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The Role of Expectations

#1 User is offline   Devout Catalyst Icon

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Posted 19 May 2005 - 02:57 PM

So, I see a lot of bantering back and forth about how the bashers are going into Episode III expecting to hate it.

I'm not convinced that expectations have all that much to do with it.

How many of us went into The Phantom Menace expecting at least to enjoy it, if only because it was a new Star Wars movie? I was excited like almost everyone else. I really wanted to love it. Admittedly, early spoilers did not seem promising, but I was prepared to forgive an awful lot. But I couldn't forgive absolute shit, which is what we got.

I was skeptical when Attack of the Clones was released. But I figured that Lucas had been a bit rusty, as anyone might be after a 16-year hiatus. So I went in expecting AOTC to be better than TPM...not necessarily good, mind you, but better. I found it worse. Again, I was disappointed, despite expectations to the contrary.

Now, having been disappointed twice, I can't say that I have much hope for Revenge of the Sith. I fully expect to hate it. But that has never stopped me from enjoying certain movies before. Expectations only go so far.

In other words, I don't believe that the majority of people will hate a movie because they expected to from the get-go. The fact that most people shell out the money for tickets to movies that they supposedly have convinced themselves they are going to hate, just shows that they are open-minded enough to at least see the movie to render a final judgment.

Incidentally, I don't believe that people will love a movie just because they have convinced themselves that they are going to love it, a la the gushers. But I do believe that they will defend it just because they think they're supposed to have loved it.

This post has been edited by Devout Catalyst: 19 May 2005 - 02:57 PM


#2 User is offline   Bohrok Awakener Icon

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Posted 19 May 2005 - 03:18 PM

I'm going to see Revenge of the Sith as a Star Wars fan. I confess, I don't think that the Prequel Trilogy is a good set of films, but I like them because they're Star Wars.

The only problem I might have is not laughing at some of the dialogue. I laughed at the infamous "sand line" in AOTC, and I laughed even more when I saw that a creepy woman in front of me was crying tears of romantic sadness when Anakin and Padme were being pulled into the arena on Geonosis. She might have been crying tears of depression at the lame dialogue that preceded it, which sounds more likely, but she kept on reaching for her tissues even during earlier scenes. And there was me, and just about everyone else on the planet, thinking that AOTC's romance was disturbing and creepy.

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Posted 19 May 2005 - 06:27 PM

Preparing for disappointment has become part of being a Star Wars fan. For many, it goes back to 1983. At any rate, I'll be seeing the new SW movie in a couple of hours.

It'll be interesting to see how the SW saga settles. If I'm happy with it, I'll know it. What do I have to gain by bringing down something good? I think a lot of us would trade our years of PT badgering for three good films (of the OT standard).

But there's a reason for everything I guess. Love the forums and the lists which started it all.

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Posted 19 May 2005 - 09:12 PM

Well this is not how I see the role of expectations in influencing ones enjoyment of a particular movie. In fact it has been my experience, and most peoples I imagine, that it works the other way. If you are expecting something to be crap then something OK can be a pleasant surprise and when you are expecting to go blind and deaf from exposure to sheer unearthly awesomeness then even a pretty good movie can leave one feeling disappointed.

Seems many experienced this with Matrix Reloaded. It was fully expected to be the greatest film ever after the original Matrix caused such a stir. Anyway the night before I saw the midnight screening bad to mediocre reviews began rolling in and for the first time the thought occurred to me "Wow. Maybe this can suck. Maybe this will suck!" Anyway I think that last minute downgrading of expectations helped me to go in with a more sober attitude than most going into that screening. And thats probably a large part of why I feel its the best of the Matrix trilogy.

I think what other people mean to say when they accuse the bashers of going in with expectations to hate the film that will mean they end up hating it is that many "bashers" have invested a lot in being a "basher", to the extent that they may be determined not to enjoy the film no matter what. If you've spent the past three years saying the prequels suck, George Lucas couldn't direct or write a decent film even if he had a second cybernetic brain grafted to his second chin, and engaging in "ROTS will suck!" "No it won't!" type posts with "gushers" online then I'd say you have a fair bit invested in ROTS not being a good movie. To have to come out and say "I guess a lot of what I was saying for the past three years was wrong" to oneself let alone on a public forum where that "ROTS will OWN YOUUUUU!!!!!!!" guy is waiting.

The exact same arguments apply to the "gushers" as well. It might prove to be a less painful exercise to convince oneself that one actually liked the film than to admit that the years spent defending the PT online against unrelenting criticism have been washed away by a final movie that was as bad as everyone said.

So I could fully imagine that there are more than a few Star Wars "fans" out there who are going to be delighted with every line of cheesy dialogue in the latest film and will sit back with a feeling of smug satisfaction that they were right all along. The irony is that such fans were almost always the most devoted of pre-prequel Star Wars fans - those with the most invested in Menace and Clones being great films and often with the highest of expectations. Consequently when the films came out and were what they were said fan feels betrayed and "burnt" for the years they spent toting round a Boba Fett lunch box through high school. Seems to be the recurring story.

So yeah I would separate expectations towards a movies quality from the ammount of personal identity one has invested in a particular POV of the prequels ("basher" or "gusher") and the subsequent ammount of "face" one has riding on the experience of being vindicated by EIII.

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Posted 19 May 2005 - 09:20 PM

Expectations automatically happen. They come no matter what. It is something we cannot help. Though, we can erase our expectations, so that we can become very surprised about what we had first expected of something. But overall, you are right, in saying that expectations can be changed not only by ourselves, but really, other influences as well. In our case, it would be ROTS. So...expectations are never permanent. They are like a shadow.
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