Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Tradition of Spoilers

The Planet of the Apes is a great movie. One of the greatest movies ever made, probably. If you haven't seen the original, I highly recommend it.

There is just one problem with the movie, though, and it's been bugging me for some time.
You see, from the beginning the movie seems like a regular science fiction film, with a small crew of astronauts crash landing on an unknown planet centuries after they went into hibernation. The thee survivors must come to terms with the fact that they'll never return home, and even if they could everyone they knew and loved was dead.

In short, it's an incredible opening with absolutely no hint about the civilization of apes they would soon encounter. Unfortunately, I worry that people might only be half paying attention to this opening, just eagerly awaiting the appearance of the apes.

It makes me wonder what it would have been like to experience that movie without knowing that it was called The Planet of the Apes. How incredible would it be when the apes suddenly appeared out of nowhere in this unsuspecting dark science fiction movie?

I wonder how many other movies could be improved if nobody knew the title of the movie going in?

It's kind of funny to me that we need to have so much information about a movie to bother going to see it ("it's good!" "it's a romantic comedy!" "Idris Elba is in it!" "the dog doesn't die!"), yet if we get too much information suddenly the movie is ruined. The title, the trailers, the promotional interviews with the cast and crew need to convey the gist of the movie without telling you the whole story, otherwise what's the point of going to see it? Yet I can generally guess the entire plot of a movie from the trailer, so I just avoid them and never find out that I'm missing out on a movie (or not) in the first place.

However, for a good movie I don't think it matters at all whether you know what happens before you see it. If that was the case, then we'd never rewatch movies. Book readers would never go see movie adaptations of books.

I don't think really good movies can actually be spoiled, which is why The Planet of the Apes is still a great movie despite the fact that its title gives away one of the most surprising things about it.

On the other hand, there's something wonderful about experiencing something for the first time with no preconceptions. Or, just as good, having your preconceptions shattered.

I don't have a conclusion here. I simply find it all amusing.

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