The enjoyment of a film can also be affected by the pre and post-viewing experiences of the person who watches it and where and how they watch it. For example if a viewer watched all the trailers, promotional clips, interviews with the stars etc before a film is released, they may have extremely high expectations of the film. This might mean the film fails to meet these expectations. Comedies often have many of the best jokes in the trailers of the films and these jokes will not be as funny when they are in the final film if you have seen the trailer a few times. Similarly many trailers give a great deal of the story away and show many of the best stunts. The recent Fast and Furious 6 trailer seemed to have clips from all the major set-pieces and therefore there was no sense of surprise when watching the film. Prometheus was also a victim of its excellent marketing because people had huge expectations and the film was not as good as many had hoped.
Before or after a film, reading reviews might also affect a person’s enjoyment of a film. Sometimes I read a review and I can’t get the words of the writer out of my head and it ends up affecting my opinion. For this reason many wait till after they have seen a film to read any reviews. Also discussing a film after it has finished can potentially change your opinion of it. Though I still love The Dark Knight Rises, hearing people pick out the all the plot holes has lessened my love for it a little bit.
How you watch a film is also important as watching a film at an IMAX cinema with state of the art sound is a very different experience to watching a film on a mobile phone or a dodgy pirate DVD copy. Blockbusters particularly are supposed to be seen on a big screen in a dark room with the sound up loud to get the full audio visual experience. If an audience is laughing in a comedy or screaming in a horror, it will likely have an effect on other viewers. Watching a film with mates is different to watching it with parents or on a first date and watching it alone is very different to watching it with a large audience. All these factors can affect enjoyment and interpretation. 3D is supposedly more immersive but many hate it and some people have home cinema set ups because they would rather watch a film in their own home. I also find that if I see a really good film early (at a preview before it is released) I think I often love it even more than if I was (seemingly) the last to see it. I certainly feel the need to talk about it more to convince more people to go and see it.
And that is the end of this series on the relationship between audience and films. Hope you enjoyed it. Please feel free to argue with me all you want it the comments below and check out the other posts in this series. All the links are below:
Did you miss...?
Part 1 on active vs passive spectatorship.
Part 2 on the pleasures of film watching.
Part 3 on frameworks of interpretation.
Part 4 on media literacy and intertextuality.
Part 5 on the effects of film.
Part 6 on fandom.