Transformers – Critiquing the Critic

I’m usually not one for reading movie reviews. Most of the time, I find that instead of being honest about what they personally thought of a specific movie, the critics tend to be too concerned with what their readers will think of them. So they spout off about the artistic breakthrough of some horribly tedious movie and then bash on movies that were simply meant to be (as contemptible as it may seem) entertaining.

But during my lunch break a few days ago, I sat down at a local coffee shop and there on the table was a section of the New York Times with a large review of the new Transformers movie. At least that’s what it implied with the large robot image with the subtitle reading “Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots…” Since I’ve been curious how the Transformers movie will be received, I decided to go for it.

Unfortunately, what I proceeded to read was not a movie review at all. No, what I read from Manohla Dargis was a jumbled mess that started as a brief historical review of the Transformers line and a few common facts about the movie, a grade-school level “boys are stupid” review of the summer action movie genre as a whole, and a list of people who worked on the Transformers movie with mentions of the other things they had worked on that she didn’t particularly like either. She then complained about things like female leads having large breasts and obvious product placements as though those aren’t common fixtures of most Hollywood movies and she was stunned to see them here.

In fact, based on the absolute lack of any detail as to the actual movie outside what anyone could have found in previous write-ups and in the trailer, I have a hard time believing that she didn’t have at least the majority of the review written before she ever saw the movie.

I personally don’t care if she disdains the very thought of a big-budget action movie being made, but that’s not what a movie critic is supped to let us know. A good critic should be able to cross the lines of genre prejudice, and watch each movie for what it is. Transformers may very well be a horrible waste of film, but I want to know that based on the notion that the critic actually opened there mind to who and what the movie was made for.

I have no idea what I’ll think of it myself, so I’ll at least add a comment to this article once I see it. For reference, I’m not a huge fan of summer action movies myself in general, though I do like some. I think a lot of them are indeed a waste of film including everything else Michael Bay has even directed. Some of my favorite movies include The Spanish Prisoner, Much Ado About Nothing, The Sound of Music, The Fifth Element, The Princess Bride, Adventures in Babysitting, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Gattica, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Men in Black, and just about everthing Pixar has ever created. I like cartoons, mysteries, documentaries, musicals, sci-fi, you name it. They all contain good and bad movies and I refuse to listen to those who would bash an entire genre.

Rant over…

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