I believe in respecting a movie's secrets. I tried very, very hard to avoid spoilers in my reviews of Chronicle and The Cabin In The Woods - two films that would be a lot less entertaining, in my opinion, if you know where they're going before you buy your ticket. But apparently I'm in the minority.
Last year, social psychologists at USC San Diego found that people don't mind having the plots of stories spoiled for them. Or, more precisely, that people won't necessarily enjoy a particular story any less if they know the plot in advance. We can easily extrapolate this to film culture, where people can glean key plot points from Internet spoiler sites or more conventional avenues such as marketing campaigns, trailers and TV spots.
This makes me sad. I'm one of those weirdos who likes to experience a movie entirely unspoiled; I do my best to avoid trailers and advance coverage, I don't read other critics' reviews until I've put my own together, and I won't even read a book if it's set to be brought to the screen. I don't plug my ears and race out of the theatre if a trailer pops up at a preview screening, but neither do I troll iTunes for advance clips and behind-the-scenes featurettes.
Sometimes, the marketing doesn't matter at all; I've been seeing trailers for Battleship for months on end, but Universal's campaign gave nothing away about that movie's plot besides "Taylor Kitsch in dress whites" and "big angry alien ship". Everything else was an incomprehensible digital blur, signifying that this would be a frenetic action picture, and as far as that goes? Yeah, that's pretty much what Battleship is.
But then you get something that goes to the other extreme, as 20th Century Fox is doing with Prometheus - fake TED Talks, viral videos, phony ad campaigns for companies and products that only exist within the Ridley Scott's new SF epic. I haven't seen any of the material that's been disseminated online, but I know it's out there because people won't stop talking about it.
Actually, that's not entirely true; I learned something about one character because that character appeared in a mock ad on the home page of the Internet Movie Database last month. I don't know what Scott's intentions are within the film - maybe Prometheus informs me of that information straight away, but maybe it's supposed to be a surprise. Doesn't matter now.
I leave the last word to you guys in the comments below: what do you think about the spoiler situation? Does it even matter to you? Or did you just read through this hoping I'd reveal something new about The Dark Knight Rises?
A couple of other bits of business, while I have your attention. Tonight (Friday), the Toronto Underground Cinema marks its second anniversary with a free double-bill of two movies close to the management's heart.
Clue, the 1985 comedy-mystery (and boardgame adaptation - relevance!) which was the first movie screened at the Underground, plays at 7 pm, followed at 9:15 pm by Luc Besson's geektastic 1997 sci-fi spectacle The Fifth Element, which the guys say they've been meaning to show ever since they opened the place. Both films will be presented in glorious 35mm with vintage trailers and a few surprises. It'll be a fun start to the long weekend; you should go!
And once Victoria Day is behind us and you've had the chance to gear down from the patioing and sunshine, come down to the Lightbox at 7 pm Tuesday to check out the 2012 TIFF Student Film Showcase. Ten shorts from all over Canada have been selected for the program, with a panel of judges picking the best live-action and animated entries. And this year, the panel includes actor and Top Chef Canada host Lisa Ray, Hobo With A Shotgun director Jason Eisener, and, um, me.
Obviously I can't review the films here, but I will say I was impressed with the overall quality of the selection. There are some resourceful, talented people out there, and given the realities of short-film distribution, this is likely to be the only chance you have to see these movies with an audience. And best of all, I can guarantee you won't have had them spoiled for you beforehand.