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Silence And 'Godzilla'

If you've spent much time in movie theaters recently, particularly if you've watched any blockbusters, you've probably sat through three or four or eight trailers that blur into a noisy, explode-y, car-flippy, bombastic 16- or 17-minute assault.

Consider, for instance, the trailer for Pacific Rim. It gets louder and louder until, if you were in a multiplex and listening to it in theater sound, it would create that vague feeling when it ends that your ears are almost ringing. It's trying to get attention with its, for lack of a better word, bigness -- big sound, big monsters, big music, big effects.

But when you see seven or eight of these in a row, you oddly stop noticing them. The one with Tom Cruise mixes with the one with Shailene Woodley and the one with Aaron Eckhardt, and what was that one with the plane flying into the building?

It's interesting to wonder whether the latest Godzilla trailer is a response to how overly aggressive trailers have gotten and how much spectacle has begun to bleed into spectacle until everybody is just zoned out.

This one doesn't necessarily suggest a movie with any more inventiveness than the rest of the similar movies you have seen and will see — there are disasters, people are screaming, good men are peering at screens trying to figure out how to head off catastrophe, the government is hiding something, wives are in jeopardy ... it makes itself look like your basic summer blockbuster in many ways.

But it seems to anticipate being surrounded by other incredibly loud trailers for summer blockbusters, and so reverts over and over to a surprising strategy: Silence. Perhaps "shhhhhh" is the new "boom."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.

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