Guest Editorial: The Sorry, Cynical State of Movie Fandom Today
Editor's Note About This Editorial: This is a must read discussion by longtime friend of the site Patrick Campbell (@pj_campbell). It's time to discuss an issue that has been getting worse and worse. Everything mentioned in this editorial is something that I've observed as well, but I've had trouble figuring out how to voice my concerns without sounding too meddlesome. It's hard to speak out about a community when you're a part of that community, but thankfully others have started expressing their honest feelings. What began as a couple of paragraphs on Facebook has turned into a full-fledged editorial. It needed to be said.
Something's rotten in the state of movie fandom, and it's something that has become increasingly clear over the past few weeks. In the last three years that I've been blogging about film, writing movie reviews, and interacting with thousands of film buffs across the internet on various forums and websites, and with increasing frustration, the problem of cynicism, to the point of anger and downright bile and hate, has continued to rear its ugly head over the most trivial of things. It was a trend that I began to really notice around 2008, before I had begun blogging, when word about Disney acquiring Marvel began to surface, and fans on both sides began to tear the idea of the merger apart. When many started deeming Disney too kid friendly, and the death of Marvel and its characters so early on before the two had even come together, it was in that time that I began to realize that many were well past giving things a chance. Snark, cynicism, and hate flowed freely before we were able to see what the two could do once they came together. These aren't small critical analysis; these are fans that are bent on tearing down films before or during production, before they've seen anything from it.
We're in bad way, everyone, and it's only getting worse. This last week, two teaser trailers for two of the most highly anticipated films of 2015 dropped: Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jurassic World. While many reveled and lit up at the sight of Isla Nublar and a galaxy far, far away, others were there to swiftly kick the feet out from under those excited for the film. This wasn't casual banter or small debates many times, but people flat out destroying the films, off two minutes of footage from one, and eighty eight seconds of footage from the other, calling many of the biggest moments in the trailer impractical, farfetched, stupid, and deeming the projects DOA. The stuff people complain about in these teaser trailers is crazy, especially when we should be excited about the idea of returning to worlds of movies we grew up on. There's something to be said about the feeling of fun and nostalgia returning to these franchises again, with such immense talent, after what many would deem fairly shoddy sequels and prequels in both respective series. Some are picking apart these films so heavily already that they're destined to hate them by the time they're even released.
It's sad that something as small as a badass looking new Lightsaber design with a hilt, out of context, or that the final shot of the Jurassic World trailer with raptors running next to Chris Pratt on a motorcycle can really piss people off. The fact is, we don't know the context of any of this, and context is key to everything. Director Colin Trevorrow, who is helming Jurassic World even had to come out and tell people to wait and see the movie, because the scene makes sense in the film. But the truth is, no director should have to come out and say any of this. We, as the audience, should be willing to give the director and the team behind the camera the benefit of the doubt to bring these films to life. But instead, many are ready to turn on these projects before they've entered production, which was the case of Star Wars: The Force Awakens when J.J. Abrams took the director's seat, and many gave him the dubious nickname Jar Jar Abrams. This is the kind of stuff that is becoming toxic to film going, and especially the film community at large, because instead of being excited about the idea of returning to these properties, or even getting our first look at existing properties that haven't been on film, many on the internet exert dominance over the conversations, trying to kill people's enthusiasm for the film before we've really gotten a chance to see it.
Marvel Studios has been dealing with this stuff first hand over the last year after what happened to their film Ant-Man, as Edgar Wright stepped away from the production after a disagreement on the direction of the film with the studio. As a die hard fan of Wright, and as sad as I am he's no longer part of the film, I'm still excited to see what Peyton Reed can do with the film, and Marvel's track record so far has proven to be very strong, so it's safe to give them the benefit of the doubt. But at the same time, there are many that have already written the film's obituary, and they're really not willing to give the film a chance. Yes, Wright is an incredible director and has crafted some brilliant films, and his departure is bittersweet but when did we decide to turn our nose up to a project altogether and write it off completely before we've seen anything?
I'm just as guilty as being angry about a project, most recently when the new Fantastic Four began to ramp up, and it seemed the project was being done not for the sake of bringing a great adaptation of the characters to the screen, but more by Fox to try and keep the rights away from Marvel. Yes, the way the actors have talked about the film over the last few months hasn't quite instilled confidence, but at the same time, this is project was written by Simon Kinberg, who recently wrote the fantastic X-Men: Days of Future Past, and is directed by Josh Trank, who surprised many with Chronicle. Whatever work he has done has also clearly made Lucasfilm feel safe enough to entrust him with one of the Star Wars spin-off films they have in production, so while I may not be over moon for the production and what we've heard, I'm going to stay optimistic and keep an open mind for what's to come, and hope that the studio really manages to surprise us with this one.
So how did we end up in this snarky, sad, and frustrating state of film fandom that we're in now? I believe there are a few explanations, to this problem, and it's ones we really need to look into ourselves to try and fix. The first part may be the simplest, and many may deem ridiculous, but I believe many have lost the wide-eyed wonderment that it takes to love movies. The cynical nature seems to be coming from a loss of an inner child for many, and you can see it in many of these posts. Deeming things stupid, or even impractical or farfetched is something that shows that we're not willing to let our imagination run with what's happening. There seems to be an obsession with making things realistic in film, especially post Christopher Nolan's Batman series, but not all films need to play by that. Every movie has its own set of rules, and what may work in the film may not happen in real life, but that's the point. It's good to retain your childlike nature sometimes, and take films in that way.
Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park is one of the greatest movies of all time, and the sense of awe and wonder it presented us is hard to match. However, most of what happens in that film can't happen, but we accepted it at face value, something many seem unwilling to do with Jurassic World. The idea that opening the park and having attractions that show off these massive creatures, like the continually balked about aquatic dinosaur scene, is a commentary on ourselves and how we control wild animals, especially dangerous ones, and try to use them for our own entertainment. Add in the creation of a dinosaur to boost the park's attendance in a slump, we're now playing with themes of being god, keeping inline with the original. The kid in me jumped for joy at these ideas and seeing them on screen, but many seemed to have lost that sense of wonder and have grown cold and cynical, writing the film off as "just another blockbuster" being made purely to cash in on the Jurassic Park name, which is just sad.
Another part of this really comes from what happened to many with the prequels, and that anger is still lingering. They felt betrayed by what Lucas created with those films, and it seems that those wounds never healed for them. It's really disheartening to see the Star Wars fans who are already calling the film a failure because of a Lightsaber that looks like a broadsword, deeming it impractical, even though we don't know exactly how it fits into the film. Armchair directors and screenwriters are quick to attack it, but in the context of the film, it certainly will have its place and reason. If it doesn't work for you at that point, that's fine, but to complain about it upfront is crazy. It would be better to let J.J. and his crew try and show you what he has for us next December before we decide how stupid and impractical the new design is, just as we have to give Trevorrow's version of the now operational version of Isla Nublar a chance.
The ongoing idea that many of those on the internet know better than the filmmakers is troubling, and is really not healthy. It's hard to get upset about the fact that a filmmaker and his team didn't make the movie you wanted, even though that was never their intent, and yet it's a complaint that is used actively all the time. We have to take things at the fact value, and once the film is complete, if you still have issues, then by all means talk about it. Deeming things dead so early on is just an unhealthy act and one that is poisoning the film going community at large.
It has become near impossible to have a real conversation about a movie without being ripped into by those who passionately believe they're right about film, and that they know best. Whether you only decently liked a film, absolutely loved it, or hate it, there's a great discussion to be had. But we have to let these films speak for themselves in their entirety, instead of ripping things apart so early on, because it kills your enjoyment for any film if you spend that much time hating it early on. We also have to let both sides have a part in this conversation, not condemning each other instantly, but embracing opinions of those you may not agree with, as hard as it may be for you.
Movie watching for many of us is a sacred thing, and you can probably remember the film that really made you a cinephile. You can remember where you watched it, who with, and how it made you feel. Go back to that time, and embrace that sense of wonder and awe, because that's what we should be doing. We need to take each film on its own, talk about it, dissect it, and debate it. But lets not rip them apart, because we're taking away from the magic of what makes watching films so special. Instead of trying to let them speak, we condemn, spew vile, insult the filmmakers and those involved, and make decisions about these films before we've even seen them and it needs to stop.
Movies are about being taken to new worlds and places, away from reality, especially ones with gigantic dinosaurs, evil Sith lords, time traveling robots, and many of the other nostalgia based films that are on the way. Don't take things so seriously, and honestly, maybe remember what it was like to be a kid again and take it in on a purely nostalgic and childlike level. You might be surprised just how much you begin to enjoy yourself again. Follow Patrick Campbell on Twitter @pj_campbell.
Reader Feedback - 46 Comments
Did you notice everybody saying "Avengers" looked awesome? That's because it's a young franchise where a sequel makes perfect sense due to the nature of the material. There was a time people viewed sequels as crass commercial exploitation which denigrated the artistry of the original films. Presumably a 30+ year sequel with a geriatric cast and necessarily incoherent plot would be the ultimate manifestation of this cold financial calculation. Author here apparently does not even remember this. Critics of shlock sequelitis still exist, and are speaking. On the Internet. And even if they go to see the films, they may not enjoy being locked in the unending-franchise hell that the current fiscal landscape demands. "Terminator" was over in T2. Lucas "ended" his story in "Jedi." Now in 2014, there's absolutely no way these movies will not be sequeled, I understand this. But if franchise rape is inevitable, you have misplaced nerve suggesting that people lay back and enjoy it.
urrrborrr on Dec 5, 2014
Dear urrrborrr - some people wished that a franchise would never end.So i hope you are not speaking generally.If you hate franchises or sequels,it does not mean that people do not wish to return to some worlds.I could watch 100 sequels to Lord of the Rings,i would love to return every year to Middle Earth,for example.I cannot see where the problem is if there are sequels being made,as long as new original movies are also being made.
Paul3077 on Dec 5, 2014
On the subject of sequels if anybody hasn't seen this they should give it a watch. Travis Knight of Laika has an interesting opinion considering he is in the industry (30m 30s): http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/video/full-uncensored-animation-roundtable-752093
eurogibbon on Dec 5, 2014
i loved the article. So true,we really have to start enjoying each movie for what it is.... every movie has its own magic.We should stop with all this criticism,it is not helping anyone.We should be more thankful that we get to watch all these different movies,different genres.When we were children,we all loved movies much more than we love them today.Why? Let us enjoy movies once again. Why are some details so important,that we have to criticize the movies or the filmmakers?Why cant we just enjoy the magic of movies once again?
Paul3077 on Dec 5, 2014
I can't say "agreed" as much as i want to. your editorial is so true in every way. congrats to find the words to describe the troubling state of internet film nerdism.
filmtogo on Dec 5, 2014
I agree 100%, but this is not a new phenomenon. People has always been like this since the beginning of time. How many people were skeptical of Columbus, Marco Polo, Galileo (just to name a few Italians)? People laughed at Beethoven, rioted after they heard Stravinsky and burned books they didn't agree with. There will always be contrarians who are usually quickly shut up once the person they're skeptical about achieves success, or by history itself. The issue at hand is the internet, and how we're all allowed to voice our opinions in an unedited hot off the grill way. It's become fashionable and maybe accepted to diss others while hiding behind a clever name and avatar. It's all over the place, not just in film communities. How many racist remarks have we seen lately with the recent killings by police officers in the US (and black stormtroopers for that matter)? How many people hate on pop stars, TV actors and the Kardashians? It's always the negative people who are the loudest, and if people get on their bandwagon, that's when the negativity snowballs into a flash mob of hate and cynicism. Anyway, I'm writing my own editorial now, so I'll stop. Thankfully, most people here on Firstshowing are civilized!
TheOct8pus on Dec 5, 2014
I agree with some of this editorial, but I also think that the author is overlooking a lot of movies where people actually felt that childlike sense of whimsy and imagination. Guardians of the Galaxy was one of the most successful movies of this year, and it's filled to the brim with imagination. Even in the lead up to it, I did not hear many people booing it, saying it looked stupid. It seemed like everyone and their uncle was on board for GotG to blow them away. Sequels to beloved franchises are a different matter. I'm looking forward to the new Star Wars, but I don't really know about Jurassic World. Sure, it could be good, but any time an old franchise is resurrected, my knee-jerk reaction is "CASH GRAB." So many of these sequels and prequels are made for the brand recognition above all, and I think that is what sours people on them. Take a look at The Amazing Spider-man 2. At this point, it really seems like the Spider-man movies are just being made for money and to keep the rights from going to Marvel. Is that really the kind of filmmaking that we should get excited about? Terminator Genisys looks atrocious to me. I think it looks downright stupid. Does that make me one of the snarky cynics that this author is writing about? Just because I think this belated sequel to a beloved franchise doesn't look good? Obviously Patrick Campball is talking about more extreme cases, but a few of his blanket statements about fandom seem dismissive of people like me, who love movies but want to see good movies. And if a studio wants to try and bring back a franchise I love, I'd at least like to see them put some effort into it instead of just trying to get my dollars because I recognize the title.
Gill on Dec 5, 2014
So true about Guardians of The Galaxy. I think people were CURIOUS about it more than anything. They didn't have much to go on as far as dissing it. I for one was psyched to see how they were going to pull off Rocket Racoon. I guess people tend to diss things they OWN (or they think they own) or rather, things they're familiar with. Gotg was too weird and unknown for there to be many naysayers.
TheOct8pus on Dec 5, 2014
I think what he's trying to say is that maybe fans shouldn't be so quick to brand a film stupid or bad based on so little footage shown out of context of the film as a whole. That negative mindset will follow into the theater and cloud the entire film going experience so no matter what you see, you'll end up disliking it. It's ok for people to not like a trailer, (I too wasn't crazy about the Terminator trailer on first viewing) but I'm still going to go see the film wanting it to be great.
David Diaz on Dec 5, 2014
I definitely agree with the sentiment that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.
Gill on Dec 5, 2014
I disagree. Judge the book by its cover! Go right ahead! That's why the cover exists... to let you know what you are getting into once you crack that book open. As far as expectations go, keep them wherever you'd like, high or low. It's a personal choice. Cynicism towards the trailers for movies that take place in universes we've already seen time after time is 100% understandable to me. Especially considering some of these franchise's fans know more about the universes of the films than the entire cast/crew of the film itself.
tree on Dec 5, 2014
There was actually a time before Guardians that people actually thought the movie would bomb, because they thought the idea of Marvel making a movie based off an unknown property. I think that actually was in the film's best interest. Also, I wanted to make it clear that I want people to LOVE any of these films. That's why I said, once we've seen it, if you hate it, then hate it. But the problem is the people who have written a lot of them off just from trailers alone. No one's opinions once a movie is out are wrong, but I find it troubling that many are willing to dismiss films. The Spider- Man situation is horrible, yes, but it's Sony as a studio that needs to make great films. If the films they make are bad, like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 turned out to be, then we shouldn't be happy about it. But I also don't think every project should be maligned before we've fully seen it. I'm a big believer that context is key to everything, something David Diaz below said. I'll never tell anyone they're wrong once they've seen a film, but I think deciding a film is bad before we've seen it is a problem, and it's a part of the problem of the overall cynical nature of many internet fans. I like to think that a lot of the properties are getting the kind of love that we all want, especially in light of Marvel Studios. The care they've put into their films, even the lesser ones, shows in every one. That's why audiences keep coming back for more. If Star Wars, Jurassic World, Terminator: Genisys, and even Star Trek 3 can have that love and care, then we should be happy. Not every movie is going to be good, but I think they all deserve a fair shake at the end of the day.
Patrick Campbell on Dec 5, 2014
Hey, thanks for replying to my comment! I agree with you. I too believe in seeing a movie before judging it, but I also think that the very nature of trailers invites us to judge the films they're advertising. Writing off a movie because it looks bad from a preview is a totally legitimate way to choose what you watch and don't watch. But don't get me wrong. I understand your point - it's one thing to decide you don't want to see a movie, but it's another to start calling a movie the worst thing ever before you actually sit down and watch it. And since the creators of any given film rarely (if ever) get a say in how the movie is marketed, it's always possible that a great movie could have a crappy trailer, which is another good reason to give new movies a fair shot. Something you don't address in your article that I'd love to hear your opinion on is the inverse phenomenon. I noticed that Interstellar had already made its way into the IMDb Top 250 movies of all time list before it was even released. A similar thing has happened with other Christopher Nolan movies too, and it seems to indicate that Nolan fans will jack up the ratings on his movies before they are released. What do you think of fanbases that decide that they adore a movie before seeing it?
Gill on Dec 5, 2014
That inverse effect is definitely something I've noticed lately too...I think it's something we all fall victim to sometimes, whether we want to believe or not. Nolan fans, Marvel Studios fans, and WB/DC fans are a particular bunch that run in those circles and decide to love a movie unconditionally before release, which in and of itself is a problem. I'm a HUGE fan of the Marvel studios films, as well as Nolan, but I do lean towards Marvel at times. It's something that I had to start to break at times though, because when you start to try and overlook flaws of films that are clearly there, you can't fairly judge a film and that's a problem. Much like you can't decide a film is completely garbage outright, in my opinion at least, you can't decide you're going to love it either. That's not a healthy habit, and I think if we start falling into that, we become almost blind to the problems of some films, and then we'll accept anything, and we need to make sure we don't do that. That's the balance to this whole thing. I know I come off a little bit agitated in the piece, and that's because I am, just more recently because so many seem to be writing films off so easily. So this piece really is more at the die hards I've been seeing over the last few weeks really gunning for the films out the gate, and I respect anyone who is hesitant, but I'll respect anyone who doesn't like it in the end as well. I just think the prejudging on either side is bad. So what you're talking about sort of falls in line with what I'm talking about, but that's almost blind optimism instead of cynicism.
Patrick Campbell on Dec 5, 2014
I wonder if the phenomenon of cynicism and snarkiness also has to do with an overabundance of sequels, prequels, reboots and attempts at creating movie universes. It seems like there are more now than ever - maybe audiences are getting sick of them, but they don't realize it, so they're expressing their displeasure by calling the movies stupid. Anyway, thanks again for replying and sharing your thoughts! It's great to see people addressing this stuff and having discussions about it.
Gill on Dec 6, 2014
Amen to this guy. I could definitely appreciate his sentiments. One of my favorite things I've heard someone say about watching films is that "You can logic the fun out of anything." And I think that is what so many people end up doing when watching a trailer or film. They focus on these specific details of a film that they may not like and it ruins the whole thing for them. I'm glad I don't watch things that way and tend to have fun watching most of the films I see.
David Diaz on Dec 5, 2014
I got about half way through this article. All I can say is I don't hear people complaining as much about original properties or ideas. Of course people are going to complain about revisiting old ideas time after time. Jurassic Park was great! whatever the second and third were called, they just got progressively worse. I can understand why people are cynical about these things. People are sick of being sold the same gift in different packaging. It's like having a passport and you keep traveling to the same city, in the same country, when you could be traveling to exciting NEW places.
tree on Dec 5, 2014
I , as I'm sure others, agree 100%. I too have gotten angry at a few choices directors have made, Ben Affleck being one of them, but I am still a fan of cinema and movies and I will still see it in theater. As a frequent reader of this site, I feel like movies like Jurassic World, Star Wars VII, and any other's are supposes to bring the community together. Yes, we wont agree from time to time but we are all on here for a reason, to watch kick ass movies and read and talk about them. I'm glad to be part of this community and I cheers you all!
Franklin Carpio on Dec 5, 2014
In the original Sherlock Holmes stories, Holmes would use cocaine to stimulate his mind between cases. He justified it by saying that he "needed" the mental activity if he couldn't experience the thrill of the chase. Watson saw that it would eventually ruin Holmes and, over the course of the stories, weaned Holmes off the drug. Holmes thanked Watson in the end. I think "disappointment" and "outrage" are the cocaine of many current film-goers. Because they simply can't bear the downtime between potential movie highs (and feel a great deal entitlement to that high on their terms), they keep themselves busy with rabid righteous indignation. Everything is guilty until proven innocent because, simply, it's more fun to be upset than to be patient. This article is great voice of reason to the outrage-addled masses. Hopefulness and wonder really are better than dismissiveness, anger, and snap judgements. Listen to Mr Campbell, fanboys. You'll thank him in the end.
Concourse D on Dec 5, 2014
I myself remember the days of nostalgia and can pinpoint the exact moment/movies when I got burned by the Hollywood sequel machine: Batman & Robin and Star Wars Episode: 1. Watching those movies sobered my movie going experience. I remember watching the movies and asking myself "Should I be enjoying this? It's Batman. IT'S STAR WARS! BUT I'M NOT REALLY DIGGING THESE MOVIES! WHAT'S HAPPENING?!?" As an adult I've come to realize Hollywood is a business looking to churn out profitable movies, and lately that seems to mean sequels. Some are good, some are bad. And then there's the few original gems like Guardians of the Galaxy and Interstellar, but anytime I get the feeling a movie could be a repeat of Batman & Robin/Star Wars Episode 1, I'll wait for Redbox or the $3 cheap theaters. I value my time and money much more than Hollywood does, and if that paints me as a cynic, I accept that. Fool me once, shame on me....fool me twice....THE FOOL CAN'T GET FOOLED AGAIN!
RAW_D on Dec 5, 2014
"Calling many of the biggest moments in the trailer impractical, farfetched, stupid" This is just silly. As we all know, the stuff that happens in these films are actually real, Right??? Personally, I cannot wait to see them both. As far as the hilt is concerned, isn't ep. 7's timeline after ep. 6? Maybe the wielder finally got practical and had a guard made for his/her hand.
KLD on Dec 5, 2014
I read an article where someone thinks the hilt's "guards" are actually exhaust vents, since the wielder doesn't know how to make a proper saber. He sets out to find Skywalker, and find out how to make one once and for all. Maybe. Maybe not. I'm waiting to judge. Sounds like you are too.
Quanah on Dec 5, 2014
I agree with the bulk of the article, and with most of the comments on here as well. I think so many people (possibly due to "reality" TV and the instant gratifcation of the internet) have forgoten about "the suspension of disbelief" that's required of nearly all movies, even movies "based on a true story". I thought Braveheart was one of the best films ever made. So did the Academy. I only recently learned after doing some impromtu research that the film could not be more off target in historical accuracy. But, apart from documentary film making, even historical dramas will be made in a way that the director, producer, and studio thinks will be broadly appealing to make money. Because unless it is an indie film done for art, films are made with money in mind, even if the best intention is to make it good. The writer of this article spends much of the time touching upon sequels. I think that is what puts so many people off as well. I am more willing to give a fresh movie more of a chance than another reboot or retread. What is Terminator: Genesys? A seqel? A prequel? A reboot? To me it looks to be all three, which is a bit messy. That kind of story seems to be a better fit for an HBO-type series than a 2 hour movie. But i will go see it with hopes that it is good. But with movie ticket prices these days, I tend to be much more picky on what I will go pay to see in a theater.
theslayer5150 on Dec 5, 2014
People are demanding better movies today. Simple as that. The studios don't have to listen to them as obviously with the pounds and pounds of digital garbage that gets released every year, I'd say they don't. If there are people in the movie making business that are listening to those voices out in the internet, then they are not confident in their own decisions and should likely work elsewhere. Given the fact that for every ONE decent movie that gets released these days, 30 are total trash, I hardly think the negative comments online are swaying anyone. The studios keep releasing garbage and the general public (most posters on this site) keep swallowing it up. They know this and that's why so few movies come out that are worth anyone's time. You could say that it's actually "movie fandom" that has killed movies. Just my 2 cents, but I am entitled to my opinion.
Charles Knowlton on Dec 5, 2014
I like to think of moviegoers as passionate people. And passionate people let you know how they feel. I don't think there's anything wrong with that as long as you're passionate both ways, films you love and films you hate. If all you do is cut everything down, you're not a cinephile. You're an angry person. But yeah, as long as you're rational and fair, it's okay to take a trailer to task. Almost every trailer these days is better than the movie, since they're showing you the best of what they've got and they only have to entertain you for 2 minutes. So if your trailer's bad, you can pretty much guarantee the movie's bad too. Cool themes about playing God or no, the reality is that the Jurassic World trailer looked generic. That's why people are responding negatively.
carsonreeves1 on Dec 5, 2014
Maybe people are becoming more cynical about trailers and films because the film makers are being more cynical about the trailers. They either include scenes that aren't in the film, deliberately create a false impression of the film with misleading images or go the other way and reveal all of the memorable money shots within the trailer, paying little attention to the memory retaining abilities of their audience. I'm glad that films, after they have been released, get called out if they deliberately get things wrong.Suspending disbelief is all well and good but when a film maker is creating a film and a universe within that film, suddenly having something come from left field to extract them from a story dead end that they've directed themselves into, should be criticised. Cap 2 is a classic example. In two scenes characters are in no hope/no escape situations and suddenly they pull out this magical macguffin that allows them to escape. This destroys any tension in the film because there is no attempt to be clever, no attempt to write a strategy to get out of the predicament. Simply pull out this 'thing' and blind the audience with some more whizz bangs to paper over the laziness of their direction. Want to have a Mystique/Mission Impossible chameoleon moment. Oh didn't we tell you that we could do that thing with the mask? Don't worry here's another big noisy explosion to placate your slowly dumbing brain. Want the film to be considered a thriller with double crosses? Let's show Cap being betrayed in the elevator and having to fight everyone in the trailer. Want to create some tension about the big helicarriers? Let's show them crashing into the crowd and the building in the trailer. Dismissing their creative laziness with a get out of jail card of 'people shouldn't think too hard' is poor form. Furthermore I'm tiring of the number of journalists, magazines and websites that are so transparent in their adulation of a new film to secure exclusivity for the studios next project, that you only ever get an honest and genuine review, when the film comes out on DVD.
Payne by name on Dec 5, 2014
I think the Cap 2 trailers did a great job hiding the real twist of the movie (You know, the whole SPOILERS: the whole Hydra is infiltraded in SHIELD thing).
Fercho on Dec 7, 2014
I don't think they did. Showing in the trailer that Cap is turned upon by those he works for put the audience on blast that there was going to be some kind of major double cross. The fact that it was Hydra just felt genuinely silly.
Payne by name on Dec 7, 2014
Good topic Patrick. Cynicism is in almost everything today: politics, sports, business...But movies? Really? I remember an interview with Tom Hanks years ago where someone challenged him on the "realism" in some of his films. He said in response,"It's a moooooooovie!" Brilliant. I personally got cynical for a while. I hated anyone's opinion but mine, but then something happened. I got tired of the fight. Now, I try hard to read between the lines with what people post. I did say "I try." Sometimes, it's just impossible, so I move on. But I've read a lot of points made here, and they're all correct. It isn't just one problem with viewership and their reactions. It's several issues. I think for me, the most frustrating part of other people's irrational anger and cynicism over a movie, or movie preview for that matter, comes to one simple idea: it's a fucking movie. Relax. Yeah, Hollywood churns out shit faster than I do after eating a pizza with extra cheese. It is what it is. Hollywood can also churn out a masterpiece every year, and personally I think they do. I also think it's no different than it was 20, 30, or even 50 years ago: there's good, there's bad, and there's a few gems that we'll all remember. Personally, I focus on the gems. I don't have time to get upset over the shit. I'll be dead someday and don't want to miss everything cool and die angry.
Quanah on Dec 5, 2014
So, this article is about being disappoint/angry about other people being disappointed/angry about movies that haven't even come out yet? Isn't Mr. Campbell adding more fuel to the fire of utterly insipid fanboy mud-slinging by dismissing and putting down those who don't agree with him? Sure, there is a disgusting troll culture that has malignantly grown out of social media across ALL aspects of human civilization, but to point your finger at people who feel something is a little off about many of the films coming out, and suggesting the problem is with them, is supremely condescending. To tell everyone to rediscover their "inner child" and simply lap up the (extremely well produced) rehashed drivel they're serving us is, quite frankly, cynical in it's own right. Perhaps people are having a reaction to the fact that we've seen 90% of all of this before... and for much less money to make AND consume. Show us something original and maybe we'll naturally express a "sense of wonder and awe." It may be worth asking whether the cynicism being expressed here is coming, particularly, from the studios, but also from the vocal minority of the film criticism blogging community. Suggesting that fans have lost the ability to feel wonderment towards movies is a huge leap of analysis to make regarding the social psyche. Now who's being the serious downer?
Swanland on Dec 5, 2014
Amen, my sentiments exactly!
John Doe on Dec 6, 2014
Cracking post and spot on. Slating people for expressing rational disgruntlement for a film is like belittling them with the statement 'you analyse films too much' when they dare to criticise it.
Payne by name on Dec 7, 2014
Sadly at times, free speech is a two way street.
DAVIDPD on Dec 6, 2014
Food for thought from a film professor... 1) Why be upset that some fans “are bent on tearing down films before or during production, before they’ve seen anything from it”? Critiquing trailers and other extratextual materials is a fan’s prerogative and a part of movie fandom. 2) The author writes, “We should be excited about the idea of returning to worlds of movies we grew up on.” But should we really? Why not just return to those worlds by revisiting the very movies we grew up on? 3) If one “believes many have lost the wide-eyed wonderment that it takes to love movies,” one might blame Hollywood rather than “the inner child” of the fan. Rather, perhaps ask what *the industry* has lost amidst all of the consolidation, conglomeration, synergy, and multinationalism? Answer: sadly, a helluva lot. 4) Finally, movie fandom embodies *way* more than superhero and sci-fi films.
Kelli Marshall on Dec 6, 2014
Ironic that this started as a FB rant , as maybe FB and Twitter are partly to blame for the problem the author cites .... Because it's not JUST movies and our fandom ; it's anything anyone wants to comment on nowadays . There HAS to be only one answer to every situation , and If you have a contrary opinion to that Perceived Correct Opinion , you get blasted by everyone else trying to look PC hip .. . its a failure of knowing HOW to debate an issue , taught to us by our politicians who rant whether they are right or not . Loudest Voice wins , right ? ....
Dominic on Dec 7, 2014
On part 1) The reason being is that the people who think they're right usually bury the conversation, and they've then defeated the purpose of having conversation about film. When they're so sure they're right, and they continue to tear things apart, including the people who enjoy them, you've created a problem. It's impossible to have civil conversations with the people who hit extremes like that. It's unfortunate, but it's the reality of the situation. 2) Why can't we do both? The idea of returning to these worlds is fascinating in and of itself. Sometimes it works better than others, but to see familiar characters and familiar places is always an interesting and unique idea, done correctly. 3) I wouldn't say that it's all Hollywood, but it could play a part. But I think we forget that a lot of the strain, again, stemming from Lucas' prequels, are the three biggest indie films of all time. That wasn't Hollywood, that was a big scale independent production, that was creator run, that ended up enraging many fans. There's also to say that Marvel Studios actually plays on a lot of our childlike wonderment with comic book characters we grew up reading, and it works. But there's even then that some will be upset about it. It's a no win scenario and it's because some audience goers are simply jaded. We should always want better product, and it's a good thing there's literally hundreds of great films a year, but it's too bad that so many don't go to see them. 4) Yes, I'm well are that fandom embodies more than those two genres, but they're the most vocal many times with what I've been talking about. They're the most popular a lot of the time, and that's why we spend so much time talking about them. That's where this came from. I appreciate your response.
Patrick Campbell on Dec 9, 2014
Bingo. On superhero hype the fantastic four section is populated by a gang of the same ten who hated the movie since it was announced and whenever people come to talk about the movie positively they're driven away and this people who are actually looking forward to it can't talk about it there
Human ... Work on Apr 11, 2015
Hello Patrick, thanks for your article. You obviously spend a lot of time thinking this over and writing it down. Although I very much appreciate your point of view, I think you are missing the point at a certain level. When I read your arcticle I had the feeling I am one of the people you are talking about. I have made remarks about the motorcycle scene and the waterdino from the JW trailer here on FS. As it appears you think that the kind of remarks I made are cynical and show hate for movies like JW. I can assure you that is a complete misconception of what I feel about a movie like JW. In fact, I can't wait to see JW in my local cinema. And I think I am really going to enjoy that movie. And it bothers me that I have to bring this up in order to defend myself. It means that you have pulled the ad hominem card. You have translated opinions about the content of movietrailers into judgement about the individuals who expressed their views. Those who said bad stuff about trailers are cynics who do not have enough imagination. That is not good. It frustrates the debate. Any forummember here on FS should feel free to say anything about any trailer, either good or bad. Without feeling restrained. The idea behind your thoughts appear at least partly wrong to me. Yes, it is indeed true that in movies like JW stuff happens that is not possible. Right now cloning and breeding dinosaurs is not a reality. But by accepting that main premise of the JP-franchise, you do not automatically accept everything else that is not possible or not likely. Because if you would, watching movies would be meaningless. If anything goes, then any form of exitement or suspense is impossible. Because in the end they can always beat the dinos by blowing a whistle or pushing a button on a remote control. What's the fun it that? Clearly, a movie is so much better if the script respects some basic rules of logic. Such as people responding like they would in real life and laws of physics that behave like in real life. It is not cynical but instead useful to point out faulty logic in movie trailers. It might help moviemakers to create an even better product.
Nash on Dec 7, 2014
I don't think I agree with this article fully. Yes, there are some cases where "fans" have made a huge deal out of little things they see in a trailer (case in point, Jurassic World) or a teaser (case in point, the lightsaber) or even a poster (case in point, Terminator:Genisys), but I take it all as a part of my cinematic experience. I use the term fans loosely, cause there is also a phenomenon prevalent on the internet, known as trolling. These trolls are not fans, they are the internet equivalent of a rumor mongering housewife. Sometimes these rumors lead to witch trials, sure, like a director having to come out and defend his movie, but most of the times, the average user is wise enough to know the difference between a troll and a true fan who just happens to be critical of an aspect of what was presented to him. What I have the most objection with, is the point the author tries to make about retaining out wide-eyed wonder and awe, and give studios a chance to prove themselves by watching the whole movie (That is now how it works. If i dislike something in the trailer then you can't expect me to go watch the movie or keep my mouth shut). He seems to be implying that Hollywood with its blockbuster obsession has done nothing that would make the average user be cynical about what they see. Take Spider-Man 3 where Raimi was forced to include Venom and resulted in a right mess of a movie, or their latest offering The Amazing Spider-Man 2 which was nothing but a 2 hour exposition for setting up future franchises. Or, take the case where studios are forcing out movies in 3D whether the movie needs it or not, and forcing the audience to pay more in the process. I was not wide-eyed while watching Lucas make a mockery out of my favorite franchise of all times, or while Sony sees Spider-Man as nothing more than a cash bag as evidenced by the quality of those movies, that give no attention to story or character, but only to setting up more future movies. Nor am I wide-eyed while I see Nolan make a disjointed mess out of The Dark Knight Rises after setting my expectations so high with its predecessor and with Inception. But I am wide-eyed while watching good adaptations and reboots, like every Marvel Studios movie made since Iron Man (except Iron Man 3, where any idiot got to get inside the Iron Man suit except Stark himself), and what Matt Reeves has done with Planet of the Apes. Or, indie and arthouse movies for that matter, that come so close to my heart and make a mark through a simple story told admirably. Unfortunately, the good examples are fewer than the examples of studios taking fan favorite characters and making a right mess of the end-product.
theboyd on Dec 7, 2014
Now, to be fair, I said if movies are bad, we shouldn't support it. But at the same time, if people have decided that a problem is flawed pre-release, sometimes they bring that in and don't give the film a fair shake. I disliked The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3, because as films they faltered a lot with bad scripts. That's as much to blame as everything else. But I'm really coming from those that, again, decide that a movie is bad based solely off trailers. I've seen great trailers for bad movies, and bad trailers for great movies. We don't judge a book by its cover, so why judge a film by its trailer? It's the same concept.
Patrick Campbell on Dec 9, 2014
I agree that there have been good trailers for bad movies, and vice versa. But my point is, when this happens enough, doesn't a person then become cynical and start to lose his wide-eyed wonder? Cases for this go as far back as the sequels for Highlander and the original Planet of the Apes. In fact, trailers are notorious for splicing together unrelated footage to hint at an entirely different story than the actual movie. When there have been enough movies that show promise and then deliver a dud, its not unreasonable that cynicism seeps in when watching a new trailer for something that one grew up with. The concerns for the trailer of Jurassic World, Star Wars VII and Terminator:Genisys, or Ben Affleck's casting as Batman even before a single trailer/poster is released, is not entirely unreasonable, although a little overblown. All these franchises have started out as awesome and then delivered not-so-good movies, probably in an effort by studios to cash in on their popularity and not giving enough thought to script or story or coherence. The way I see it, people are raising these concerns because they WANT to see the movie and relive the good times, and feel anxious that the Hollywood studio machinery will let them down again. These people would definitely go and see the movie the minute it is confirmed to be a good one (either by word of mouth or thru sites like RT). Else, Guardians of the Galaxy would not have been the highest grossing movie of 2014.
theboyd on Dec 9, 2014
Marvel basically created the 'making mediocre movies to de up future movies' thing. Half of their movies are good the rest are just formulaic cash grab popcorn fare to further the universe. People get more excited for the teaser at the end that sets up the next movie that they movie theyll be watching
Guest on Apr 11, 2015
Here's a possible solution. Dump the comment section.
97point6 on Dec 7, 2014
Eh. Opinions are like a**holes. Everybody's got one. Forums / comment sections / product reviews are generally filled with the vocal minority. Seems like a fair miracle there isn't more bashing (here on FS anyway). Probably why I've been here for years. You'll note the SW teaser brought the trolls out of the woodwork, plenty of users which you've probably never even heard from, likely due to franchise popularity (& it's not the first time, & won't be the last for popular franchises to do such). Grain of salt type deal. Haters gonna hate. Disclaimer: decidedly biased and defensive on that particular franchise myself. First movie I saw at the theater (Ep. IV). Blame my parents.
avconsumer2 on Dec 8, 2014
Worst thing is they act an talk like they reflect the majority. Hell they boast about how they will be able to talk people out of seeing certain movies and hurt the studios
Human ... Work on Apr 11, 2015
The F4 haters are the worst. Many of them hated the movie when it was first announced before it had a cast of director. The reason was clear, it wasn't marvel studios so they were angry and upset. Well marvel studios sold the property so are to blame for where it is now. If your parent sells your favourite childhood you who would you blame? Not the person buying it but the person who sold it. Marvel Then when it became clear that it was based on Ultimate comics and Johnny Storm was black well in came the "I'm not racist but I'm going to act and say things racist" while at the same timepraising any changes marvel make and being fine when they racelift characters. Their fandom is so pathetic they decided to boycott the movie before seeing sny footage out of loyalty. If the same movie was coming from Marvel they'd be worshipping on their knees Marvel is cool, so is Fox and so is WB. They all make great movies and all screw up sometimes. This idea that marvel should control everything and so people should boycott good movies is ridiculous.
Human ... Work on Apr 11, 2015
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