Hit Hard, Not Fast

Yesterday, a filmmaker colleague, Gary King, posted two trailers for a new video game and asked which one people preferred. Before I had even seen his post, I had seen the same trailer, which is quickly going around Twitter and truly is a sight to behold (even more so if you are a Zombie fan as I am). Watch both versions and then read on to see my thoughts and then share your own.

Dead Island: Official Trailer

Dead Island: Recut Trailer

I had seen the real one the other day, and I loved it. This is the first I am seeing the second version, which I absolutely cannot stand (hate would be too strong a word). It cheats you of all the things the real one works so well at building.

The real one really hits several emotional points and works to surprise you as you watch it. Not until you see most of the ugliness and violence do you even realize that this little girl, the one that the man has to throw out the window in an attempt to save his own life, is his daughter, which puts a whole new understanding on what you have already seen. What father could do that so easily? What viewer could miss that?

As the real one starts, you almost feel like you are watching the her life flash before her eyes, which puts you in her perspective as well, giving you someone to root for and immediately connect with in a way the second one lacks. Intercutting has been around since the dawn of feature filmmaking and has persisted due to the nature of how it creates a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. A+B≠AB but rather A+B=C, something new. I think the second version really shows you how intercutting leads to that new “C,” an emotional impact. There is something special in the moment where reverse time and forward time meet, at the moment where the father gives his daughter to the zombies while also trying to save her from them; it is highlighted and pointed, and is honestly the perfect place for an ad to throw in the name of the branded product, while all our hearts are reaching out to this family, and while we are coming to the full realization of the arc of the scene. I mean, hell, doesn’t that make you want to go out and shoot some effing zombies right now?! I sure do.

But the beauty of the second, literal, version is that had I not seen it, I wouldn’t have expressed what drew me in to the real version in the first place. I would have seen and felt, but not analyzed, and for that, the second one has a value of its own.

What do you think?