Film: Trailer Trash

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The Independent Culture
FOR ALL its frantic hard-sell, the trailer works on a basic head- in-the-sand principle. Rehash the film's most explosive sequences, bung in a few tear-jerking moments, but whatever you do, don't even hint at the existence of rival movies. Least of all the big boys. It's a plucky strategy, but apparently redundant given the only competition anyone's worried about this year: just ignore The Phantom Menace and the nasty bully will go away.

Only the new Austin Powers film dares to look over the parapet. And, if not fight back, then at the very least chummy along gamely with George Lucas's monster in its current "teaser" for The Spy Who Shagged Me (opening two weeks after The Phantom Menace).

The camera pans down from an empty starscape (very Star Wars, that) on to a hulking spaceship, and zooms in on the back of a throne-like chair. The gravelly voice-over reinforces the Star Wars idiom: battles won, empires destroyed, and an ongoing saga. The throne spins round to reveal Dr Evil, Austin Powers' nemesis from his first outing. "Expecting someone else?" he cackles. Cue "fab" soundtrack and Austin and "chicks" frugging in groovy split-screen.

"If you see only one movie in 1999," advises the voice-over, "see Star Wars. But if you see two, see Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me."