Thursday, 1 August 2013

Can films be enjoyed by themselves?

We go into a movie with prior knowledge, from trailers and stills and on-set reports and interviews and posters and reading the book or comic it's based on or having seen the original, all this information and expectations.

I try to keep my expectations low in the words of Otis B. Driftwood "So I'm never disappointed." But movies are hyped or a friend tells you its the most awesome thing and this only sets us up for a fall, for expectations to be dashed.

I often try to go into seeing a movie on gut instinct alone, with as little information as possible. Take 'The Conjuring' coming out here tomorrow, I've only seen two posters for it and literally sat in the cinema with headphones in during the trailers and eyes closed to avoid some trailers, this being one on them. I want to go in knowing nothing. All I need is, "Its a horror" and I like Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. That sold me on it. Nothing more. I did the same for the Evil Dead remake, and after I saw the movie I went and watched the trailer to see if I was justified in my strange behaviour of avoiding trailers... yes, yes I was. The trailer shows you all the "money shots".

Remember folks, the film-makers do not cut the trailer, that's the studio, they don't care if they spoil the movie for you, they don't care if the final shot is in the trailer (That Rec remake Quarantine... I'm looking at you.) Their goal is bums in seats.

But these thoughts made me realize something...

Its now August, yeah already huh? (Not long now til Second Christmas aka Halloween and then actually Christmas, of which I do already have technically two presents for, tickets to see Less Than Jake/Reel Big Fish co-head-liner tour) And I haven't changed my calendar yet... I wonder what beautiful bus it will be this month! (Yeah my mom bought me a calendar of Buses, its a thing we do, try to find the shittest calendar for each other possible, mine to her? I got her 'goats in trees'... check out Miss. December if you can... truly terrifying.)

You, gentle (or not so) reader, may have noticed I sorta kinda gave up on the IMDB Top 250, sort of... well yeah. And here's a little of why...

Y'see I have a problem with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 being in the IMDB Top 250, you can only enjoy it with a hell of a lot of prior knowledge.

I did not want to watch the last in a long series just to tick it off the list, me being me, would have to watch the whole series.

If one is in the list, the lot should be, like Peter Jackson's LOTR's and now the Hobbit, or none at all.

I'm not giving up on the list entirely, it is a fine list, for the most part. I have found it odd that where music is concerned I care nothing for the Top 40 or Billboard Chart, what's popular in music does not always seem to be good.

The difference I noticed with the "Top" lists of movies is they generally do tend to be good. Box Office numbers and "Best Of" lists do not coincide, but somewhere in the middle are lots of people out there with good taste. People going out in droves to see a new Transformers movie does not make it good... an example of box office and "good" not intersecting, but the success of Avengers is warranted, a good movie doing good business.

And case in point, the Avengers... can you see it without seeing all the movies leading up to it? I do not honestly know as I've came at it from a comic geek perspective and all the prior knowledge that entails.

If I remember correctly, and I do, a friend went to see The Avengers without seeing most of the previous movies, and him and his boys enjoyed the movie, I'm pretty sure his kids knew the other movies but he was oblivious when I asked about which previous movie he liked and he had only seen the first Iron Man.

Recently I saw the Wolverine, and I go in with my geek brain and it all makes sense, but does everyone?

I heard people and read people be confused by Prof. X rolling up at the end during the mid-credits scene... was I the only one that made it to the end of The Last Stand? (Yeah and I like that movie. Surprised? David Hine was too when I met him.)

And for those who haven't...

Even seeing Magneto floating shit in the airport answered the question that hung at the end of The Last Stand... did that chess piece move? Or no?

...and an aside, Hugh Jackman looks the most like a comic book Logan than he ever has before, supposedly he didn't consume any water for 36 hours prior to filming his shirtless scenes to make himself lose the "water weight" and look more "cut" and "trim" on camera, dude the headaches were worth it, he looks fierce.

So has anyone went into these movies without seeing the previous movies? Can you and enjoy them? I guess that's why by Saw V there was so much flashbacks and intertwining of timeline throughout the entire Saw series... they were made that way for the people that saw the previous movies once, the previous year in the cinema. Or perhaps the Rocky movies that start with the finale of the previous movie due to the audience not expected to have seen it just before going into the new movie, forget VHS the audience needed to be caught up again as they wouldn't have seen the previous movie since they first saw it. And forget what us Movie Geeks do now or what the cinemas provide, a marathon before the new movie. Before The Hobbit I went to a Lord of the Rings-a-thon, before The World's End coming out, fans could see Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and then The World's End in some cinemas.

 (If you're a movie geek you know you do it too... before seeing The Dark Knight Rises, I re-watched Batman Begins and The Dark Knight... you know you did too.) But now movies don't need to do that, cause we have all the prior knowledge... we no longer need the recaps, the Sunset Beach effect.

I also started to pick up a lot of Eureka! releases (which do include some Billy Wilder, F.W Murnau, Fritz Lang, and Orson Welles) and I generally like to explore movies that are on the more obscure side of things. Sure it's good to say you've watched a lot of the Top movies of all time but I started to feel like I was just watching what other people said were good and not finding my own good movies. I got through a fair few and have generally seen most of them now, just not all in this year like I had planned to.

I'd roughly say out of the current list (not the one I was working from... remember it changes all the time) that there's about 30 that I haven't seen. Which ain't too bad I reckon. There's a few out of them that have been on my "To Watch" list for a while and for the effort I put in earlier in the year I'll try to get round to watching new entries on the list that were not there on my list from the start of the year.

Hasta Luego