Sunday, March 2, 2014

Expectations and Two Movies: Gravity and Legends of the Guardians

I had an abject lesson in expectations this weekend. Not that I didn't understand the concept before, but it really came home hard by accident via a couple of films. I believe our expectations severely affect our experiences. If we expect too much, sometimes, mediocre can become catastrophic by comparison. Likewise, when we expect something to be horrific, and it turns out to be "not so bad," it can seem like it was a lot better than that.

Childbirth for one thing. I was terrified of it for thirty plus years. Built it up to be horrifying beyond reason and when I had a fairly smooth delivery, (not completely easy but not traumatic either) It felt like a trip to Disneyland. It wasn't, let me tell ya, but by comparison to the horror I was prepared for, eureka.

So this weekend I watched two very different movies. The first one, Legends of the Guardians, I had a pretty blah expectation for. I mean, it's owls. Kind of cool in premise, but supposedly for kids, and also, the reaction it received from others left me thinking it might stink.
"I'm not going to be epic."

So when the movie was dark, engaging, bad ass and artistically almost flawless...when the characters were ALL sympathetic and well built and the action had me scooting closer to the TV and telling the kids to "shut it!" I was floored. I was like, 

It was. Awesomely epic. It was Secret of Nihm epic, and that's saying a lot. I'm a big fan of Justin the Rat as best animated hero ever. Guardians: A++ for exceeding expectations.

Then I watched Gravity. 

"Everyone says I'm epic."

Let's preface this by pointing out that I like space...a lot. I used to watch the freaking NASA channel and think it was engaging and fun. (Damn you direct TV for taking away my space channel) I'm a pretty easy sell when it comes to stories set in space. Everyone, everyone, everyone said Gravity was epic.


It was the opposite of epic. It bored the shit out of me. There were some pretty shots of Earth, sure. There were two action scenes that had some cool effects. Otherwise, SNOOZE fest. There were two characters, and only one of them was mildly interesting. It was not the main character, unfortunately. The main character was intentionally meh. Then, they clumsily and obviously tacked on some sad history too late for it to make me like her. I felt manipulated into contrived empathy. 
I felt sleepy. 

Not epic. 
Soooooooooooooooooooo not epic. 

But maybe, I just had too high expectations? You never know. My spouse had the same reactions, and in fact, we were kind of afraid to admit it. Like, if we said, you know what this is kind of a crap movie, the other one would go, oh you poor, unenlightened idiot. 
When we finally looked over at one another, however, the glassy eyed boredom on both our faces concurred. 

Not invested. I got what they wanted me to feel... I just couldn't join them for the trip.

Expectations not met. 

Maybe it's like they teach us in retail. You should definitely under promise and over deliver. Because the other way around can really bite you in the ass. 

And I already watched Guardians a second time. :)
Wishing the hubby had rented Gravity instead of buying the blue ray. 

Maybe it's just me.
Chime in if you loved it instead. I'd be happy to hear it was just us.



Jaleta Clegg said...

I haven't seen either, yet.

We took the kids to The Book Thief on Friday. I wasn't sure what to expect. It had some issues, but overall it was a very good movie.

Frances Pauli said...

I'll put that one on my "to watch" list! :) Thanks