Movie Reviewers Need To Lighten Up

Published 8 years ago by , Updated July 18th, 2013 at 9:35 am,

ff rt Movie Reviewers Need To Lighten UpWhen reviewing movies, I form my own opinion – but one of my favorite websites for helping me decide whether or not to go see a movie is I really like the “consensus” approach they use in determining whether or not a movie is good or bad in a general sense.

If you’re not familiar with the site, it gathers reviews from across the web and based on the ratings of individual reviews determines whether the movie gets a ripe or rotten tomato. 60% and above overall positive reviews garners a film a ripe tomato, indicating that it’s a good flick according to the majority. Anything under that gets a rotten tomato. My experience is that anything down to about 50% can be a pretty good bet depending on the genre and your personal tastes, although the lower you go the more likely you won’t like a movie no matter what.

Up until this past week I’ve almost always been in agreement with the overall consensus, but I think the majority of reviewers out there really need to lighten up based on the ratings for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

In my review of the film I gave it stars. Now FF2 was no Citizen Kane, but then it didn’t set out to be. It was a fun movie and a vast improvement over the first film. Sure, it had it’s problems (Jessica Alba’s acting, for one) but in the end it was an entertaining escape for an hour and a half.

I just don’t understand some of the really nasty comments made by reviewers about this movie. Here are some examples:

“(Director Tim) Story can’t sustain anything resembling a mood, let alone a sense of gravity.”

Um, the idea here was to not make a “heavy” movie. If you want a sense of gravity in a superhero flick, go watch Spider-Man 3 (wasn’t THAT one fun) or Batman Begins.

“Rise of the Silver Surfer is an existentially and aesthetically unnecessary sequel to the equally irrelevant if depressingly successful Fantastic Four.”

I just love that one. Is the reviewer talking about a superhero movie or something shown on the Independent Film Channel?

“Surfer is just as lousy on every level as its predecessor.”

Um, sorry, but that’s no true.

“For non comic book fans over the age of 13, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer is a tedious, incoherent bore. For comic book fans of any age, it is an atrocity.”

Ok, the target audience is, are you ready…? Kids and comic book fans. And “an atrocity”? Are you kidding me? Save that witty quote for Catwoman. Heck, I wouldn’t even use a term like that to describe Ghost Rider, and I did not like that movie at all.

My personal philosophy regarding movie reviews here at Screen Rant is that one should often review a movie within the context of it’s genre. That’s why on my 5 Star Movies page you’ll see a Sci-Fi flick like Serenity and a comedy like Kung Fu Hustle on the same page as the outstanding documentary Enemies of Happiness.

Each of the above movies succeeds at its goal, whether that be to give you a great Sci-Fi experience where you care about the story and characters, to make you laugh hysterically, or to enlighten you about some topic you weren’t aware of. Having said that, of course you can have movies that fail even within their genre and I’ll call it like I see it. I’ll also admit that my personal subjectivity regarding the content of a film sometimes comes into play when I’m writing a review, but that’s part of my reviewing style.

I don’t write movie reviews for other critics, I write them for regular folks who are trying to decide whether or not to plunk down their hard earned money to go see a movie. That’s why I don’t often mention things like cinematography or esoteric aspects of a movie – of course all that factors into the final product, but I approach a review from the very basic “was it a good movie or not” point of view. Was I entertained? Moved emotionally? Blown away? Those are my benchmarks and I think they’re yours as well.

End of rant.

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  1. That was Perfect! That exactly how I felt about Rotten Tomatoe and other critic sites, but it really didn’t surpise me because most critics base ALL movie as deep dramas. I’ve learned that you have to read open-comment sites like yours(Kudos) to get a ‘real’ and honest poll/idea of what to expect from movies that I may go see. Excluding the @ssholes at AICN which are 90% of the time harshly negative and immature. Anyways, heres hoping to FF3!

  2. Thanks, Adrian. I’m still a big fan of RT, despite the latest wierdness regarding FF2. :-)

    And, yeah AICN… that site seems to attract a really bad element.


  3. Here, here! About time someone realised reviews should be made in the context if a film’s intent rather than its overall position in the world of film. I’ve not seen FF2 yet – it opens today here in Oz – but I actually really liked the first one and hope to enjoy this one even more. Oh… and I’m usually picky.

  4. I’m with you, I base my reviews on how well the movie accomplished what it set out to do and though I haven’t written my review yet, I can tell you I wholeheartedly agreed with yours.

    That said, I sometimes wonder the same thing about ‘critics’. I just don’t see how one can go from watching FF2 to “Letters from Iwo Jima” and try to rate them on the same merits. It simply doesn’t work and you end up with some comments that just seem way out of left field.

  5. “I just don’t see how one can go from watching FF2 to ‘Letters from Iwo Jima’ and try to rate them on the same merits.”

    Exactly my point. Not all movies can be “high art” yet it’s possible for even a more pedestrian film to be extremely entertaining and fun.


  6. Well… I saw it… and all I can say is I will never trust a critic again. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the film (and I can be fussy – ‘X3′ was crap), there was nothing wrong with it! More than any other film I’ve seen, this one truly doesn’t deserve the lashing it’s getting one little bit.

  7. Amen Vic! Amen! ’bout time someone said that! Amen!