PEOPLE SPEAK: Do Reviews Kill Movies
On Mar 30, 2016
If the film is a wide release, yes, reviews can help spread ‘awareness’ of a well-made film aimed at ambitious box office numbers. But if that film misfires, the early reviews can kill it swiftly too. Then there are several well executed small films with limited release worming their way to success through word of mouth. Reviews might help generate the initial momentum. In the end, apart from unfortunate exceptions, if the film is written, executed and positioned well, nothing can stop it. It will simply go on to prove all the ‘armchair critics’ that they were off the mark.
Every film maker and his crew put their soul and heart in the quest for a good movie. But to place the blame on a movie's lack of collection or acceptance on the movie reviews available on social media is a lame excuse when they find it hard to accept the fact that their product has not been lapped up by the public. Though there would be some amount of degrading around, very rarely does a good movie go down due to 'intentional' negative reviews. It's high time the makers come to terms with the fact that there could be multiple reasons for a movie's poor collection and the reluctance of the audience to watch the same. And ironically these film-makers depend on the same medium to promote their movies, the moment a positive review comes their way
Reviews do have the potential to inflate or deflate the initial hype (or the lack of it at times) a movie promotion was created for. For a movie goer, all that he or she might be concerned about is 1)Does the movie belong to a genre I want to watch 2) Is it ‘worth’ the money and time.A review can answer both these questions.But blaming the lack of box office collections of a movie entirely on the ‘bad’ reviews of the critics (read every movie buff who‘s active in the social media)is a bit of an overreaction as there could be multiple reasons why the movie didn’t strike a chord with the audience. Moreover,a review is a reflection of the appeal the movie had to that particular reviewer and these perceptions are individualistic.
Reviews were always there from time immemorial- as publications or word of mouth. Hence reviews play an important role in deciding the life of a movie. A cinema no matter how classic it is, if not appealing to the audience or at least to the media people authorized to do the review, is dead even before it is born. Nowadays thanks to the Internet, people get reviews at the tap of a button, not just from genuine film critics but also from every John Doe who has access to the net.Today due to the high reach of social media, reviews- genuine or not, paid or unpaid, really has the potential to decide the fate of movies. Not to mention, some of them can even give away the suspense or climax, negating the whole point of watching the movie itself.
These days, anyone and everyone can write film reviews and potentially influence their peers' choices. This is a bit alarming since superficial and shallow opinions tend to get caught on more easily than informed analyses.Further, mainstream critics seem more concerned about the entertainment value of films which is a very skewed and biased perspective to analyse a film.What we primarily require are critics with greater sensitivity and a deeper understanding of filmmaking rather than laymen passing judgement simply because they believe their opinions to be important.Appreciating any work of art requires developing a critical perspective and if that is missing, the better works of our times would be in danger of being underestimated and unappreciated.
I think that reviews don't necessarily kill movies. But I also think that critics should be aware of their power and use it wisely since they can make or break a movie. It is much like everything else in life.We have immense power. Our words are our greatest blessings and our worst enemies.