Monday, June 29, 2009

Worst Reviewed $400 Million Hit?

A new article on Breitbart.com points out that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen has the likihood of being "the worst-reviewed movie ever to make the $400 million club (domestically)." I assume they mean domestically since the worldwide total is nearly $400 million. Thanks to Mike for the link.

The movie pulled in $201.2 million since opening Wednesday, the second-best result for a movie in its first five days, just behind "The Dark Knight" with $203.8 million. Even after its whopping $60.6 million opening day, "Revenge of the Fallen" was packing theaters, a sign that unlike critics, who mostly hated the movie, audiences felt they were getting their money's worth and were giving the flick good word of mouth.

Critics "forget what the goal of the movie was. The goal of the movie is to entertain and have fun," said Rob Moore, vice chairman of Paramount, which is distributing "Transformers" for DreamWorks. "What the audience tells us is, `We couldn't be more entertained and having more fun.' They kind of roll their eyes at the critics and say, `You have no idea what you're talking about.'"

According to Paramount's exit polls, 91 percent of the audience thought the sequel was as good as or better than the first "Transformers," which received far better reviews.

Not so for the new "Transformers." On Rottentomatoes.com, a Web site that compiles critics' opinions, the sequel had only 38 positive reviews out of 187, a lowly 20 percent rating usually reserved for box-office duds.

Many critics who liked the movie had reservations, praising the movie's visual effects and relentless action but generally advising audiences to check their brains at the door. On Metacritic.com, a site that assigns ratings of zero to 100 based on movie reviews, "Revenge of the Fallen" received a 36, a lowly score barely above those given to recent box-office duds "Year One" and "Land of the Lost."

Of the eight movies that have grossed more than $400 million domestically, four scored 90 percent or higher on Rottentomatoes: "The Dark Knight," "Spider-Man," "E.T. the Extra-terrestrial" and "Star Wars." Two others, "Shrek 2" and "Titanic," topped 80 percent.
The article doesn't mentioned that while the critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a drubbing, the community's average score is 68%. On Metacritic, the users score is 60 out of 100.

Overall, I think its the usual disconnect between critics and the audience and the different set of requirements each have. To me, any critic should answer a simple question when writing a movie review - "Is the movie entertaining?". When they fail to consider that question as part of their judgement, you get the wide disconnect between the audience and the critic that this movie illustrates. Most of the reviews I read focused on how loud the movie was, how weak the story, how insulting the jokes but few actually addressed that critical question - is it entertaining?

Critics tend to judge movies as a form of art looking for themes, acting tour de forces, scenary chewing and so forth. For the general audience, the goal is often a desire to escape from life for a few hours, to be entertained with anything beyond that is a nice bonus. Cutting off your brain and enjoying two hours of loud escapism isn't a bad thing. That is what Transformers 2 is for most, just two and half hours of great entertainment, something most critics failed to judge the movie on and something they should address if they want to truly reflect the audience they are trying to reach.

23 comments:

  1. exactly my point. movies aren't considered art. acting is a art, like theatre arts, but the actual movie isn't, its entertainment. you can treat it like an art, such as titanic or romeo and juliet, but you have to consider all movies as a form of entertainment. why do you think movies were invented?

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  2. Just to let you know how "bad" this movie is, my wife, who does not like this kind of movie, went with me on wed to see it. SHE is taking me to see it again tonight. She has put this movie as one of her all time favorites to date. As a huge fan of this story from day one (i just gave away my age) I think all in all the story was good, the action was great and there were a couple of points in the move where i almost cried. I actually think my wife did. ANY movie that can invoke that kind of emotion has done it's job well

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  3. Finally, an article that actually gets it right. This movie is gonna be big because it does so well what it was intended to do. That is to entertain. It's got enough plot to move it along, acting good enough to get the plot points through, and awesome cgi, action, explosions, fighting ... well, all of that. This movie is just fun. And let's be honest, the first one had some serious problems too, but we remember that one fondly.

    For those that feel that this should have been closer to the original G1 series, I say it was close enough to work with G1 fans and with those too young to have experienced those cartoons. You have to find a balance, or you get the flop that was Watchmen. It was very loyal to the original, and only loyal fans went to see it.

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  4. After I saw it opening day, I wasn't very impressed. After my second viewing, I enjoyed it a bit more, although I noticed a few more flaws.

    But regardless, it's an ENTERTAINING movie in hindsight; and that's all that really matters in a movie like this. You're not going into Transformers expecting some Oscar-worthy movie, you're going into it expecting fun and explosions - it delivers in that department.

    Critics are just close-minded: they CAN'T be entertained unless it's a movie with great performances, dialouge, script, etc. They can't just sit back and gawk and pretty explosions.

    -Ian

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  5. Ok I'm sorry but when the biggest justification for a movie is "you have to leave your brain at the door", then your movie REALLY has a problem. I don't remember that statement popping up in so many POSITIVE reviews for any given "entertaining" movie in the past.

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  6. Between satisfying the critics and the audience....the best way is simply follow the money.

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  7. Remember this is the "Empire strikes back" of the Transformers series. Theres more to come!

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  8. It is all a conspiracy against Bay and people who play with toys. Right? It really is a shame the critics judged the movie as a.... movie instead of an amusement park ride.

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  9. the movie sucked.

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  10. movie was okay, not great but not horrible. screw the critics. the only reason they bash movies is because they are afraid if they see they like a certain movie that other people will look down upon them and they won't be viewed as viable "critics". who cares what they think? the transformers franchise is for the fans and we don't care about anyone else. at least I don't.

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  11. Why didnt Sam use the All Spark to revive Prime like he did with Jetfire?

    It could have saved us a lot of rubbish acting , time and BS plotlines

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  12. this movie is 60% hype and 40% kaboom. poor dialouge, weak story, terrible character development. overall i was very dissappointed. it was ok, far from great, first one was better

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  13. -You have to find a balance, or you get the flop that was Watchmen. It was very loyal to the original, and only loyal fans went to see it.-

    I believed Watchmen was a good film and the only reason it flopped was because of the changed ending which then left critics room to make complaints.

    -Why didnt Sam use the All Spark to revive Prime like he did with Jetfire?-

    There were only 2 Allspark fragments. One is inside Megatron the other was absorbed into Jetfire. So he couldnt have used the All Spark.

    -Remember this is the "Empire strikes back" of the Transformers series-

    Thats probably why the critics hated it. It seemed to have a lot of elements from Star Trek such as The Fallen having the (Force) Telekenisis.

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  14. This movie took 1 and a half years to make. Don't you know how friggin hard it is to make?! The 1st one took 3 years to make it,that's why it was able to appeal to the viewers. So you can't expect so much from it. Trust me,movie critics these days are interested in the negative parts of the movies instead of the positive parts.

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  15. well, to be honest i was surprised that this new sequel surpasses the old one and the movie is really good, yes, sure, it has holes in the plot and in moments stupid acting... but it was full with action and packed with my favourite robots from my childhood ... i say screw the critics... for the first film they told "we expect more robots and action" and now that is given one they say its to much
    my ratings for this movie is 4/5

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  16. Whoever gave critics the authority to decide which movies are "good" and which are "bad". Let the people decide. I for one am fed up with the "Hollywood elite" force-feeding us movies in which we The People just don't want to watch.

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  17. well the general census in the viewers eye wasn't great either. most people i have heard from are in agreement that the first one was better and this one was ok but forgettable. and saying they did this in 1 and a half years isnt impressive or an excuse. the studio and producers chose to rush it. there own damn fault.

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  18. I place a lot of the blame on the script writers. In have yet to see a film by Kurtzman and Orci that really moved me. Star Trek, while smoother had the same goofy humor and lack of patiences as TF 1 and TF 2. While Bay when given an adequate script has been shown to construct a decent movie, i.e. Armageddon and Bad Boys.

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  19. The All spark was Absorbed by Jetfire??? What a bunch of rubbish , No wonder Bay and the writers get away with writing utter tosh what with fans like you .

    How come the All spark wasnt "Absorbed" by the Kitchen bots then ??

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  20. Scorpio , you sir are an utter tool

    Prime Died way before Jetfire, Sam could have revived Prime first .

    Also Ravage uses the All spark fragment to create those constructicons, The doctor uses it to revive Megatron ...

    Face it these douchebag writers will tell you anything and mongs like you will lap it up

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  21. Scorpio's talking nonsense again ....nothings changed I see

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  22. I've been with out a computer for sometime (relying on a library computer that is difficult to do anything that isn't research oriented) and had no idea of how this movie was doing. I was really ticked and worried when most people in my class said they hated it and the reviews were bad. This blog gave me peace of mind that not everyone is buying in the critics harsh judements. I can now breath again.

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  23. "well the general census in the viewers eye wasn't great either. most people i have heard from are in agreement that the first one was better and this one was ok but forgettable. and saying they did this in 1 and a half years isnt impressive or an excuse. the studio and producers chose to rush it. there own damn fault." - Anonymous

    It depends on what exactly (some)TF fans said to Michael Bay when doing the 2nd movie. It may not even be MB's decision to rush it but someone who is working with him chose to rush it. Right now (some)people/fans are now saying they want to watch it on 2011 while Bay said it'll be released on 2012. If you are 1 of the TF fans then I'm gonna laugh hard at you. Seriously,you can't tell who's fault it is.

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