I can hear you now as you read this, of course they matter, what is this click bait stuff. Why is this even a question and why bring it up now? Well, with the recent release of the new Star Wars The Last Jedi trailer director Rian Johnson sent out a tweet saying that if you wanted to go in completely clean do not watch the new trailer. Well I watched and you can see the review here with Steve C., but I must admit I did double guess myself if I should or not. The dreaded warning is a two sided coin in this day and age. We are torn in between wanting to know more and what if I find out too much, like would Kingsman The Golden Circle would have been better if we did not know that Harry made a return. That movie was spoiled you could say just from the poster, but the trailer really made sure. To be honest I was a little perturbed that such a major plot point was given so early but the question is did it make the movie any worse. The answer was a surprising no, the same goes for the Star wars trailer. Nothing changed my excitement or want to see these movies.
Let’s flip that coin like Two-Face, what if we land on the x’d mark side? There are some very notable movies with a twist ending, a term I grew to hate thanks to M. Night Shyamalan. The Sixth Sense was the movie that started the “don’t tell me” spoiler phase of cinema. I was spoiled because I saw the ending while I was a projectionist but had no real clue what was going on until I watched it. Even then the movie as it stood, as I sat there remembering what the end was about half way through, the movie stood on its own. There was no twist ending just a really well thought out ending. I did see the merit in not telling others what the ending was. I knew most people would think a movie would be ruined if they knew what lay for them at its finale.
How many movies come out a year that people love and the ending is just that, an end. There is a logical progression to the story that was obvious to the audience, except that one person. Let us take the comedy classic Overboard, a light hearted funny tale about a rich woman who refuses to pay a local carpenter for work on her boat, falls over the side of it and gets amnesia, and then the carpenter claims her and uses her as his slave. Proceeds to fall in love and has relations with her without her consent because she thinks she is his wife. Now to some there are many logical conclusions, the one that is Hollywood ending of course where she snaps out of coma, realizes she was a horrible person, and actually falls in love with the carpenter. Of course that is how the movie ends but that could be a twist, I hear you scoffing but let me talk this out. To some the logical ending to this movie could very well be she never wakes up and just lives a happy life or that she wakes up and she gets the carpenter arrested for enslaving her and having relations without her consent. Any ending could be a twist to someone, if a movie must rely on the twist then the film is not strong enough.
This is not to say a film’s shock value of an ending might not have a bigger impact if you go into a movie clean. The question should be asked, even if I knew the ending would the movie stand up. If it does not stand up with a twist ending then it is probably not a good film. Everyone knows what Rosebud is, does this make Citizen Kane a bad film? Not by a long shot. When you rewatch Unbreakable, is it any less effective? I say no. So I have come to this conclusion if you want to go in clean I can see staying away from a plot point or two. This will not stop me from watching a trailer however, but I might stay away from reviews for a day or two. Happy movie watching!
– Stephen Operach