In honor of tonight's Oscars ceremony, I present to you a small advertisement that sticks out in my mind....
Now, without any prior knowledge of this 'film', or having not yet seen it, the advertisement makes it (BLATANTLY) obvious that this will be a landmark achievement in cinema; it will sweep every Oscar category, and Kingdom of Heaven will be forever the answer to the question of 'What is the greatest movie of all time?'
If I may inject a hint of subjectivity at this point, the advertisement was a ruse. Kingdom of Heaven is not the best movie of all movies created...ever.
But it is, at least, very interesting to take a look at what's going on in the trailer/advertisement.
On its surface level, this trailer takes care of everything. It makes the viewer feel love, pain, serenity, reflection, enthusiasm, Orlando Bloom! It creates a sense of adventure, excitement; this movie will be a thrill ride that stops only to search the most philosophical of life's questions in the beauty of the images and landscapes captured on film. This film's trailer is essentially conditioning movie-goers to believe this movie will BE all of those things. If the conditioned response is to feel a completely fulfilled emotionally, then what better way to accomplish this than by stimulating all of them in a short two minutes.
I know it's the basic idea of advertising, but there's something else going on in this ad. As much as it is playing to certain emotions, the designers of this trailer are applying simple mathematics to condition film viewers.
Let me explain (I promise this won't take long)...
Ridley Scott directed this movie. He's been around the business for a while and made quite a few pictures. However, one that stands out, as it won a ton of critics' awards, is Gladiator. Gladiator was an epic movie about swordplay, battles, and folks in sandals. Therefore, Ridley Scott is now associated with films containing swordplay, battles and folks in sandals. We've been conditioned by his success to believe this.
Thus and so, the ad executives behind the creation of this trailer use this stimulus to their advantage. Ridley Scott = epic movie genius. Kingdom of Heaven = epic movie. Ridley Scott + Kingdom of Heaven = epic movie that is genius. Now that the pieces are together, the trailer wishes you to believe that your response to this trailer will be a need to see it, enjoy it, and love it - provided you saw, enjoyed and loved Gladiator and Ridley Scott.
It's quite a long winded way of saying that I will always love this movie trailer because it made me think all of those things. It got me excited to see a movie that (clearly!) I was going to enjoy...despite Orlando Bloom's presence.
Unfortunately though, it was not the best movie ever made, leaving me cursing the creators of such a brilliant ad. They win again...they always do.