Whether we play a game, read a book, listen to music, or watch a film, forming an opinion of it is inevitable. Even the standby of “I don’t much of an opinion on it” is itself an opinion, paradoxically enough. Most of the time, where we stand when it comes to assessing a work begins to form once the credits roll, the final word is read, or the closing track fades out. The positive and negative feelings we are left with form the basis of our opinions.
However, as time goes on, it’s not uncommon for our opinions to change. Sometimes, we’ll begin to think highly of something we once dismissed while in other cases, opinions of things we used to like will begin to sour. For the purposes of this question, we will be focusing on the latter scenario.
On the subject of films, there is only one answer I could give that would even begin to do the question justice: District 9. When I walked out of that theater back in 2009, I was thoroughly impressed. I even bought into the wildly unrealistic premise that, in a first-contact situation, human beings would throw aliens into the slums. Nowadays, I consider it one of the worst films to have ever gotten that level of critical acclaim.
A major turning point occurred when a famous internet personality declared it to be terrible. I brushed it off at first, but the more I began thinking about that video, the more I realized that he was right all along. The idea that humans would throw aliens into slums at the first opportunity is an example of an unrealistic premise getting a pass because it’s cynical. I, on the other hand, feel it doesn’t just ruin the suspension of disbelief; the premise was seemingly conceived treating the phenomenon as an alien concept. Even worse, within the confines of the District 9 universe, first contact was made in the eighties when science fiction and space travel were arguably at the height of their popularity. I get that this was supposed to be a metaphor for the Apartheid era in South Africa, but I think it would’ve been more worthwhile to create a film focused on that rather than resort to misbegotten metaphors which only succeed in cheapening the subject matter while coming across as openly misanthropic. One cannot bring to light a serious issue with a defeatist’s attitude.
So why did I originally like it so much? A lot of it had to do with me having gone such a long time without seeing a good film in theaters. Even all these years later, I can attest that the summer of 2009 was a horrible season for summer blockbusters. How can I demonstrate my case? Simple. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen spent most of that time dominating the box office. Even something as drab as District 9 looked like a masterpiece by comparison. Followed up by the pretty-but-lacking-in-substance Avatar, science fiction was really not putting its best foot forward that year (despite Hollywood issuing the great Star Trek reboot earlier).
When it comes to video games, longtime readers might expect to me to answer with Mother 3, as it’s not exactly a game I’ve viewed favorably in hindsight. Though it would be a good answer, I don’t think it would be the best one. The main reason why this is concerns the fact that I was never really on board with its heavy-handed diatribes in the first place. However, I also still think it’s redeemable enough to the extent where I couldn’t quite dissuade people from trying it out for themselves.
No, I think the best possible answer I have for this question would be Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures. I really liked this game as a kid for its unique gameplay and Pac-Man’s hilarious animations whenever something bad happens to him, which was often (and in some cases, unavoidable). When I got older and watched somebody’s Let’s Play of it, I wondered what the hell I was thinking and began to see what a flawed experience it was. Granted, I was eight when I tried it out for the first time, so I didn’t know any better, but still. I am amazed I managed to complete it without a guide when I’ve seen many adults fail to do so. As my friend, Aether, so aptly put it, “this is a game you don’t so much as play as have some mild input and hope it works out for the best”. How could I even begin to recommend an experience like that?
So now it’s your turn.
What is a work you used to adore, but strongly dislike nowadays?