In the past year or two, I’ve noticed a growing want among movie watchers. This want is the want to learn every single little tidbit about a movie before the movie comes out. There are spoilers out there for movies long before the movies come out. There is speculation about every last detail of a movie a year prior to that movie’s release. The desire of the cinematic fanbase to know all of the intricacies of a movie before that movie is available to watch is taking a lot of the wonder and mystique out of the art form.
Most recently, this issue has come to light during the overlonged and overhyped production of the new movie in the Star Trek franchise, Star Trek Into Darkness. JJ Abrams is a man known for the mystery that he likes to wrap his movie projects in. This new film is no different. There is not a lot of information that has been released about the movie, aside from some casting and some set photos. But the simple fact of a lack of information leads to a continuous slew of blog posts and film news articles speculating on the various aspect of the film, most notably the villain. A vast majority of the internet movie culture community has a deep desire to know who Benedict Cumberbatch is playing in Star Trek Into Darkness. It is known that he is playing the villain, but it is not known who the villain is. Every week there are more articles released questioning who the villain is without adding any additional information into the mix. This is the kind of journalism that irritates me right down to my core. Some people might say that the villain should be revealed because it will end the game of cat and mouse that writers are playing with JJ Abrams. Could it not also be ended with these same writers not trying to pry the information out of the filmmakers? What does knowing the villain of a movie add to it? The villain does not need to be known before the movie for the audience to enjoy the movie. This whole mystery thing is being blown out of proportion by both sides, but mostly by the people who feel the need to know who the villain is. It does not add anything to the movie to know these things beforehand.
This same line of thought can be brought to one of the most anticipated films of 2012, The Dark Knight Rises. The marketing behind the film was a year long, but the anticipation for the film went back another three years. As soon as the predecessor, The Dark Knight, had been released, people were already beginning to question who the villains in the sequel would be, and who would play them. This speculation continued for three years. The speculation continued well into the casting and production of The Dark Knight Rises. People continued to question casting choices and took it upon themselves to guess at actors who may be cast as a notable character, but had different character names leaked. When production on the movie began, everyone and their mothers were taking set photos and leaking them on the internet for all to see. The movie was in the news every three to four days with more speculation and set photos. Half the time, the information was all the same. The people of the internet needed to see what the movie looked like, they needed to know what was going to happen in the movie. It got to the point where I lost more and more interest in the movie as time went on. This obsessive nature that the modern movie watching culture has to incessantly reveal every last detail in the movie removed any of the childish anticipation that I had for it. The magic was gone because too much was seen and known about the movie.
There is no better feeling than going into a movie without the knowledge of what is going to happen. I have heard stories from the nineties about people going into movies knowing nothing and being pleasantly surprised. This barely exists in the internet age, where the information is available at our fingertips at any given time. You will go into a movie knowing bits and pieces of it, perhaps more than that. Each little bit you know about the movie before seeing it will ultimately take a little bit out of the movie for you. In most cases, that is. Sometimes it won’t. It all depends on the specific person and the specific film. But in most cases, I would say that this argument stands.
So why do people feel the need to always report on and reveal every last aspect of a movie before it is released? Is it to get hits on their websites? I’m sure that has something to do with it. Is it to feel superior? A lot of people do like to feel superiority over their peers. Whatever the reason, this is an annoying trait that seems to be getting worse and worse. Society has a knack for wanting to widen their vast knowledge, but it’s coming at the detriment of movie magic. I’d rather go into something not knowing than go in knowing everything.