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“You Shiver In Such An-tici-pation”: Upcoming Releases and the Waiting Game…

It’s a bit of a defunct popular witticism that the actual purpose of the internet is not to increase global communication or facilitate and encourage the development and spread of ideas, but exists solely for pornography. I don’t think that’s necessarily true (in fact, it only accounts for 1% of the internet). Instead, I’d argue that the internet exists primarily to provide spoilers, casting calls, plot summaries, set pictures and gossip around all the upcoming releases. In an era where even fictitious characters have facebook and twitter accounts, it sometimes feels like information overload, with constant updates about the status of a given project and director and cast.

All at sea?

Look at how much we know about The Dark Knight Rises, nearly a year from the release date. Even if you manage to get closer to the release date without ruining it for yourself, you’re left to witness the awkward birthing process as people you trust all get to see and consult on an anticipated film before you get a chance to see it yourself. It’s all there, giving the impression that you’ve witnessed a movie’s entire life story, even before you’ve set foot in the cinema.

I’m looking forward to Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, as the daily reviews of all the books from Tintin in the Land of the Soviets and beyond have probably demonstrated. I’ve read the three books the film is supposedly based on – The Secret of the Unicorn, Red Rackham’s Treasure and The Crab With the Golden Claws – so I haven’t had to worry about spoilers leaking out around the film’s plot. However, we’re now entering the end game. The first reviews have been published. People are talking about the film. Not discussing the rumours, or trading plot twists, but talking about the final cut of the finished motion picture.

Overhearing plot details...

I know, I should have the restraint not to click on the review as I browse my usual film websites. I don’t want to spoiled, after all. I am going to see it anyway, so what’s the point? I might as well take the opportunity to form my own opinion, right? I should go into the movie, sit down, watch it, and form my own opinion without worrying what everybody else thought of it, right? I’ve done that before, and it seems a reasonable way to approach film criticism. That way I can hardly be accused of borrowing somebody else’s critique or of going in with any critical preconception.

And yet, there the reviews sit, taunting me. I’ll concede that I have my own hopes going into the film. I might argue that it’s best to approach every film as a blank slate, but we all bring little bits of our preconceptions into that dark theatre. I really want the film to be good, if only because I grew up with the character, and have a fondness for him. This isn’t about any hint of bias – I was able to admit that Green Lantern was a bad film, while admired the source material, for example – but just about a sense of apprehension as the film approaches.

Best keep it under wraps...

It doesn’t even have to be a “big” film like Tintin. It could be a project that sounded interesting, or a remake of a film I grew up with, or the latest project from an actor who I respect. Sure, the scale of my interest in Tintin and the film’s blockbuster status make it impossible to ignore (as many find the case with The Dark Knight Rises), but it happens for almost every film. My better half can testify to that, as I slowly drive her around the bend with my own worries and frustrations and anticipation.

You can always count on a blogger to be melodramatic – especially a film blogger. So it feels like Spielberg and Jackson have been performing surgery on a loved one. Okay, maybe that’s too much. Perhaps they’ve been restoring an old house, one you grew up in. You know they’re decent guys, and you know they’ll try their best to do right by you, but you’re still worried. Maybe you’ve seen a photograph here or there, or you’ve seen examples of the work, but it’s not the same as actually setting foot in that old house.

I can't sand this any longer!

And so, as you get read to finally go and see it, you hear that your neighbours have already had a good look at this restored property. They’re the people you know, they’re the folks you trust. So, do you want to know what they think, or do you want to wait and see it for yourself? There’s any number of ways to rationalise it, right on up until you see it yourself. Hell, you’re probably still mulling over the dilemma as you make your way over. Surely if it’s bad, it would be better to know now so I can brace myself? What if they hype it too much? What if they don’t see in it what I see in it?

In the old days, this information wouldn’t have been out there, and we wouldn’t have faced the same sort of dilemma. The newspapers would have published the reviews on opening night, so we could easily avoid seeing the handy star rating before we pulled ourselves back up out of our seats as the credits rolled. Nowadays, the choice is ours. I suppose, in a way, it’s empowering. It’s also pretty powerful temptation. All I have to do is type the name of the film into the searchbar at the top of the page and everything could be mine. That’s biblical temptation right there.

Can I resist the urge to read up on it?

Hell, I can even see snippets and comments from reviews along various sidebars, along with star ratings. Not that it should matter to me, but I can’t help but tally them up in my head. A two. A four. A three. A three and a half. Stop it! I chide myself, but to no avail. Headlines glimpsed in “most linked” or “most read” bars seem to invariably mention Jurassic Park. Is it a good comparison or a bad one? Surely just one peek can’t hurt… just a little one?

It’s days before I see the film. I’m honestly not sure if I can make it.

Read our review of the film here.

6 Responses

  1. Congrats on making IMDb hitlist, Darren. I’m looking forward to Tintin, too, as I’m a big fan of the comics. Did you read Tintin too?

  2. I’m already going crazy from anticipation for Prometheus, and it is wayy too far away!!

    • Tell me about it. Though I hope he can keep at least some of the details under wraps. I don’t want to be spoiled.

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