Thursday, September 24, 2009

HALO: We Are ODST - Best Trailer Ever?

A testament to the fact that Zombie and our other roommate and I are all mid-twenties year old males, there are no fewer than four working video game systems in our apartment. Last weekend, we watched the trailer for the new installment in the HALO franchise, ODST. I made my roommate replay it three times, because I couldn't get over how good it was. If you haven't seen it yet, check out the trailer:


Making trailers has become an art form unto itself. We all know how a great trailer can make or break a movie, even before it opens. FUNNY PEOPLE led a lot of people to think they were seeing a typical Judd Apatow comedy. What they got was a more serious film with funny elements. Word of mouth from the disappointed raunchy comedy fans turned a lot of potential viewers away. On the other hand, there are some trailers that ensure audiences right away and show them exactly what they're hoping to see. There's no mistake with a trailer for something like INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS that you're going to see a bloody movie about Jewish soldiers slaughtering Nazis.

In fact, trailers have become such an integral part of film marketing these days that it's not unheard of for writers to be asked to write partly for the trailer. When I was in school (and I've seen this in books I've read since), I remember being told that people who write action specs should have a couple obvious trailer beats in their script. There are always a few lines of witty dialogue right before someone gets blown up or a really awesome mid-air battle that helps sell the movie to the target audience just as much as the idea itself does. Hell, I've probably come up with no fewer than three trailers for my Roman-army spec.

The Halo ODST trailer blew me away. It is - for all intents and purposes - wordless. It has beautiful music. It perfectly conveys a world and protagonist. And, most importantly, it's clear what you'll be getting out of it. If this were for a movie and not a video game, I would have already bought my midnight showing tickets.

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