Thursday, May 22, 2014

Does Knowing Reviews of Movies Keep You From Forming Your Own Opinions?

These days, with the power of the internet, if a movie has been out more than a weekend, most people already know about what the critics and the public think about it.  If they don’t see it on the very first weekend, they will hear about it from their friends and family.  Those people who saw it first, and those people who write professional reviews, have already seen it and given their view of the movie.  And I’m curious if those people, who are on the fence about a particular movie, once they hear what others think, decide whether or not to actually attack the movie.  I can tell you that it has been the cased for me several times. 

My brother really wanted to see Ender’s Game, because he had read the book. However, I thought the trailers were okay.  Then the reviews came out and they were all lukewarm, not exactly enthusiastic about the movie.  Whenever he talked about going to see it, I wanted to see something else, like maybe The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which had fantastic reviews.  But it didn’t matter, because we didn’t get to see either in the theaters.  If perhaps I had ignored the critics, then I would have been able to go see a movie in the theater, which I rarely do nowadays. 

But on the other hand, you might finally see a movie you read a good review about, you don’t like it.  In fact, you don’t understand why everyone else was making such a big deal, perhaps.  When Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith came out in theaters, many of the reviews said that it was the best of the prequels.  Perhaps in their eyes, but when I actually saw it, it was so dark and depressing (and the only Star Wars rated PG-13) that I did not want to see it again, and it sapped my energy to see the other prequels again as well.  The critics may have thought it was the best of the prequels, but I didn’t like it. 

Another experience I had with critics being wrong was when I went to see the movie Alvin and the Chipmunks.  They really hated it, probably for the formulaic plot and tired jokes.  But my friend suggested we see it and even though I knew about the reviews, I decided to give it a shot.  I actually really enjoyed it.  It was very funny and entertaining in places.  I was left thinking, well, even with what the critics, think, I liked it.  What can I say?  It may have been predicable, but it was a lot of fun to watch.  Of course, critics are not kind to Christian productions, and I have enjoyed many of those movies. 

And yet, if it’s a movie that I have heard great reviews of and everyone else has said that it’s fantastic, then I want to see it myself.  One recent such example, I received a gift card and decided to see Frozen, even though at the time it had been out for a few months and newer movies were garnering great reviews as well, like The Lego Movie.  But because everyone had seen Frozen and thought it was awesome, I wanted to see it more and more.  And when I first saw the trailer, I was not impressed.  It did not give enough humor and tension to entice me to go out and see it. 

So I guess it’s a balance.  Yes, movie reviews and your friends’ opinions will always shape how you think of the movies, but ultimately it’s your own decision.  For better or worse, there will be movies and TV shows you don’t like that others close to you will think are amazing, and those you think are amazing others why you even want to watch that sort of thing.  Take reviews with a grain of salt…a movie you really like might be around the corner that everyone else won’t take the time to consider.

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