Interstellar, and the Pros & Cons of Hype

Please note: No spoilers for Interstellar will follow, but having seen the film will help!

I am going to start this by saying Interstellar is a fantastic film. Visually beautiful, a perfect blend of top-notch CGI and practical effects, great performances and surprisingly emotional. It’s a technical marvel and if you still haven’t seen it, try checking it out before it leaves theatres. However, it’s definitely not my favourite movie of the year.

There’s been a recent trend with big film releases to start releasing “Teaser trailers” well in advance of the film’s release – take the new Star Wars film for example, which sees its teaser coming out over a year before the set release date. Interstellar had a similar marketing strategy, with increasingly in-depth trailers being released leading up to the film. Credit where it’s due, all the trailers were on the tasteful end of the scale, opening questions for the audience and making us want to watch the movie for answers. I purposely avoided everything beyond the first teaser as much as possible – which is not always easy when you work in a cinema – because I had a good idea that I’d enjoy the film regardless. Nolan directing a sci-fi about saving humanity? Count me in. There was no need for more details, for me to know anything more about the cast or events in the film’s narrative; I wanted to “go in blind” to experience everything about the film for the first time.

However, other films do not hold back as much as Interstellar did. Plenty of releases overdo the trailers and start giving away a little too much, taking the fun out of a first-time experience with the movie that they’re trying to promote. It certainly keeps people talking, but that itself can also be a problem. I heard an irritating amount of chatter about Interstellar both pre- and post-release, which always makes me uneasy before a release (it can be hard to dodge spoilers!). Most of the post-release from early press reviews and release day onwards were about how the film was the BEST FILM EVER OH MY GOD with similar statements coming from friends, co-workers and plenty of places online! While it was good, I would still give my favourite movie of the year over to Guardians of the Galaxy.

Where Interstellar is intelligent and emotional, Guardians is funny and tongue-in-cheek. Where Interstellar clearly puts the cast through their paces, Guardians is full of scenes that the cast clearly had a great time filming. While I know I should prefer Interstellar, Guardians does it for me. Neither film is perfect, by a long shot: the main villain from Guardians is as 2D as a sheet of paper, and Interstellar often came off feeling like 2001: A Nolan Odyssey with a few cases of on the nose, drawn out speeches and other parts of dialogue that undercut some of the more emotional parts of the film.

In conclusion to this rambling, teasers and trailers are good. Pre- release buzz and hype is good, but it has to be measured. Overly informative trailers, over-hyping a movie will certainly lead to disappointment, so try to avoid some of those trailers guys!

End note: This all made a lot more sense when I started working on this post at 6am this morning.

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