Tuesday, March 3, 2009

THE (Watchmen) HYPE MACHINE

This is the kind of email I have been receiving of late:OMG TEH WATCHMEN R TEH RULEZ!!!11!!!1!!!11I have had more than one person ask me why I am not doing an all out WATCHMEN blitz on the Mediasaurs site. My answer is usually nebulous, because I am not completely sure why, but I know that it has a lot to do with the hype machine.

For as long as I have been going to movies, there has been the hype machine. It takes different forms, but the sinew is the same. It is a fueled by a lot of money, and it wants to get you into the theater on opening night.

I first realized that the hype machine was flawed was when I was a kid and STAR TREK the motion picture came out. McDonalds was serving STAR TREK HAPPY MEALS and Klingons were speaking their native tongue in the fast food commercials for the place. The movie dropped, a lot of people saw it, and a lot of merchandise was sold. In the end though, the movie sucked.

Over the years it has happened to me again and again. INDEPENDENCE DAY is another example of a hype machine misfire. THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT is also guilty. SNAKE EYES by Brian DePalma, John Carpenter's VAMPIRES and GHOSTS OF MARS. ANACONDA is another painful memory. The last time I really let the hype machine get to me was X-MEN 3. The hype machine is maintained by word of mouth and a lot of advertising dollars. Sites like the MEDIASAURS zero in on such things and discuss them ad naseum in their forums. Then the movie-going public is worked into a complete lather by all of the crackling on the Internet and everywhere else they go by the collective positive voices of the fanboys.

And here comes THE WATCHMEN. This is fanboy crack. You can't spend 10 minutes online without hearing about it. It is a Zach Snyder film, and it is based on a pretty solid comic book series. All of the heavies who have already seen it are weighing in saying that this very film is the second coming of Christ. I have been burned before, and I am sitting back on this one. Sometimes I sit back and I am pleasantly surprised. I did that with SPEED RACER, and wow, what a pleasant surprise it was. I am waiting on this WATCHMAN thing until after the fact. I am suffering from PTSD. All of this negative reinforcement has made it so that I can't get into the hype machine.

I have been burned too many times. So many times in fact, that I am not up to the slightest iota of pain on the subject. I stick out my neck slightly from time to time, as I did with THE WRESTLER, but overall, I turtle.

There is another side to it all though. Give me a SNAKES ON A PLANE or a DEATHRACE and I will be front and center. Why? Because those are films that are marketed as crap, and when they work, it is like finding an extra present under the Christmas tree. There is no question that these (and most horror films for that matter) are going to be campy. I go into these films expecting that they aren't taking themselves seriously.

So I am holding my breath on this WATCHMEN thing. I don't necessarily presume it will fail, but I don't want to invest a lot of hope and get burned even a little bit. If it turns out to be fantastic, I will be just as loud praising it as the next guy.

More of my musings can be found HERE. Furthermore, you contact me at admin@mediasaurs.com