Do you let reviews effect your own opinions?
A few weeks ago the film Pompeii hit the cinemas. I’d been waiting for a few months eager to see it, but even during the first week the number of cinema showings were really limited and it was difficult to catch it at a suitable time (even harder if you’re not a fan of 3D). I was later informed that the reason for this was that the film had received really bad reviews. I knew a few people who had seen and enjoyed the film though so I was still interested. I also prefer to have the chance to judge things for myself as I have previously enjoyed things with bad reviews and hated things that have had amazing reviews. Still, it did effect how I felt about seeing the film as my initial enthusiasm faded and I kept putting it off. I did eventually go to see the film last week but even then I found myself analysing it more looking for things to criticise.
In the end I actually enjoyed Pompeii and I don’t believe it deserves as low a rating as it has gotten. It’s not a great film, but neither is it terrible. The most major criticism I have for it is that some of the characters were perhaps a little stereotypical and one dimensional; as you can imagine a disaster film about gladiators is bound to be compared to well… Gladiator. On the good side though it kept me interested, had some exciting action scenes and good special effects. I thought the ending was also really sweet and poetic, although it might have had a stronger impact if the romance scenes had been better developed beforehand. If you’re expecting a serious historical film then you’ll probably be disappointed with Pompeii, but for a fun action film it hits the mark and is still worth a viewing.
Reviews are important, especially with the high cost of entertainment these days, we don’t really want to be wasting our money on something that is below standards. If something has a majority of bad reviews, then chances are they will be accurate. On the other hand if I based everything I experienced on what the reviews said I would have missed out on many things that I actually enjoy. I think that if you’re looking for something to criticise then you’re bound to find it. Trying to think analytically about how you’re feeling and why without breaking you immersion is also really difficult. Often at times I can see that an experience I’m having is flawed and yet I am still enjoying it regardless.
As well as allowing reviews to effect our own opinions I also see many people using them to judge others that don’t agree, even though we should all have the freedom to choose what we like and dislike for ourselves. For example I might get a new game and the first thing I hear is, “I noticed that game had bad reviews” rather than the preferred, “so are you enjoying your new game?” I have previously been nagged time and time again because the people around me couldn’t accept the fact that I was enjoying something with bad reviews, even though they themselves had never even tried it.
So do reviews put you off trying something? Are you capable of liking something despite the bad reviews? Have you ever been made to feel bad for liking something with low ratings, or vice versa?