I don’t like marketing departments. They tend to fuck things up.
It’s an odd phenomena I find, where crucial plot points, that are supposed to remain surprising or shocking, end up being part of a show’s marketing.
Case in point: the second Lord of the Rings film: The Two Towers.
I was never much of a fan of the series, I would say. The films were good, but I never felt the need to obsess over them.
However, I remember something interesting happening just before the second film came out. My friend Melanie was a proto big Lord of the Rings fan, by that I mean she was just starting out. And she mentioned that she was reading the books at that time.
Anyway, if you saw the first film, or read the first book, you would know one of the iconic scenes featured Gandalf facing off against meta-satan, screaming “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!” and then falling down a pit, presumably dying.
Incredible scene, and everyone thought he was dead. We all thought that was the last we saw of Ian McKellen in those films.
Then the marketing for the Two Towers started up, and these kinds of things are unavoidable, particularly if you don’t live in a cave. And especially back then, when people still watched television. But, in the TV spots, we saw Gandalf… the White… not dead.
It’s made all the stupider by the actual scene in the film, where our heroes are wondering through the forest, thinking Saruman (the bad wizard) is following them. Yet we all know it’s Gandalf, because it’s the same forest and characters that were in the TV spot! And he’s wearing Saruman’s clothes in the ad too!
And it pissed Mel off because she still didn’t know Gandalf survived. She hadn’t read that far into the book. She learned one of The Two Tower’s most dramatic plot twists from a TV ad. Not the book as you’re supposed to get it.
I know some people think others overreact regarding spoilers. But come the fuck on! When you set up a mystery, even a tiny mystery like that, and give the solution in the marketing, it makes the whole scene meaningless, and the mystery pointless.
Take The Island, a film I never saw, but already know the ending to. You see the film’s mid-point twist was revealed in the ads promoting it. So for the first half of the film, you’re watching it, screaming at the screen yelling: “You’re all clones! You idiots!”
Basically, the film goes: Oh, I wonder what’s really going on, I’ll bet you’re never gonna guess! Meanwhile they already told us in the advertising campaign.
It’s like an episode of C.S.I. being promoed by an ad saying, “In the next episode, this guy kills someone!”
I even remember seeing Roger Ebert bitching about this kinda thing back in the day, while reviewing The Island. That’s right! Roger Ebert agrees with me! I don’t need more of an argument than that!
And this brings me to the latest Littlest Pet Shop. WHERE THE SAME FUCKING THING HAPPENED!!! Continue reading