Monday, 6 January 2014

Expectation vs Reality

Hype has become a very normal part of our movie watching experience. For most people, there will be at least one movie a year that they look forward to with more excitement than any other, and this has only increased in these times of social media. We are bombarded with trailers, teaser trailers, teasers for teaser trailers and more TV spots than we can possibly hope to avoid. But what can we learn from these expectations once the event has passed - do the marketing guys get the right people excited?

Marketing has become a very complicated science but it's aim remains simple - generate word of mouth. It doesn't matter whether that word of mouth is good or bad, it's about getting the name of the film known. More often than not, people will just go see a film because they recognise the title, closely followed by if they recognise a cast member.

Even film buffs don't avoid the traps - movie magazines these days are as much to "blame" as anyone else. Why else would they loudly trumpet the latest Transformers movie than at best to sell magazines, at worst because they've been paid to promote it. Sadly movie previews now are devoid of much editorial wisdom, and while you can argue that you should assume everything is good until it comes out, hearing a respected film journalist saying they're pumped about being on set of Scary Movie 26 is somewhat disheartening.

Regardless, we do all have our own minds, so we should still bare the majority of the responsibility for what we go and watch. This year, I've decided to pre-judge all the films I want to see in 2014 based on my current level of excitement from trailers and previews, then at the end of year, I'll compare my actual ratings and see how they line up.

I won't give away my whole list as I don't want to be part of the problem by influencing peoples opinions (I realise the irony in being a movie blogger) but there are some interesting patterns:
I've pre-rated 3 movies that I really want to see as 2 out of 5. It must have looked odd to other people, but I tried questioning myself to see why I would want to see a movie that I expected to be bad. A few answers - "Schwarzenegger", "I hope it'll be better but have low expectations", and "I think Zac Efron could be funny".  I like big dumb loud movies. I like them very much and I am slightly giddy even in the face of people telling me they will not be very good.  The director plays more of a part in my expectations than I thought.

I'm also going to compare my results against a few review sites to see what the general consensus was, just to check I'm not completely against normal opinion (I'm generally not).

Given 2015 is looking insane in terms of big movie releases - Avengers, Bond, Terminator, Star Wars to name just a few - I was pleasantly surprised that 2014 is shaping up to be just as tasty. Maybe take a look for yourself and see if there's more to be excited about than you thought too...

by Marc Burrage