Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t believe the hype!

The title of this post is from a well-known song, from a well known band who come up with a valid point. That is don’t believe the hype of most things. Hype which is caused by critics reviews of almost anything; films, albums, plays, books. Hype creates sales, generates buzz and causes conflict between anyone who discusses it. It brings us together but it can be extremely destructive. The way we receive hype these days has changed since the rise of social networking with companies using Facebook as a free marketing tool as they do with Twitter, but in a different way with live Tweets.

Drive became a surprise hit after Ryan Gosling portrayed the ultimate loner, living alone, spending his time alone, making sure he doesn’t get too close to anyone. In a role which is equal to the brilliant character of Dean in anti-love story Blue Valentine, Gosling was able to create a character who did not want to be alone, but felt he had to be, because of what he chooses to do. By day he was a Hollywood stunt driver, by night he would be the perfect get away driver, leaving a 5 minute window for the perpetrators to return to the vehicle. The hype surrounding this essentially came from  5 star reviews of not Gosling’s performance, but of the film as a whole. Rightly so, however, it’s this kind of hype that makes me and countless others think that this will be an overrated, hyped-up, souped-up car film. You can’t be blamed for thinking this as films such as Gone in 60 Seconds and the endless Fast and Furious series have taught us that the need for speed isn’t strong enough.

This year, the hype appears to belong to primarily comic films The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers and The Amazing Spiderman. However there is one more front runner for 2012 in which we find ourselves back in the mind of Alien creator Ridley Scott. Prometheus has been released and received some good reviews. Without a doubt, this film will find it a mammoth hit despite any review. What with the online social media campaign that has been running and not to mention the premiere of it’s trailer during the advertising break of Homeland from which people were asked to tweet their thoughts and short reviews which were posted for all to see later on Channel 4. Nothing short of brilliant in regards of creating a buzz and an incredible amount of theories about what this film that was dubbed the prequel to Alien could be about.

One stand out piece from their social media onslaught is below, a TED.com video. For those of you unfamiliar with these, where the hell have you been for the past few years? These are talks but all sorts of people, be they scientists, visionaries, celebrities, inventors and so on. This talk features the characters played Guy Pearce, Peter Weyland. It’s a very original way to grab the audiences attention because this isn’t just another trailer, it’s like a clip from the film, but not. It looks more like a clip that has been created just to promote the film, now if someone is willing to go through that much effort and trouble, then how much faith must they have in their film? A lot would be the answer there.

Another film which comes to mind is Slumdog Millionaire. This is a very odd one to mention in the same breath as Drive and Prometheus however it’s also an interesting choice for everything it created. This film, set in the slums and everywhere else in India, came when the UK’s interest in all things Indian was dropping after being inundated with shows, films, products, food and everything else related to this beautiful country. This became another film that received rave reviews but also had a lot of Oscar nominations and wins. Rightly so too, we hadn’t had a film like that in a long time, probably one of the best screen adaptations of a book that we’ve seen in recent years. However, not everyone like it. The build-up of this film seemed to ruin people’s expectations and saw is as another “trailer is better than the moive” movie. If you remember from 2008, it was literally everywhere, you couldn’t escape it at all. And it’s things like that which ruin and destroy films for a lot of people. The amount of money spent on advertising and marketing is certainly higher than it used to be and it always goes up as the reviews get better and the stars get bigger.

Prometheus is a game changer, it’s changed how we perceive a film, how we interact with the film and each other and how social media keeps getting bigger and has become probably the best marketing tool we have today. Slumdog caught the uk and other countries off guard, no one would expect something such as this from Danny boyle. It’s love by critics and award ceremonies a like, but after the hype and small amount of controversy, not everyone loved it, the key aspect to take away from that is to watch films before they gain momentum, before the buzz starts be it online or otherwise. And Drive, I chose Drive because it’s brutal and brilliant performance from Ryan gosling made it the film it is, popular with the public, enjoyed by those in the industry and talked about almost consistently even now. Word of mouth isn’t quite dying yet but it may be. Right now we see the rise of social media within everything that we do despite some insisting the Facebook should only be for people, not brands or companies. I totally disagree, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites have moved with the times as we all should. The only problem is if social media takes over actually speaking to each other, now that wouldn’t be worth the hype.

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