I’m in the middle of a Steampunk Romance Week over at my blog, which includes interviewing some great visiting authors. The first question that I’ve been asking the guest authors is, “What is your definition of steampunk?” For every author, there is a different answer — and so, after a while, I do start wondering: Am I just confusing the issue? Is it important to know how someone defines steampunk, as long as you enjoy what you’re reading?
But it wasn’t the comments or anything else that has come up this week that decided me. No, instead it was one of my most anticipated movies of the fall … MONSTERS. It isn’t out for a week or two, but I was in one of those completely burned-out moments this weekend, where I didn’t want to do anything but sit and veg in front of a movie, and I found it on pre-theatrical On Demand at Amazon. Here’s the trailer:
And this is what I said about it a few weeks ago:
One of my favorite horror novellas is Stephen King’s “The Mist” — and although I love the whole story, the part that stuck with me the most was this bit toward the end, when the characters are on the road, and they get a glimpse of … something. A monster so huge, it’s indescribable and awesome in every sense of the word. And because of that, I always wanted a story or a movie that told us: What came next? What the hell was out there? This isn’t that story, but it’s the closest thing I’ve seen to it so far.
Well, that wasn’t the movie that I got. The movie that I got was thoughtful, slow-paced, and well done (the locations are gorgeous), but it wasn’t the kind of movie that I’d expected from that trailer, and with a title like MONSTERS. I think I was expecting a DISTRICT 9, except with bigger aliens. A LOT bigger aliens.
Since then, I’ve found out that it had been filmed on a rumored $15,000 budget, and that the scenes weren’t completely scripted — that some of the dialogue came from the actors. (If I’d known that, I definitely wouldn’t have expected an action film.) I don’t know if any of that is true, but learning that info immediately gave me a different view of the film, and if I’d been going into it AFTER finding out these little details, I would have adjusted my expectations.
Did I like the film? Yes, I did. I liked it for what it was, but there is a part of me that is disappointed. There is also another part of me that wonders if I’d have enjoyed it more if I was going into it with expectations that fit the movie.
(Aside: I think this is totally different than going in with the expectation that I’d see a GOOD movie. That expectation was fulfilled completely. It’s also different than going in to, say, a Resident Evil movie and expecting something good or bad. I just expect to see Alice kicking ass, and that makes me happy — a good movie would just be icing.)
I do like to be surprised, but usually I like the surprise to be that a movie is better than I expected (I’m not a fan of most romantic comedies, for example, and so if I accidentally see one and I like, it’s like a miracle from on high!) and not that the movie is a different genre or different flavor than I went in to see.
If a movie is good enough, though, I can get over that disappointment … but if it’s bad? Gah. Rage!
So I’m curious — can you think of something that you went into with certain expectations of style/genre/tone and got something else … but you liked it anyway?
And is there anything that you saw or read that didn’t match your expectations, and it might have been good … but you can’t get over your disappointment that it wasn’t what you’d wanted?