Perhaps the natural gas industry doesn't have as much to fear from Matt Damon's "Promised Land" as previously thought. 

The film, which has been feared for its anti-fracking message ever since it was announced earlier this year, has been receiving mixed reviews - with even Mother Jones lamenting it as a missed opportunity to make an impact. 

"If Matt Damon & Co. really wanted to make a movie that would scare American audiences off of fracking for good, they should have just made a movie dramatizing fracking's potential threat to America's beer," writes Asawin Suebsaeng. "Instead, what we get is a quaint love story wrapped in a conspiracy movie, draped in a toothless political polemic, festooned with mawkish aimlessness."

Ouch. In a new interview with Playboy, Damon says the intent was never to create a hardcore environmental film. 

"We went to the studio saying, “Who f***ing wants to go see an anti-fracking movie?” and were all in agreement. When we were working on the script, it was about wind farms, but we changed it to fracking—a good issue because the stakes are so high. That s**t is real. They’re debating about letting it happen in New York now. To us, the movie was really about American identity. We loved the characters because they felt like real people making the kinds of compromises you have to just to live your life."

Over on Rotten Tomatoes, the film is currently skirting just below 50% in favorable reviews - a lowly number that does not generally fortell success at the box office. I'll be curious to see how it does this weekend with audiences (although those in attendance at early screenings have passed even harsher judgment - with only a 39% rating.) 

If you've seen the film, let us know what you thought in the comments.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Shaky reviews for Matt Damon's 'Promised Land'
New film focuses on a small Pennsylvania town dealing with the hotly controversial issue of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.