Jennifer Garner’s new movie Miracles From Heaven will be bad. It won’t be bad because it’s a Christian movie, but because it’s the particular form of bad Christian movie where perfectly good people face life threatening obstacles for apparently no reason. It’s insipid at best, and at worst filled with a slight hint of a repugnant “But bad things shouldn’t happen to me because I’m Christian/ rich/ pretty/ a good person” elitism. These movies fail because they’re required to have a happy ending, and therefore any amount of peril the characters are put in seems melodramatic. But I’m not interested in talking about how bad of a movie Miracles From Heaven will be. I want to talk about how bad the trailer for this movie is right now.
Yeah, man, that’s a bad trailer.
Which is mostly not the trailers fault. When the dialogue is that clunky, when the characters are that two dimensional, when even the ending of the movie is that deeply telegraphed, you can’t fault the trailer editors for not being able to create a better looking movie. You know what you can’t fault them for?
Hey, guy? That’s the entire movie.
Literally the only thing that is at all in question is how the miracle actually happened. Did Jen’s church start praying for their “baby girl”? Did Queen Latifah show Jen the way back to Jesus thus healing her daughter? Nope, she fell out of a tree? Cool. Cool, cool, cool.
And I’m not trying to pick on the Christian genre itself. There are plenty of other movies that are bland and predictable and formulaic. It would be like the girl not getting the guy at the end of a romantic comedy. Or not finding out what the ghost is pissed about at the end of a horror movie. We know the ending, the story is in the details. But that’s why you don’t say “You’re telling me that this house is haunted by the spirit of a dead Japanese girl whose murder was made to look like a suicide, and she now is seeking vengeance on anyone who enters the building?” in the fucking trailer.
These are simple rules, guys. You’ll get terrible movies that you need to cut a trailer for. But your work is supposed to surpass, if not at least meet, the quality of the original. Making a trailer that is actually significantly worse than the bad movie it’s based on might be a notable feat, but not one you should aspire to.