The Theory of Second Viewing
Sounds clever doesn’t it? Don’t worry, it’s not.
Basically, I am of the belief that you cannot form a proper opinion about a movie until you’ve seen it twice. Case in point: if you look back you’ll see that when I watched Iron Man for the first time I said that I liked it but probably wouldn’t put it on the movies to see before you die list, and didn’t rate it too highly amongst the other Marvel films. However, now I’ve watched it again (a couple of times) I’ve pretty much completely changed my mind! Definitely a firm favourite for me now and making it’s way onto the list. There’s also been films I wasn’t too sure about first time around but having seen them again I think I misjudged them. Sin City springs to mind. Twelve Monkeys takes most people a couple of goes too, but that’s mainly to get your head round it.
I think part of it is that the first time you see a movie you’re trying to keep up with the plot and the characters and so you can miss little things like throw away one liners or cool set design that you’ll pick up second time around. Of course some times though, you’ve got to trust your instincts. You will have to pay me a whole lot of money to make me sit through the Mamma Mia or Lost In Translation again, while at the same time it didn’t take me more than one viewing to realise that Lord of the Rings was a brilliant film.
More often than not I find that films I thought were only OK to begin with get better the more you watch them, but things can go the other way too. The sequels to The Matrix and the Pirates follow ups both came out in a wave of PR and special effects that had you going in the cinema, but the plot holes get wider once you get the DVD back to your sofa. Not that I dislike any of those films, just perhaps not as into them as I was the first time. I’ve already written about how hype can affect your opinion of a movie with The Dark Knight, and from what I hear of Avatar so far, it seems like that will be another one which loses some of the magic once it’s out of the cinema, especially since so much stock is tied up in the effects.
There’s more than a few places on this blog where I’ve written I need to see a movie again before completely making my mind up (The Eternal Sunshine debate rages on). It’s not so much for the films you either love or hate, it’s the ones where at the end you can’t quite decide how much you like it. My advice is watch it again. You’ll probably find it’s better than you think.
…unless it’s Mamma Mia 😛