; 400x60

click here to see our uploads list

Hint: click on contents for more

Festivale online magazine
A Reel Life film section
April-May, 2000

This Month's Issue

Spoiler Alert!

As the name implies, this Reel Life contains spoilers for the following films…

The Sixth Sense, Rush Hour, American Pie, Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane, Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back. If you haven't seen these films and don't want any info that may give away some important plot point, don't read it 'til you've seen them. My conscience is clear.

there's more, see the review index
For the latest stuff in Festivale, check out what's new
coming attractions: Australian release dates

Amazon.com logo
Search for:
UK's largest videos store
I am really getting sick of the way advertising movies is handled. We've replaced the manic hyperbole of fifties and sixties cinema with a newer, more devious, 'get them in at any cost, even if you have to wreck the movie' attitude. It doesn't seem to matter to these companies if the adverts for their product give a totally false impression of the film or, even worse, show you the ending.

I struggled to write a review of The Sixth Sense that would (hopefully) get you to see it without giving anything away. It's a damn fine film that works because of its subtlety. The adverts for it do a fair job of making it look like an action flick. Oh, they don't show you anything that's not in the film, they just take a lot of scenes where something appears to be happening and cut them together very quickly. It's the same technique that was used for the opening credits of Space 1999. At three cuts a second, people turning to look at one another or putting down their coffee cups looks rather exciting, even if it's a yawn-fest.

One of the great things about Sixth Sense is its ambiguity. It's not until a good way into the film that you can be one-hundred percent sure the ghosts aren't all in the kid's imagination. There are clues early on, but if you went in to see this film without any foreknowledge, it'd be easy to think that the kid just has some mental/emotional problems and that's it. The commercials show the bloody ghosts.

Which leads to the second part of my beef, where they show you everything the film has to offer. Star Wars Episode 1 was a classic example. In the main advertising campaign for that film, you got to see a clip from every single one of its major sequences. It wasn't as though these clips were a little part of the overall picture, the sequences were from important points. There were no surprises left to enjoy.

They were the equivalent of having an ad for normal Empire Strikes Back with a shot of Darth Vader going "No, I am your -" and cutting away. As soon as anyone with a brain gets to the bit where Luke and Darth do the whole 'you killed my Dad thing' they know what's coming. The adverts for The Faculty and Ransom got it right. Show the audience some cool moments from the film that, though it may appear otherwise, don't actually spoil some of the shocks and surprises. The same thing was done with American Pie. Though the payoff for Alysson Hannigan's running gag was in the TV commercial, there's a much bigger and funnier punch line that follows it.

Which leads me to the adverts where they show you the end… The ad for the Jackie Chan film, Rush Hour, features Jackie at one point holding on to the interior superstructure of an enormous building. He screams that he can't hold on for much longer, they have a few more cuts then they show him sliding off the end of a red banner held by Chris Tucker. More random shots and Jackie is shown letting go and heading for a big red banner. This is from the last action sequence in the film. If you've any sort of short term memory, you're sitting there watching the film and the moment Jackie gets left hanging, you think "Oh this is where he falls onto one of those banners that I can see hanging there."

The studios often used to show a bit of the ending in ads for films years ago. But it was part of the spectacle, not part of the plot. You didn't see the wicked witch melting and they never showed you Rosebud being… no, I could never do that one, even with spoiler space.

So now for all you advertisers out there putting together the shorts for the upcoming crop - a checklist
1. Make sure the ad is appropriate for the film. I could make Pretty Woman look like a low budget action film without too much trouble, but it wouldn't be right for the subject matter.
2. If the butler did it, don't show him sneaking up on someone with a knife in the advert.
3. Don't show the damn ending.
All we're asking for is a little respect for us as filmgoers. We're a much more sophisticated bunch these days. I'm off to watch an Italian cowboy film from the 70s.


(Danny can often be found searching through his local video library for some little known or forgotten cinematic gem to enrich and enliven his day. Failing that he'll take anything that has fart jokes and gratuitous nudity.)

Bookmark and Share

Like us on facebook

A Reel Life, the Festivale film sectionMovie Reviews IndexClick here to go to our links to movie sitesContact us at Festivale

Festivale Online Magazine
Celebrate everything!

ISSN 1328-8008
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
disclaimers | contact the editor | Festivale revision history

: Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia : copyright © Festivale 2000 All rights reserved
Filed: Apr-2000 : Last updated: 15-Oct-2001 : Last tested: 15-Oct-2001: Last compiled: 08-Aug-2014
Entire site refreshed: Dec 2008-Feb 2009 | Site URL transferred: Jan 2005 (previously www.festivale.webcentral.com.au)

Report a bug

Last monthContents of current issueIndex of movie reviewsComing movie attractionsNext month's A Reel Life