Blockbuster Films: How Much Info Is Too Much Info?
Bryn Debates Whether Or Not Films These Days Dish Out Too Much Information Before The Big Day
I will wholly admit, though I try to fight it, I am very much a slave to consumerism. We all have a little bit of this submissive nature inside of us. Yet when it comes to films, in particular of the comic-book genre, I find it undeniably difficult to not get excited, even over the most minute of details.
Take this year for instance, we find ourselves very much at the peak and prime of the summer blockbuster season. The newly released The Amazing Spiderman has called all life-forms of geekage and nerdery to adapt to sunlight once more and take a trip down to the cinema. Another that’s yet to come – and perhaps the most anticipated film of year for me at least – The Dark Knight Rises,will do nothing less than continue this trend.
Unfortunately, I see a massive problem here. Considering the size and scale of these gargantuan productions, it has become increasingly difficult to hold back on our knowledge of a film until we see the final product. What I mean by this, is that due to the nature of coverage on these films, our preconceptions about any of them become warped. Trailers get released before filming has even finished, comic-books that inspire particular examples get re-published, and in short, we know far too much about something we haven’t even seen yet.
I can completely understand that studios are there to make money; the bigger the hype, the chances are, the bigger bucks they take in at the box-office – but at what cost? For instance, I for one find it infuriating when a trailer releases footage of a film that actually turns out to be quite key to the given scene. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed the film, I was a little frustrated at the early release of one of the trailers for Avengers Assemble. In particular, the final shot of Hulk soaring across the sky, as he tackles Iron Man mid-air, and lands him safely on the ground. I’m not going to lie, that part truly did excite when I first saw it. Yet when it came to the actual film, there was a point when I was just thinking ‘Hey that part hasn’t come yet…oh wait…here it comes’. Simply put, the sequence would have been a lot more epic if I simply didn’t see it coming. Luckily, the film turned out to be awesome anyway.
With this in mind though, there is still a flipside to the coin. Curiosity can be a powerful tool for making an audience get excited for a film. They appreciate it on a different level because they know some, but not all of the information. This information can be used in a variety of ways: to distract them from something else in the film (such as a potential plot twist), to let the audience know of its style and nature, or generally just to give it a sense of identity and uniqueness amongst a swarm of other productions.
For me though, it just doesn’t work. I try so very hard to stay away from anything about The Dark Knight Rises. The limit for me, are trailers or posters - anything else can wait until after I see the damn thing. But this seems increasingly difficult, given that the absolute colossus that is the Batman franchise insists on being at the front of everybody’s mind, and so conversation and gossip can spread like wildfire between fans.
The same can even work for other genres – most notably comedies. I ask you all, have you ever seen a trailer for a film, gone and seen it, only to realise that the best jokes are the ones that you’ve already heard? That’s happened far too many times, and comic-book films are no stranger to the idea. This problem is far from easy to solve however – after all, a lot of times when I find out some detail about a film, it’s often by accident.
I suppose it would be a safe thing to say, that marketing can be both deadly and beneficial to a film. Even a single image or casting announcement can split a fanbase cleanly down the middle. As I find it a relevant film to mention, another example comes to mind from The Dark Knight Rises. The casting of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman had angered a surprising amount of people. Comments like ‘She’s not sexy enough’ and ‘where the hell are her ears?’ are bizarre but frequent things I hear. I suggest that even though we know this, and recognise it as a huge part of the film, we simply reserve judgement until we see the film. Unfortunately, that’s what marketing does – it essentially forms your opinion for you, before you’ve even had a chance to find out what it’s about. Fear of a film’s quality is fine, you can feel as anxious as you like if you’re not a fan of the actress, but if your automatic response would be to criticise without evidence, I suggest you simply give her a chance. If that’s not enough, then think back to the casting announcement for Heath Ledger – we all know how that one turned out.
In a nutshell, I’d say it’s an unfortunate and vicious circle we find ourselves in. To actually get excited about a film, we need to get some info to wet our ‘entertainment appetites’. But it’s the same information on a film that can potentially ruin our enjoyment and result in nothing but disappointment. The key to it, is simply finding the balance – knowing enough about something so you’re keen, but not enough so that you already know what’s coming. Unfortunately, given the current stage of the summer season we are in, that discovery doesn’t look to be happening any time soon.
A man with such geek enthusiasm, his chest hair has formed the shape of the Bat-Symbol. No Joke.
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