It has been really interesting to see the reaction to the new Ghostbusters movie coming out soon, particularly in regards to the trailer. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and it is okay to think a movie should never have even been made, but passing judgment on a movie based on the trailer really is not fair. A trailer does not actually tell us what the movie as a whole is going to be. It can give us glimpses, but really all a trailer does is tell us what the studio thinks we want to see. There are things that we can figure out from a trailer, but in the end unless you watch the movie you cannot really make your own judgment call. At the same time there are certain things that a trailer can tell us.
Cast and Crew
This might seem like an obvious thing, but these details can make the difference between wanting to see a movie or not. Certain actors or directors can be that little extra nudge in one direction or another. When you see that a movie is directed by Tim Burton, Michael Bay, Quentin Tarantino, etc. then you know exactly what you are in for in a movie. Then there are movies with actors that we love and have watched everything by that person or it is an actor we cannot stand. It gives us at least a bit more information to help us decide whether we want to see the movie at all.
Now the trailer does not show everything that happens, but it usually tries to show the more impressive scenes, which includes the special effects. There are definitely some movies that depending on the visuals I might decide that it is worth while to see it in theaters. Jupiter Ascending is a terrible movie, but the trailers were visually stunning, which is what drew me in to go see the movie. Now the movie was not so bad it was good, but the visually stunning part definitely held up. Then there was the Hulk movie with Eric Bana and the trailers made the special effects look horrible so I have never seen that movie and from what I have heard from others I am not disappointed.
Now the most obvious thing is that the trailer gives you the basic story being told. You can tell who is the main character and a general idea of the journey that they are going on. At the same time trailers can be misleading so while there are definitely a lot of elements that they get right there are still some interesting times where the trailer can be completely misleading either on purpose or accidentally. Movies such as Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness are playing up misdirection to try and avoid audiences from seeing the truth. Then there are movies like Hercules with Dwayne Johnson where the movie shows that it is the tales about the character Hercules, but all of the scenes that are shown in the trailer have nothing to do with what actually occurs in the movie.
General Movie Information
Now the most important piece of information that you get from a trailer is the movie title and release date. The entire purpose of a trailer is advertising for when a movie is supposed to get released. It is trying to give you some basic information so that people show up to the movie theater and if it gets people to show up for opening weekend more power to it. The thing is until you actually see the movie you cannot say whether it is good or bad you can only say what you think it will be.