Random thoughts on cinema, business and why we go to the movies.
Seeing the latest Mad Max installment I have completely lost my faith in humanity as well as any interest in the mainstream cinema. Of course, it is boobs, explosions and all that jazz which sell the movie out to the masses but somewhat disregarding such an amazing lore this franchise gave birth to (fallout, which keeps getting more popular with every subsequent game, is one but not sole example) feels just rude.
The movie which claimed to be the blockbuster of the year ( and certainly was, at least according to the hype) introduced nothing but the shallowest of the plots and a 90-minute-long car chase sequence. To quote one of the reviewers, watching the trailer on loop for 2 hours would not leave you behind too much. The voice of reason told me not to bother after two trailers came out, but at the same time I had some hope left – they surely have to know that the Road Warrior was not only about the car chase right? As cool as it looked, it also gave a memorable portrayal of solitude, sparsity and morale after the world had ended.
They had to pick something up out of it.
But why bother.
The movie scored over 8 on imdb and close to 90 on meta-critic at the time I checked before my screening. Not bad right? Which furthers my ‘butthurt’: even though meta-critic is meant to be relatively… well, critical (contrary to Radio 1 which bases the recommendation on budget and the amount of ‘omg’ repeated by the hosts), it gave a hands down recommendation. There were a few voices claiming that the cinema is coming to an end and how rubbish it was but at that point I thought of them just like the dirty-crazy Woody harrelson type of people who preach the world’s end. Now I’m joining their ranks. In short, if you stayed out of the big screen duringthe Max Hype, you are most certainly not a looser.
But this long discourse brings me to what motivated me to write this post in the first place: it does not pay to give bad reviews even to shittiest movies as long as there’s money behind them. Think about it.
When a movie comes out or goes to DVD, there’s one element you can be sure to see on the posters: the stars. Bloody, shiny stars. We don’t like to be told what to do, but we like to be kindly suggested what’s better for us (as long as we figure it was us who made the call, not the other way round). Movies love to have someone tell the public that it’s worth your 10 pounds.
But is it?
In the overall decline of expectations and devotion to the plot, the major opinion-makers might attempt to keep dignity and not give Mad Max 5 stars. So is Mad Max going to list…uhm… 2 stars from The Times on the poster? Well, it would ruin the composition, so of course not. So it goes further. If it’s not The Times, maybe it’s Empire. If not, probably Daily Mail seen some hidden messages in it, right? Worst comes to worst Zoo or Front writers just had a quick break from looking at the boobs and drooled over some special effects. Here you go.
It pays of for non-leading opinion-makers to give good reviews, because when the movie sucks (and the big names are aware of it and can willfully express this opinion), it will be their name which appears on the poster or dvd cover next to the 5 stars. It’s like a free commercial for magazine or a website
Same applies on the Internets: if you are an indie video-maker and you express opinions, do you think an ‘average, not thought-through, super-shallow’ review of a movie is going to interest your audience and give hits more than ‘OMG YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS!!!!!1111one’ kind of headline?
To sum up, if there is anything to sum this up, no review except for a leader in the industry, is worth anything. Meh.
Call to action? Be critical. Want more. You will get more. The sheer definition of mainstream cinema is that it relies on the public and is designed to meet the public needs. So uhm, yes, it’s our fault that movies suck. If you think that movie is bad, don’t go watch it. Maybe it will send some kind of a message.