Helen Murdoch on five films that have really divided opinion....
Man of Steel has taken the UK and US box office by storm but it has divided cinemagoers and critics alike. Some have hailed Zack Snyder’s all actioner, whereas others have condemned its uneven storytelling and hectic action. Watching a film is always a deeply personal experience and one film can be adored by millions and equally hated by millions. That got me thinking about what other films have sparked such fierce debate amongst movie goers...
You only have to type Prometheus into Google to see the range of criticism and appreciation for Ridley Scott’s return to the Alien-verse. Some hailed it as a return to form and welcomed the return of the Xenomorph. On the other hand people hated Scott’s new incarnation so much that there are hundreds of blogs dedicated to Prometheus criticism. I think the reason Prometheus divided audiences so much was the hype that surrounded it – I literally felt that you couldn’t escape the virals. I remember going into the cinema with such high expectations and coming out thinking why the hell did Vickers (Charlize Theron) not just run out of the way of the falling space ship? Literally she had to run a few feet to the left! There were more questions that I won’t bore you with now but Prometheus has sparked a passion of love and hate in filmgoers that hasn’t been seen for years and it’s almost enticing to see how far the battle will go.
It’s safe to say that the final part of The Dark Knight trilogy was one of the most eagerly anticipated films of 2012. I personally thought it was the perfect ending to the trilogy but many lovers of the franchise were angered by the plotholes, overly serious elements, and not being able to understand Bane (Tom Hardy). Since its release there has been argument after argument about why Christopher Nolan ruined the franchise and what the hell was Bane talking about half the time. But have you made a good film if people don’t have such starkly different reactions to it? If you Google “people who hate The Dark Knight Rises” then some pretty strong opinions come up and it’s interesting to see how many people loved the film. Similarly what some people vehemently hate others adore.
Nothing divides an audience like a girly film, but Titanic is the second highest grossing film of all time (Avatar is of course another one and is similarly loved or referred to as a Bluecahontas). Titanic gripped the world when it was released and is still a staple on bank holiday TV and hits that perfect note of nostalgia. For me Titanic is a staple of my childhood, yet there are many who hate Titanic with a seething passion. Whether it’s the popularity of Titanic or the overblown romance that drives it from beginning to end; it is still a film that you either love or hate. Running at just over 3 hours, you can’t just have it on in the background; Titanic takes commitment which some people just can’t stomach.
Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of Stephen King’s novel is generally considered a classic of the horror genre by anyone who hasn’t read the novel. For those who have the film is a travesty that should be avoided at all costs. As a film on its own it’s easy to see why The Shining is so highly respected. Jack Nicholson is perfectly cast and there is enough scares to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the movie. Unfortunately, I have read The Shining and loathe the film with a fiery passion. The essence of the novel has been lost in translation and it’s a chore to sit through the film without finding constant faults and issues in every line and every shot. I personally feel that The Shining is crying out for a remake that’s faithful to the original story. I imagine many of you are condemning me for heresy at the mere thought of it but that is why film is so fascinating – it divides.
As a stand-alone film The Shining is okay (its ending still doesn’t make any actual sense – is Jack supposed to have been consumed by the hotel?) but I feel sheer frustration when I watch it because it’s been tampered with so much.
As I mentioned earlier, Avatar is the highest grossing film of all time but it split audiences right down the middle. Many applauded at the action and mind blowing CGI and 3D on display. I remember watching Avatar and being blown away by the effects that James Cameron had created, but that was as far as it went and when I began to think of it I was bored the whole way through the movie. It was essential Pocahontas with blue people and no songs. Ultimately I get angry whenever I see Avatar advertised and I’m dreading the sequels invading our screens over the next few years. But there are some that hold it in such high esteem that they would condemn me for even thinking that it was anything less than brilliant.
From just these 5 choices of mine you can see how deeply personal film is. What films do you hate with a passion and don’t understand why people love? Is there a film that you love that is detested beyond all reasoning?
Man of Steel is still invading the box office with such ferocity that I’m waiting for it to start breaking records but I imagine that it will divide opinion for many years to come. I predict that Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim is going to divide audiences across the board and I can’t wait to see what happens.