JJ Abrams loves a good mystery and, as an amateur magician, loves a big surprise. One look at his TV show Lost and his feature film Cloverfield and you can see that he has taken the art of a secret to a new level…and his new Star Trek film is no exception. Now Abrams talks to the Jossip blog about why he doesn’t like them spoilers.
The Entertainment Weekly article “Spoiler Nation: Secrets About Movie/TV Secrets Revealed!” offers the two sides of the argument for and against spoilers. Abrams is clearly in the anti-spoiler camp. From the article:
For J.J. Abrams, creator of Alias and director of Mission: Impossible III, the growth of spoiler culture has become so alarming, he made a movie in response to it: Cloverfield. Abrams saw his monster flick — shot on the down low and marketed with coy, minimum-disclosure teasers — as a protest against an information overload era where ”people think they’ve experienced things before they really have.” Now the director is shooting the new Star Trek movie, and he finds himself at odds with rabid Trekkies who want to know ”every gory detail about a movie that’s still a year away.” He respects their hunger, but is convinced they are better off waiting until May 8, 2009. ”Learning raw detail and experiencing that detail as it was intended are two totally different things,” he says. ”I would argue that not knowing those details in advance is a more refreshing way to live when it comes to entertainment.”
TrekMovie point of view
Abrams of course has a point. A pure surprise is always an enjoyable experience. However, the Jossip Blog points out “Some see spoiler sites as a pop culture version of Consumer Reports.” TrekMovie agrees. The new Star Trek movie is a new team with a new approach taking on an important TV and film franchise. It is full of many pitfalls and the ‘installed base’ of consumers (aka ‘Trekkies’) range from curious to cautious to downright concerned about the end product. This site has endeavored to keep the Trek community informed with both ‘secret’ and not so secret information in order to help inform the Trekkies, build the Trek brand, and increase the comfort level with the new team. In addition, Spoilers are always an ‘opt-in’ option as well, as Spoilers are labeled as such. That being said there are certain types of spoilers we would not want to reveal, like how the movie ends or any other ‘Luke I am your Father’ level of surprise.
The difference with the new Star Trek movie and a film like Cloverfield is that Trek is a known quantity and so for the general film going audience and the Trekkie audience, there are some pre-conceived notions, many of which could keep people away from the theaters and so they will never see the ‘surprise.’ Spoilers and information on the film can help some make their purchase decision and for others can help build enthusiasm to turn them into evangelists for the film. This approach is actually embraced by some film makers and TV producers. EW cites the example of Heroes, which like Trek is trying to reuild their fanbase:
After a disappointing second season, NBC plans on spilling much beanage over the summer to convince fans that the show is back on track. ”We have to show our wares,” says exec producer Tim Kring, who hopes to screen the Sept. 22 season premiere at Comic-Con in July. ”If getting buzz means spoiling some things, I’ll take buzz any day.”
And of course we are giving people what they want. In a recent poll 94% of visitors said they read spoilers.
What do you think?
Do you like spoilers? Do they help build excitement or do they tamper it?