Making things personal in movie terms usually comes down to making the character petty. In The Hobbit, for instance, when Thorin sees a personal enemy he immediately forgets about helping any other of his so-called allies and friends. I interpreted this as a personal flaw, which suited because I know Thorin's fate from the book. It didn't heighten the tension one bit. And if it was intended to make me like Thorin, despite knowing his fate, it was grossly misconceived.
The cumulative effects of movies making it personal has been to convince me that Hollywood producers can't conceive of anyone doing anything that doesn't serve a personal goal. Especially doing the dirty on someone you don't like.