So, recently, the trailer for The Smurfs hit. You might remember seeing it. The people above certainly do. It starts with serious narration, making it clear that it’s a big deal. Landmarks are swept with a wave of energy and suddenly turn a glowing blue, as if radioactive, the camera dramatically zooms into the ground and suddenly… oh, wait, it’s not an action movie! It’s a kid’s trailer! For little blue shirtless weirdos who live in mushrooms and were the subject of the single best monologue in Donnie Darko!
We think this might actually be a first. For years, the cliche was making a stupid action movie seem profound, thoughtful, and serious, complete with Don LaFontaine narrating the trailer and sweeping, bombastic music. And now children’s movies have turned satirizing the cliche INTO a cliche. This is a new low, even for Hollywood. They’ve actually managed to turn even advertising their movies into an unbearable cliche fest.
Part of this is, of course, most children’s movies have the standards and quality we usually get from, say, Seltzer and Friedberg, those impresarios behind movies like Meet The Spartans. There’s no nice way to say this: most of what we amuse our kids with is awful, awful crap. For every Pixar release, there are a dozen terrible movies that make us long for the days when Disney had a live-action unit and the willingness to use it.
But another part is, well, sheer laziness. Hollywood is convinced kids don’t care if their entertainment is derivative and stupid, so why should the marketing be any different? It doesn’t help if the movie is, in fact, derivative and stupid, but that’s really another editorial entirely.
G-Force is a good example. Having recently seen it at the behest of my girlfriend (hey, she sat through Contempt with me, I can watch a movie about talking guinea pigs), it’s actually a pretty good movie. Nothing earth-shaking, but it underplays its concept and is pretty funny along the way. In short, it’s nothing like the storm of cliches the trailer makes it look like, and I’m pretty sure part of the reason the movie ultimately bombed was because the marketing made it look like just another godawful children’s movie.
But even if that weren’t the case, for God’s sake people, it’s past time to find a new gag. Let the Don LaFontaine impersonation rest for a while, stop using stupid graphics, and maybe, just for a change of pace, tell us about the movie and what makes it unique. Why should we go see this movie, beyond it being licensed from a property that nobody in the target age group actually cares about?
Oh, right, because there is no reason to see the movie, since you put no effort into it. OK then, carry on.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments!