care. I won’t see this film on opening day and have my doubts that I’ll even see it in the theater. The real choice maker on that one will be my daughter. IF she wants to see it in the theater, we’ll go. If we go to the theater, we might arrive in time for the ads to start and hope they run shorter than a half an hour. We might get seats and go for popcorn while the previews run.

Today was the day. I don’t like previews anymore.

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