Tuesday 21 March 2017

Se7en Years of NUTS4R2

Se7en Years of NUTS4R2


So that’s seven years and 1259 posts... and counting... of NUTS4R2 since my very first post.

And, once again, I thank all of you who click on and read this thing every now and again for taking the time out to do so.

I never thought I’d have the stamina to keep this thing going as long as I have. Especially when I’m holding down a full time day job and still managing, somehow, to get this thing updated an average of three times a week. There have been a few times in the past where I nearly gave up but my personal circumstances over the majority of the past two years have been such that it’s been a long time since I put any real thought to stopping this thing. So I keep on going and, hopefully, some of my readers find it mildly educational or, at the least, somewhat entertaining on occasion. At least I hope so. I endeavour to keep the posts somehow coming in the hopes that somebody is getting something out of them.

As is the tradition on both my anniversary posts and my ‘numbered’ posts, I’m not going to be reviewing a specific film here with this entry. This time I’d like to talk about something which I’ve been reminded of from writing certain reviews on here over the years and that is... the idea that it’s sometimes okay to change your mind.

I don’t do it often but, when I do, I find that I’ve got a much more positive opinion of a film a while after I’ve reviewed it than I did when I first saw it. And my question to myself on this subject is... is this a problem, for someone who writes reviews, to mellow towards something which he or she didn’t treat very positively on the first sitting?

I first became aware of this issue when I sat down in the cinema in 2001 and watched the Stephen Sommers sequel The Mummy Returns. I’d loved the first movie from two years earlier and was really looking forward to this but, when I left the cinema, I just felt kind of “Meh.” and underwhelmed (or quite possibly overwhelmed, actually). If I’d have been writing reviews back then I would have given this a pretty bad write up. However, circumstances were such that I was in a situation where I had to see the movie again a couple of weeks later and, much to my surprise, I loved it from that second showing onwards. I don’t know why certain films hit me like that but my guess is it’s because some of them are so loaded with special effects and action that I really just spend the first showing trying to process all the data and not concentrating on things like story and emotional content... instead, falling back on those factors on subsequent viewings, once my brain has understood the mechanics of what I was watching.

There have only been about four movies on here in the 1259 posts I’ve written so far which I feel fall victim to a similar emotional malaise on my first viewing but they were for pretty popular films and I find that kind of interesting. Perhaps my first approach on watching a movie is somewhat different to a large strand of the population... I really don’t know and I wouldn’t like to guess.

The four films I’ll flag up where this has happened recently are as follows.

Avengers - Age Of Ultron, which I reviewed here, was a somewhat less than positive experience. However, when I went back for another look with someone else, I loved it and ended up seeing multiple 3D showings. And it was a similar story for Star Wars - The Force Awakens, which I reviewed here. I’d been expecting a certain character to die since the casting was first announced and then I spent the whole movie waiting for that guy to die (you know the one) that I kinda missed everything else and, furthermore, the ending of the film totally depressed me. I wrote a fairly sober review and was really surprised when, on subsequent screenings a week later, I absolutely loved the movie. I can’t say the same for Star Wars - Rogue One (my review here), of course, which I enjoy a little better but which makes me even angrier at the continuity every time I watch it. All of those comments still stand... but then so do the comments I made about the other two movies so... I’ll get to that in a minute.

I also had initial problems with another film I now love... Ant-Man (reviewed by me here) and, my most recent review in giving a film a much harsher look than I now feel I would have given it if I’d reviewed it after a second look would be La La Land (which I reviewed here). My biggest criticism of this was that, while I quite liked the score, I’d thought the songs in it were terrible and didn’t have any impact. Well... I’d have to say I’d now disagree the songs don’t have any impact but, certainly they didn’t on first play. All it took was one listen to the song-track highlights CD a few weeks later to wake me up to the fact that the songs were toe tappingly excellent and I then went to back to see the movie another two times and loved it (and am waiting for the Blu Ray to come out). The truth is, all I needed was for the songs to grow on me and I would have been okay. If I could have listened to the CD first then I would probably have loved this one on first showing but... that’s not a common thing to happen these days so I’d argue the case that, in terms of first viewing, I wasn’t in a good place to give those songs a fair review.

So yeah... sometimes my first thoughts about a film... well they don’t change but they certainly aren’t where I end up in terms of my relationship with a film.

So I come to the point where I once again ask myself... should I wait a while and see a movie again before reviewing it? And the answer to that is an emphatic ‘no.’ Sure, my slant on these films come off as a little negative sometimes but I’ve looked back at those and, although my attitude  is perhaps darker than it would be later on, I’m pleased to say that my basic criticisms are pretty much what they should be. I may be a little less forgiving but it certainly doesn’t invalidate the truth of them and so, I think, I’ll carry on as I am for now. I think my batting average is pretty good on first reactions and it’s not really something I have time to have a long reflection period on anyway... especially when reviews of new cinema releases bring the most readers in the shortest time span (although the posts of older things do seem to win out in stats over time, if people are interested in such things).

So if you are ever wondering why I gave the majority of those films mentioned above a hard time in my review... maybe take a little time and then go back and rewatch and think that maybe, as much as you love a piece of cinematic art, they’re not flawless gemstones. Mistakes are made, bad artistic instincts are sometimes followed and, absolutely, this does not invalidate yours, or anyone else’s enjoyment of the final product. You like what you like... and that’s the final word on the matter. Not some review on a blog.

So please, if you feel like I’ve given a movie a much harder time than I might have, as I suspect a lot of people will be feeling about the post I put up yesterday, please remember that it really doesn’t matter but that it doesn’t invalidate my criticisms of it either. I do my best here and, hopefully, for the majority of my readers, that’s enough. And I hope you continue to read and, hopefully, enjoy my perspective on certain things for a long time to come. I’m not writing in a vacuum here and I appreciate the time it takes you to read them.

So happy birthday to my blog... I’m happy to say that. Another candle older and another year of writing about to be unleashed.

Thank you.

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