Day 15 – October 16th
So far on this site I’ve spoken a lot about deep personal and societal issues, technology and business news, and one-off subjects that I think need to be written about and shared. I’ve written about those topics because I feel like they represent my interests well, while still allowing me to have a unique point of view that can interest others. However, I’d be remiss to say that list covers the entire scope of my hobbies and interests. On a much lighter note, let’s talk about Netflix.
Netflix has launched a slew of original shows, movies, and standup specials over the course of the last half-decade. While there are some major busts (don’t watch Iron Fist or 13 Reasons Why – trust me), most everything that Netflix produces is gold. It started with House of Cards and the rest is history: Master of None, Narcos, Dave Chappelle’s special, Louis C.K. 2017, Love, Black Mirror, Orange is the new Black – these are my personal favorites in no particular order, with one missing: Stranger Things.
On October 13th, Netflix released the final trailer for Stranger Things 2 – the sequel to the incredibly popular series that dropped in 2016 – and man is it a humdinger. Check it out:
Don’t worry if you haven’t seen the first season, I’m not going to spoil that. I just wanted to highlight just how incredible the trailer actually is. I have a few different criteria that make up the patented ‘Lathia Framework’ for rating trailers. Let’s see how this trailer fares:
- The Story: The story of a trailer is all about selling me on the mood, the cast of characters, and most importantly, the plot of the film or series. The scenes need to tie together to create a logical sequence of events that take me through the first 3 acts of a traditional story arc: introduction, rising action, and climax. The edit of the trailer must hook me and make me care about the issues in this world. The balance between exposition and action scenes needs to walk a delicate line to make me both curious and excited. And this trailer delivers on most of those fronts. It reintroduced us to characters and town of Hawkins that we love, it put forth a struggle of a main character and tied it to the larger plot, and it also took the time to introduce new characters and situations that help distinguish it from the original. 4.5/5 – with a 0.5 deduction because I think it relied on the fact that it is a sequel and expected viewers to have prior knowledge of the franchise.
- The Score: Music is as important for a trailer as the actual content of the scenes it showcases. The score in this trailer is haunting. From the somber low notes that start the trailer, to the soft twinkles that pay homage to the Halloween aura seen in Hawkins, to the powerful organ that makes your skin crawl. I didn’t think they could utilize a musical score as well as they did with their first trailer when they used Michael Jackson’s Thriller, but I stand corrected. For both setting the tone of the trailer and just being so visceral – 5/5.
- The Reveal: The crescendo of the trailer. This is where the story crests and the music roars. The moment in the trailer that shows the viewer why they’ve been watching – the pinnacle of the payout. And the returns have to both be good but still continue to tease the audience. After all, the crescendo of a trailer is not the same as the crescendo of a story, where conflicts can start on their path of resolution and questions can start to be answered. Quite the opposite in fact. A good reveal in a trailer should raise more questions than it answers, while still giving the audience a little something to chew on. And when the chain on the lock rises and the door flings open to reveal an older and more determined eleven, my mind exploded with awesome thoughts and questions about her character’s progression – 5/5.
- The Spoilers: Nothing ruins a trailer more than revealing too much. What is the point to see a film when all the twists and turns of character and story progression are shown before hand? Superhero and comedy movies are the biggest perpetrators of this, often showing all of the badass scenes or the great one-liners before the movie is even out. This trailer is, again, great in this regard. While I have a general idea of the overall plot – Will has visions of a monster from the Upside Down because of his time there and Hawkins is once more visited by the paranormal – I have no idea about the specifics of the season. I can’t tell you what character does what when, because the trailer wisely doesn’t give me that information. For not being a complete spoilerfest – 5/5.
Now compare this with an infamously bad 3rd trailer for the 2015 film Batman V Superman:
I’m not even going to comment on how horrible that was – I’ll just let the YouTube comments on that video do it for me.
Reactions to trailers are great leading indicators to the success or failure of a show or movie. That is why I am so excited for this new season of Stranger Things. And who are we kidding – I’ll be back on October 29th, after binge watching it for 2 days straight with my review.