You read the film was announced, heard who was cast, read the phenomenal previews, saw the trailer and couldn’t wait for ‘your’ film to drop. You’re there first day of release in your seat, popcorn in hand, and two hours later you want to grab the remaining corn kernels, hunt down the director and force them up his/her nostrils to the point it tickles their brain until they apologise for that abomination you just wasted your life on. We’ve all been there. We’ve all bought into the hype of a movie. Why do we do this, and should we continue to buy into Hollywood’s hype machine?
Getting press for your latest upcoming film is something of a no-brainer; publicity’s needed to bring in the customers after all. And nowadays the companies behind your favourite products have capacity to seep into every crevice of your life and expose you to “what’s to come”. But widespread awareness and hype does not a great film make.
Indeed, the same is true for most multimedia, with video games pulling in enormous sales on a yearly basis, especially thanks to blockbuster franchises such as Mass Effect and Dragon Age. Both of which have famously fallen foul of having so much hype surrounding them that they could never live up to expectations. Mass Effect 3 in particular brought in tens of thousands of disgruntled fans who bemoaned the ending of their cherished franchise: not because it was over, but because of how poor it was. Imagine that cardboard box at the end of Se7en didn’t contain a head, but a tube of Pringles that magically carried Freeman, Pitt and Spacey to the moon for a party with Bugs Bunny – that’s how misjudged and down-right weird it was for many. In light of this, the people behind the franchise went as far as amending the ending to suit the public’s demands 4 months post-release. A movie however, is an entirely different beast.
One of the most hyped films of 2012 has without doubt been Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus: the long in development spiritual predecessor to 1979’s Alien (I know – it’s aged fantastically for a 30+ year old movie, as has Sigorney Weaver). Every magazine, website and newspaper boy was extolling how great this film was going to be. It was like knowing about the second coming of Christ in some circles. Then when the reviews came out… they were mixed; although it scored a respectable 7/10 with critics and audiences alike, it fell short of many people’s expectations. This was pegged as a “Film of the Year” contender, but it’s clearly not going to get that title any time soon. I mean, sure, we all liked Michael Fassbender acting as an android with scary realism, and liked learning a little about the mythology of the Alien franchise, but the writing sure was haphazard in places; see HISHE‘s YouTube clip below for a brilliant send up. I’d sure like a rewrite on that ending, as opposed to the deliberate sequel-bating that’s so rife right now… but I think I’ll save that
rant Opinion article for another day.
Looking for another prime example? How about Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace? Possibly one of the most eagerly-anticipated films ever considering people have been asking “I wonder what happened before Part IV” since it aired in 1977. As I’m sure the majority of you have seen this film it goes without saying that it didn’t live up to the hype… damn you Jar-Jar Binks. And STILL, after we were all bitten by this Ebola-carrying abomination, we still went back again for Episode II, and AGAIN for Episode III. Why? Because we were all promised “this one’s guaranteed to be better” by every publication under the sun. Don’t even get me started on Indy vs. Aliens (commonly called Indiana Jones IV)…
So should we believe the hype, considering how cruelly we’ve been misled by the press in the past? Or do we look to the examples of where the hype was realised, as with Avengers Assemble and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? Do we think that Django Unchained, The Hobbit et al., are going to live up to our expectations? Though I must admit, the thought of stretching The Hobbit (a single book) into THREE films probably damages the hype for me. Personally, I think “hype” is great for public awareness of a movie, but shouldn’t be used to gauge quality. We all like to get excited about the latest installment in our favourite franchise / film from our favourite director, but manage your expectations. My advice? Watch a trailer and see the film for yourself… or let The Phage tell you what to think… then watch it.
What do you guys think: is the hype surrounding these massive potential blockbusters merited? Or would you rather go in to a movie blind and be totally surprised by what you see – a bit like walking blind into a dark-room orgy. Sure, it might be fun… but you could come out wishing you were forcing popcorn kernels up your nose, as opposed to forcing **** in your ****, whilst your **** ****s. And no-one likes that.