It's summer movie season, which means HUUUGE blockbusters of CG-epic proportions. So far, we have seen Thor. And when I saw Thor, I thought, "Hey, this summer could BE something." Because Thor is magnificent fun. Well crafted, nicely cast, a great-looking movie with a genuinely likable star at its core. Like the first Iron Man, the writers and director put their enthusiasm for the material and the fun of summer movies right out there. If they have fun, chances are that you will, too. And Thor delivers. There are approximately four billion other superhero movies coming out this summer. One prequel/sequel (X-Men) and the fourth movie in a franchise -- Pirates of the Caribbean 4. Its full name is Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides, because Disney bought the rights to Tim Powers' terrific novel. Which happens if you decide to make a pirate movie about the fountain of youth and would rather not be sued. I didn't have to see Pirates 4 to know that Tim Powers' book is far, far better than the film would be. But that's kind of a no-brainer. It's tough for ANY movie to be as good as a Tim Powers novel. However, I was kinda hoping that after the reception received by the last two Pirates movies that this one, due to its lofty parentage, would be fun. You know; like the first Pirates movie.
Incidentally, I will admit to a secret thrill at seeing Tim Powers' name on a big screen and a movie poster. But I would get a bigger thrill if it was for, say, Last Call, Declare or The Anubis Gates. No prequel/sequelness or Captain Jack nonsense attached.
I still haven't seen Pirates 4, but this guy has. And based on his review, well... just read it and come back.
Are we all here again? Good.
Pirates made a ton of money this weekend (I haven't looked. It's just an easy assumption to make, because if you call something a blockbuster, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy). What this says to Disney is, "PIRATES FUCKING FIVE." Because according to the box office (they used to call them receipts. So cute!), the moviegoing audience gave Pirates a big thumbs up. Now, it doesn't matter if the entire audience came out projectile vomiting because they hated it so much. What matters is, THEY PAID TO GET IN. And as we all know, getting someone to pay for something is the best thing to which we as a culture can aspire.
According to the reviews, Pirates 4 should be a huge failure. Because the reviews said it wasn't very good. Some of the reviews said it was less than not very good. But only this guy's review called you a cunt if you liked the movie. Because anyone writing for a publication -- anyone who lists "film reviewer" on his unemployment form, I mean, tax return -- will not call the audience cunts. They just won't. Nor will they call out a studio for being cynical. They MAY have some harsh words for directors (although when they hate a film, they'll mostly blame the writers), and maybe they hate a performance, but there's a LINE, see, an invisible but well known Maginot line for how far you can go in your criticism when you are a part of the machine.
Dude who actually writes an honest review of a film that encompasses the larger, more cynical, hateful world of entertainment? He isn't working for Entertainment Weekly. He's a guy who paid to go see a movie. Disney didn't invite him to the set, or the premiere. He didn't get to have his picture taken with Johnny Depp. He doesn't work at Ain't It Cool News.
He's just a guy. An audience member. And although Disney gladly accepted his money, he has a voice and Goddam it, he's going to use it. If scores on Rotten Tomatoes really counted, if people like this guy wrote reviews on their phones as they were sitting through the credits, IF IT MATTERED, then eventually, over time, MAYBE, movies would get better. At the very least, studios that foist crap onto an audience that willingly swallows it might, for a second, BLINK. But if an audience keeps turning out for bad movies, like they will no doubt turn out for the execrably reviewed Hangover 2: Electric Boogaloo, then why shouldn't a studio keep making them? A studio -- a corporation -- has one main goal: To Make Money.
If you are a part of the machine, one of its cogs, that big bit at the center that everyone thinks is so crucial, or a rusty part that works really hard but doesn't get any of the credit, you do not share your opinion of "If you liked this movie, you are a cunt." There are truths that are known in this business, but unless you want to just pack up and leave, you don't acknowledge them. And even film reviewers and TV journalists are a part of this machine. So when people wonder why entertainment isn't as good as they think it should be, all they have to do is point-blank ask someone in the business what their real opinion is of something and their tepid, avoidy answer will tell you everything you need to know.
It's going to take the audience to stop fostering this belief that just because you call something a blockbuster, that makes it so. And sure, it'll happen one person at a time, but guys, you have the Internet. You have social networking. If there's nothing to dissuade the general masses from seeing lousy movies (and again, I haven't seen Pirates so I'm only going by this guy's review, because HELLO, look at what I said above about being avoidy), there IS something to be said for seeing the bad movie, and then being LOUD about it.
It isn't going to come from the industry itself. It's going to come from the audience. So when you see something you don't like, speak up. And while you're at it, stop watching reality shows too, okay?