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26 September 2001 @ 02:06 pm
Movies  
I went to see The Musketeer last night with Allyn since the movie theatres were doing their benefit day thing.

Rottentomatoes.com is a cool site, but their scores really need to be taken with a grain of salt. You can generally trust the good scores, but sometimes everyone seems to get on a really negative kick and slam a movie that doesn't really deserve it.

The Musketeer got 17%. I was kind of suspicious of such a low number though and Allyn wanted to see it, so we went ahead.

Perhaps my perceptions were modified because I didn't go in expecting great things, but it seemed like a decent movie to me. There were some bad lines, and some scenes that really should have been reedited with a different cut, but overall it was fairly enjoyable.

I checked back with RottenTomatoes today, and they gave Planet of the Apes 47%! Clearly something is out of whack.

Perhaps it was because I was expecting more from Planet of the Apes. I'd heard some bad reviews before I went to see it, but my original hopes had been very high, so who knows how it balances out. I can say that whether or not my reaction was affected by my original expectations, I would rewatch Planet of the Apes, but only for the special effects, and to laugh at the plot holes. There was no cohesive story or development or anything. The Musketeer may have used cliched plot devices, but at least it had them.

I'll grant that some of the fight scenes are a little ludicrous in their choice of locales. (If someone is slimbing up a rope, why would you go down another rope to fight him instead of just cutting his rope?) however I would far rather grant them leeway for the purpose of setting up great fight scenes then allow them to get away with mutilating all character motivation and having people do things for no particular reason whatsoever.

At least one of those two scores is severely off from where it should be. If anything, I would say that they should be swaped with each other, though I'm not sure if I would rate Planet of the Apes that low. I don't know why The Musketeer reviews are almost universily filled with bile, while some of The Planet of the Apes reviews are glowing about how wonderful the plot is and how it blows the old version away.

I wonder if people are just so taken in by special effects that their brains just turn of? I don't expect genius from the movies, but thinking "that didn't make any sense at all!" for most of a movie really detracts from the experience for me.
 
 
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
 
 
 
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on September 26th, 2001 02:21 pm (UTC)
Rottentomatoes takes the fraction of bad reviews out of total reviews. It's not something that individual people at the site do; they just collect reviews from the web and do stats on them. So there's no "they" at rottentomatoes to "give" a movie a score.

Just letting you know.
DonAithnendonaithnen on September 26th, 2001 02:49 pm (UTC)
=P I know that silly =)

It's still an information source though, in that it collates a quality of information that was previously unavailable or hard to gather for yourself. Now instead of looking at two newspapers and a couple of websites, i can get a quick glance at just about every big and a lot of the medium reviews made.

I saw that their scores should be taken with a grain of salt because even though the people who gather the scores are not personally responsible for the results, there is a certainly level of accuracy and inaccuracy present in the data. Those scores do not necessarily reflect how I as a person or I as an average american will appreciate the film.

Since the scores are a conglomoration of all the easily acessible reviews made by movie critics, the results are a cross section of the movie critics' tastes.

The Musketeer got 17%, taken at a very very simple level, i might expect that if i asked 100 people who went to see the movie, about 17 of them would say that gnereally, yes they did, and the other 83 would say no, it's bad qualities outweighed the good.

I went to see the movie, and I liked it. It is possible that i'm one of the unusual 17%, but i didn't see any glaring problems that would lead 83% of the people to dislike it. It had action, it had a story, it didn't involve complicated ideas that might put some people off, and no humorous analogies to the size of the plot holes arose in my mind. It certainly didn't have the elements necessary for a great movie, but i don't think it had the problems that would make it a rotten one either.

The conclusions i can draw from this: i am weird, most people disliked the movie and my taste in movies is useless in comparison to anyone elses; the views of the movie critics are not analgous to those of the movie-going public; the movie critics are using a different set of criteria than i am to measure some aspect of the movie other than "how fun" it was.

Allyn said that she liked the movie, she wanted to see it because a friend of hers said that they liked it, i've heard people on the radio (other than the people in the commercials =) saying good things about it, so i'm a little more inclined to lean away from the "it's all cause i'm weird" conclusion.

Looking at the scores, the tenative conclusion i would reach is that the critics are a lot more sure of what makes a great movie than they are of the differnece between a mediocre movie and a bad movie.

Whether or not their conclusions about the movies in those categories are completly out of touch with the general population or not i don't know, ie, whether the majority of them ended up using criteria different from what you and i might use.

Perhaps they're measuring the movies against the criteria of greatness. Perhaps Planet of the Apes got higher scores because it had a larger potential for greatness. However when it comes down to the question of which i want to see, I'd rather go to the mediocre movie that fulfilled it's ambitions well rather than the one that aimed at greatness but got mangled on the journey.

Well ok, it's kind of interesting to see the mangled remains the first time, but if i were to choose a movie to rent to see a second time right now, i'd probably go for the Musketeer rather than Planet of the Apes.

Um, anyway, what i was trying to say before i distracted myself =) I think that the really high scores are fairly safe to trust, provided of course that you are interested in the genre of movie being reviewed. However the mid to low scores are really hit and miss. You can try to read each individual review for each movie, but that's time consuming, and not guaranteed to give you any better idea than just looking at the percent and oneliners provided up front.
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on September 26th, 2001 06:57 pm (UTC)
I can say that I had no real desire to see either movie, and that I've only seen one ad for the Musketeer, and it didn't look very good.

(I also never heard of America's Sweethearts until some people talked about it on a message board. It sounded really lame. And Pearl Harbor is still ass. "A thousand people died that day. This movie is not about them." - Ebert, I think.)

But if they list or link to a lot of reviews, you can still read them and find out what the critics said about the movie in question. And if there's a critic whose tastes tend to be similar to your own, you can see what that critic said.

I happen to think that most of the current popular entertainment is utter tripe. So I won't go see 98% of movies (or watch 98% of tv shows, especially that reality shit.)
DonAithnendonaithnen on September 27th, 2001 12:00 am (UTC)
I'm willing to turn my mind of to a certain extent. Not so much that Pearl Harbor was any good of course =) (my company did a trip there, so i didn't really have much of a choice about it)

However America's Sweethearts was nice. Not great certainly, but leaning towards the romantic-type as i do, i'm always a sucker for the protagonist suddenly realizing that it's the shy person who loved them from afar that they really care about.

I have enough brain engaging hobies that hopefully i'll be forgiven for a little mindless entertainment =)