On Tuesday, President Trump gave Kim Jong Un a very special present: a personalized movie trailer starring—you guessed it—Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump. Apparently, all you need to practice international diplomacy in the Trump era is a free trial of Final Cut Pro X and zero qualms about rebranding a merciless dictator as an action hero.
When I first heard about this four-minute-long visual circle jerk, I was like, “I want to die, I long for the sweet release of death, nuclear annihilation now pls,” etc. But then when I realized that Dennis Rodman might make a brief cameo and finally explain cryptocurrency to me (spoiler alert: he doesn’t) I was like, fine, I guess I’ll stop watching the A Star Is Born trailer on repeat and suffer through some half-assed propaganda. On a scale from one to A Star Is Born, I’d give this trailer a zero: no Lady Gaga, would not recommend. But in terms of movie trailers consisting almost entirely of stock photos of shiny cities and trains, doubtlessly put together at the last possible minute on the whim of an impulsive idiot, I would still give this trailer a zero because it was really poorly written and also bad.
The trailer, a “Destiny Pictures Production,” begins with a brief overview of Earth: “Seven billion people inhabit planet Earth. Of those alive today, only a small number will leave a lasting impact. And only the very few will make decisions or take actions that renew their homeland and change the course of history.” But what is history? “History may appear to repeat itself for generations, cycles that never seem to end.” But what about the light of prosperity? “The light of prosperity and innovation has burned bright for most of the world.” But what does any of this have to do with footage of Times Square, the Taj Mahal, and a woman wearing VR goggles? The video does not say.
After a 30-second or so history of the world according to stock photos, the trailer begins slipping in images of Trump and Jong Un. The general concept of this “movie,” which also happens to be our life-or-death reality, is that these two men have the power to disrupt a cycle of war and violence and engineer peace. Or in the words of the screenwriting school dropout who scripted this fiasco, “There comes a time when only a few are called upon to make a difference. But the question is, what difference will the few make?…Out of the darkness can come the light.” So far I’m getting a Harry Potter vibe except, in this case, The Chosen One is a 71-year-old former reality TV host and his destiny seems to be putting up a ton of power lines. It’s a classic tale of good versus evil, where evil is illustrated through hardship and war, and good is symbolized by incredible phone service.
The ambitious trailer goes on to tackle relations between North and South Korea, marketing their reconciliation as an upcoming “sequel.” Then we’re back to pictures of Trump, this time shown side by side with a shot of Kim Jong Un. Against a pounding score, the narrator exhorts these two leaders to move towards their shared “destiny”: shot of Earth, clip of a hand feeding a drop of water to a seedling, bridge, airplane, ships, lab, basketball dunk, Kim Jong Un.
“What will he choose? To show vision, and leadership?…or not?!” the narrator booms. To emphasize this turn, the trailer begins to sizzle and self-destruct. “There can only be two results: one of moving back”—abandoned bicycle, missile, miscellaneous warfare, old-timey movie countdown— “or one of moving forward”: missiles launching but IN REVERSE, happy construction cranes.
“A new world can begin today!” our budget Mr. Moviefone promises. Don’t believe him? Do these majestic white horses running on water convince you? No? How about some home video footage of kids playing bumper cars?
Together, the trailer seems to be saying, we can build a future where everyone uses Apple Pay to get drone deliveries and has access to unlimited CAT scans. If nothing else, I appreciate that this trailer sinks to my level of financial literacy, where economic prosperity is conveyed through a single image of a stock chart and the ability to order things online. At a certain point the trailer basically restarts, hammering its message with a whole new set of pictures. Kim Jong Un is once again urged to consider the summit as his opportunity to change the course of history. “On this day, in this time, at this moment, the world will be watching…Will this leader choose to advance his country and be part of a new world? Be the hero of his people?”
“Will he shake the hand of peace?” the narrator continues over video of Donald Trump waving his hand in the air. “Which path will be chosen?”
Awesome movie trailer, you were probably thinking, but who were those nice, handsome, thin and perfect co-stars? “Featuring President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un,” the trailer concludes, complete with pictures and a quote from each of them. “In a meeting to remake history—to shine in the sun. One moment, one choice, what if?” The words “the future remains to be written” appear on the screen and then fade to black.
In summation, yes, it is a great idea to present a home-made movie trailer at big important meetings. However, it would have been nice if this trailer featured more than two sound effects and didn’t just rephrase the same idea over and over again in order to meet a length requirement.
On the other hand, I did appreciate the fancy train and magic horse representation, and I can’t wait for Destiny Pictures to release the pee tape!