TMP Editor’s Corner: Staying Objective

The biggest thing for movie reviewers is that they need to remain objective.  Hell, even if you’re not a reviewer, it pays to remain objective about the films you see.  I mean, you don’t want to recommend a terrible movie to your family or friends do you?  For a lot of people (and plenty of professional reviewers) this is a hard thing to do.  For many movie fans and professional journalists emotion is a big part of the movie experience.  And because of that, staying objective can be nearly impossible.

I’m talking about when love of a movie interferes with your rational thinking.  This is where hype plays a big part.  More than just the hype the studios try and create, there’s the anticipation a person may feel in general towards a certain franchise or adaptation.


Let’s take a movie like Cloverfield.  It featured a very impressive and extensive viral campaign to stir the pot and get people interested.  There are people who avidly followed the viral marketing and spent every minute they could dissecting the next steps leading up to the film’s release.  Now if you’re that invested in a movie…do you really think you can be objective?  Not saying that Cloverfield was terrible (I loved it), but that’s an example of a movie that does something like that.  

When you’ve devoted so much time to a film, it’s nearly impossible to walk away and not be happy with the film.  Even if it wasn’t that great of a movie, it was at least the culmination of a long effort on your part.  For that reason alone you almost feel obligated to the movie, apologetic even at times.  So it’s hard to be objective when it comes to films like that.  

Or maybe you’re a big comic book fan, and your favorite character is finally getting on the big screen.  No matter how bad the movie is…it’s hard not to like it.  Sure you may not watch it over and over, but because you can finally see that person in “real life” you’re more likely to look the other way at errors.  But of course the converse can be very true for comic book films.  In fact sometimes the fans are the ones most critical of the movies because it doesn’t meet up exactly to the way THEY envisioned it.  Either way, objectivity is almost non-existent.

Dark Knight Rises

Like I said, staying objective isn’t an easy thing to do, but trying to rid yourself of any predisposed biases before seeing a movie may just open your eyes to something you may not have seen otherwise.  Take chick flicks for example.  Sure, if you’re a male you already don’t want to see the movie.  And more than likely you’re telling yourself that it’s going to be terrible mushy rom-com crap, without any explosions.  Trust me, I’m the same way, but if you let go of those notions and watch the movie for what it is, you may find an interesting and exciting story there.  Where as if you didn’t open your mind up, you would have focused on the wrong parts of the film and not enjoy yourself.

So even if you’re looking forward to a movie, it’s important to try and rid yourself of all that hype before you get inside the theater.  I know how impossible that sounds, but if you find a way to bring it down, just a little, you’ll be able to watch the movie with “fresh” eyes.  You won’t be seeing what you want to see, trying to make something out of nothing, or gritting your teeth at every ‘flaw’ you find.  Instead you’ll see the movie for what it’s supposed to be.  While that could be good or bad (depending on the film), it’ll open you up and leave you with a more satisfied movie watching experience.