Jordan Vogt-Roberts, director of this year's Kong: Skull Island, has taken issue with the YouTube channel CinemaSins - calling them out on social media. By now, many cinephiles are probably aware of CinemaSins, makers of the "Everything Wrong With" videos that shine a spotlight on the perceived flaws of a given project. As their slogan says, no movie is without sin, and they'll target anything from an Oscar winner to a widely-panned, overproduced mess. The channel's primary function is entertainment purposes, as those who run it openly admit they are not seriously critiquing a film and are just nitpicking.
That level of self-awareness is appreciated, but apparently it doesn't connect with everyone - particularly the directors of CinemaSins' victims. Back in 2013, Rian Johnson called the video pinpointing the sins of Looper (his acclaimed sci-fi drama) "oddly nasty," and now another filmmaker has decided to push back. On the day CinemaSins placed a spotlight on Kong: Skull Island, Vogt-Roberts came to the defense of his MonsterVerse installment.
Taking to Twitter, the director posted a thread offering his thought on not just the Skull Island video, but the channel overall and what it possibly means for the film industry moving forward. In his original tweet, Vogt-Roberts to the famous comedic program Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Mystery Science Theatre built something artful, endearing and comedic on top of the foundation other people's work. It had merit to itself.
— Jordan Vogt-Roberts (@VogtRoberts) August 15, 2017
The gist of Mystery Science Theater is a person (originally a janitor named Joel) is held against his will and forced by mad scientists to watch a series of B-movies. In the first seasons, Joel would create robot companions to keep him company and riff on whatever film was playing. While the reaction from those parodied was unsurprisingly mixed, Mystery Science Theater won a Peabody Award in 1993 and has gone down as one of the most famous cult shows in history. As Vogt-Roberts says, it was a program that was able to stand on its own merits and it even brought recognition to some lesser-known movies. In a way, one could argue it was celebrating the oddity of B-movie cinema and having good-natured laughs at its expense.
In Vogt-Robert's series of tweets, he points out what he feels to be the key difference between CinemaSins and Mystery Science 3000. Whereas the latter used B-movies as a foundation to create something entertaining, the former is accused of sucking the "life blood" out of creators. The director points out several things wrong with the CinemaSins video on Skull Island, illustrating at times the makers of said video were barely paying attention to the movie. Film, of course, is subjective, meaning opinions will vary. Vogt-Roberts isn't disagreeing with the idea of negative reviews (he says he enjoys reading them), but he finds CinemaSins "infuriating" because they dwell too much on the negative and aren't compelling in their execution. Satire can be great, but Vogt-Roberts would like for it to be smart instead of "dumbing the conversation." Time will tell if CinemaSins will change their approach in light of Vogt-Roberts' comments, but there will always be CinemaWins for those in search of a more positive spin.
Kong: Skull Island is now available on Blu-ray and digital.
Source: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) release date: May 31, 2019
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020