…specifically, when it comes to a trailer of a film:
Set to be released later this year, The Hunt clearly owes a great deal to Richard Connell’s 1924 short story The Most Dangerous Game. It is my opinion Mr. Connell’s work is one of the most adapted stories ever.
The original story involved a hunter who falls overboard while in the Amazon, swims to an island, and there finds a palatial estate run by two Russians. One is mute and the other chillingly tells our protagonist he will be released into the wilds and hunted down.
The story was a big success and in 1932 RKO pictures released the first adaptation of the story in a movie by the same name. The film was produced by the same people behind the original King Kong and, if you look close enough, you’ll see that in some of the jungle scenes of The Most Dangerous Game (the film), are identical to those used in King Kong!
Since that first film, and as I mentioned above, there have been innumerable adaptations of this general story, where a seemingly powerless person(s) are hunted by people with weapons and they turn the tide in time…
These are but two examples (and fairly recent ones) of the use of The Most Dangerous Game plot. Essentially, any story you see which involves people hunting others for sport, you’re dealing with a story inspired by Richard Connell’s famous short story.
The point of this entry, however, is not to present the history of this particular story but rather point out something that is very bothersome: A movie trailer giving away an entire film’s story.
I mean, come on…!
Why bother going to see this movie as almost everything seems to have been spoiled in the above trailer? We learn who the bad guys are, what they’re up to, who the protagonist is, and we even see that the two have a confrontation in her mansion toward the end. Along the way we also learn about how a few of the “prey” get killed and…
Why do movie studios insist on giving everything away? Can they not make a trailer that leaves a few surprises?
Which reminds me of the trailer that most egregiously, IMHO, gave away everything: The original trailer for Terminator 2. Here it is:
I mean… wow. Watching this trailer today I’m still furious about how much was given away of the story.
Remember: The first Terminator had Arnold Schwarzenneger play the bad guy and, if you were to watch that film and Terminator 2 one after the other (and without any prior knowledge of what goes on in them), director James Cameron does a masterful job of keeping the fact that Arnold’s Terminator in the second film is “good”. In fact, Cameron made it appear he was just as bad this time around as the first film, hunting his “prey” (this time John Connor) while, simultaneously, a mysterious other individual, who looked an awful lot like Michael Biehn’s Kyle Reese from the first film, was also tracking the boy down.
This all leads to a point in the film where, in a mall, the young John Connor is trapped between Arnold’s Terminator and the mysterious Robert Patrick character. We figure Arnold’s Terminator would try to kill Connor and then…
Arnold’s Terminator turns out to be the good guy this time around!
It would have made for a terrific twist to audiences back in 1991… except that damn trailer gave it all away.
I recently watched, for the first time in years, Terminator 2 and was astonished by just how much effort James Cameron put into making that twist work.
Too bad the studios decided to chuck the movie’s biggest surprise by revealing it in the trailer.