The opinion piece quoted below makes some good points about movies that are moved around being subjected to more scrutiny, but I think Wonder Woman 1984 is a bad example to use. The film was underwhelming compared to the first, as are the vast majority of sequels. Did it help that it was delayed multiple times? No, but by the time we got to see it, over a year later than originally planned and through 9 months of a crippling pandemic, people were expecting a better movie than screened. That’s on Patty Jenkins and her creative team.
But check out the piece.
Nielsen continued, “I think that what happens psychologically is that a lot of movies like that then get into this insecure territory where they’re up for a judgment that would not normally have happened. The fact that it was moved so many times, put it under scrutiny that it did not deserve. It also, as a sophomore film, will always be compared to the one before.”
“Wonder Woman 1984” was originally going to open on December 13, 2019, before Warner Bros. settled on November 1, 2019. The movie’s first big release push came when the film bumped to June 5, 2020
Had Wonder Woman 1984 released originally, instead of the studio getting greedy and trying to milk more $$$ out of it in summer 2020 it would have made more money. I don’t think anybody would argue differently there, but if you want to do so, the comments area is below.
Hindsight is 20/20 but we all know what happened in March 2020 and it spelled doom for that release date. There weren’t any theaters open to show the movie, so they had to push it back again — and again. Ultimately Christmas 2020 wasn’t much of a present when the movie wasn’t that good.
Now, to go back to the beginning of this post, even if Wonder Woman 1984 had released in 2019 has planned, I don’t think the reviews would have been any less critical. We’ll never know, but the article speculates this contributed to the overall criticism of the film itself. I can’t disagree any more. It simply doesn’t matter how or when a movie is released what the review community will think of the movie. I might prefer a movie be screened in a theater vs. home, but that doesn’t have any impact on the review itself. If I like the story, the acting, the experience enough, it’s getting a recommendation. I could care less when it is reviewed.
Look at Avatar 2 for perhaps a better as yet unproven example. We don’t know anything about if the film will be any good and it’s been delayed more than Wonder Woman 1984 ever could have been. Whenever we finally see Avatar 2 in theaters — presumably December 2022 as of this current writing, but who knows if that date will hold — will the many delays make critics more critical? I think some will focus on the delays in their commentary but I don’t think it will increase their criticism of the movie itself. Maybe I’m wrong.
Back to Wonder Woman 1984.
What do you think? Did Wonder Woman 1984 received more negative reviews simply because of the delayed screening date? This seems like a bogus argument to me. Did it make less money? Absolutely I think it did. Sooner is better than later I think with most movie releases, especially those that have already been marketed. If you don’t market and promote the film releasing it sooner will hurt the sales. The movie, once release, stands on its own with critics. I don’t see how there is a correlation otherwise. What do you think?
Absolutely love when people fight back against the film critic culture. Queen’s Roger Taylor isn’t happy with how some critics — movie reviewers — slayed Bohemian Rhapsody when it was released:
While Taylor was put off by the negative response from movie reviewers, he was also emboldened by the many positive comments he received from moviegoers. “I think people know a lot more than film critics,” the drummer opined. “And the word of mouth via social media is so much more powerful than [a] review from a guy who probably watches 40 movies a week and has probably lost the essence of the joy of a movie.”
This might sound ironic that I like what Roger Taylor is saying. Despite being a movie reviewer and having a website with the words “movie reviews” in the domain and being a person who does watch, rate and review a lot of movies every week (not quite the volume of 40+ per week) I still consider myself first and foremost a moviegoer. I am proud to be someone who pays to go see movies for the entertainment experience.
I don’t go to movies to rate and review them for a job. My day job has literally nothing to do with movies.
Speaking for myself, I don’t watch movies to dislike or be critical of any of them. In fact, it gives me much greater pleasure to be entertained by movies than not to be. Who would want to pay to be miserable?
My wish is to love every movie seen, but sometimes am letdown by movies that have terrible acting, completely unrealistic dialogue, lame special effects, blurry and shaky camerawork, cliched stories seen dozens or (gasp) hundreds of times and just aren’t a fun experience. When that happens, my ticket enables me the right to share my disappointing experience with others — so I do. But that’s not done out of any personal or professional agenda.
Bohemian Rhapsody is a biopic, and I personally like biopics. Haven’t rated or reviewed that one yet as of this writing, but did see it in the theater last year on release and enjoyed it. Thought Freddy Mercury was portrayed well. That the film celebrated the band, Queen and their music. When I do get around to rewatching, rating and reviewing, my review will be positive and recommend to others to watch the movie (that means it will be at least 3 out of 5 stars, using our review criteria).
But what if I didn’t like the movie? Would I be part of Roger Taylor’s scornful commentary? Probably so. It’s unfortunate, but yes. Negative reviews are what draw the ire of people making movies, not positive ones. Other fans or reviewers will challenge positive reviews. Just read the comment exchange on our Air Force One ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ review. Initially, I gave it too many stars and another reviewer — who disliked the movie — challenged that I gave it too high a rating compared to the lower rating given to Hustlers⭐️½ (which I am standing by that negative review, regardless of how much money it has made). I don’t want to get off track, but the number of stars a movie has can be adjusted after more deep, critical thinking and successive rewatches. Some movies I never want to even try to watch again, so those will never change.
(If you hate Air Force One and love Hustlers and think that somehow disqualifies me to write any reviews, so be it)
Actors, directors, producers, the people paying money. Of course they want positive reviews, I get it, but you can’t pay me to say something entertained me that didn’t. You could pay me to visit a movie theater and watch a movie — although nobody ever has as of this writing — but you can’t pay me for my opinion.
In the music world, I go to concerts to enjoy hearing songs I like by the band/artist played live. A good concert to me has a setlist of songs that entertains. Hopefully they don’t play it completely safe and mix in at least a few deeper cuts (songs not as “popular”), so that I might explore deeper into the band/artist’s discography.
When I go see a movie I’m hoping to love it. That it will become part of my “until I die” rewatch list. That list is my own. I don’t care if that movie is loved or hated by virtually everybody else. If I loved it, that is all that matters to me.
My reviews are personal to me. So, when I share a review. I’m sharing my personal taste — or distaste. I realize that’s counter to the way that most/all professional critics work their craft. They are doing it because it is their job. They are paid to be objective.
But we all know that’s BS. Most of them aren’t.
Most film critics are not intellectually honest about their personal tastes and biases. It’s uncommon reading any pro critic’s review and seeing the reviewer list his/her personal biases and how these impacted the review. Why not? It’s because journalistic integrity tells them they can’t do that. They aren’t supposed to interject themselves into the objective review process.
That’s what we do differently here at this blog, in our video reviews and through every review shared.
We’re not the only ones that review movies this way, so I’m not claiming some huge originality or moral high ground or anything. I’m just sharing how movie reviews by us are “the audience” that Roger Taylor from Queen is talking about.
I haven’t been comped to see a bunch of movies and write a review. I’ve spent over a thousand dollars of my own money watching movies in the last 90 days alone. Where do I get these figures from? See August and September how much our expenses were for going to the movies + the cost of streaming channels we subscribe to and my internet connection which is $100/month. That adds up to over $1,000 in the last three months. That’s out of our pockets.
Nobody has paid me to go see any movies. I paid my own way 100%. Paid for popcorn and soda at a huge concession markup cost. I’m clearly part of the “audience” that Roger Taylor looks fondly toward.
(Unless I leave a negative review of Bohemian Rhapsody, perhaps)
Will I always have to pay my way in? Don’t know. If I was offered to go see and review a movie then I would disclose that in the review. That’s something else that really bothers me when a review doesn’t indicate if the reviewer had to pay to see the movie or were comped to see it in exchange for a review. That should always be disclosed!
I have never seen one advanced screening. Not one. I’ve seen thousands, perhaps 10,000+ movies in my life, and have never, ever been to an advance screening. Professional critics see them every week! This is how they can write reviews on movies the rest of us don’t get to see until they open in the theater.
EXAMPLE (pictured above). Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil already has 94 reviews at Rotten Tomatoes and the movie doesn’t have any public screenings until later today.
This will dissuade some people in the “audience” from paying to see this movie. It doesn’t matter to me, even if it was 0% score (meaning every reviewer who saw the movie disliked it). But I believe this is Roger Taylor’s concern. That some people saw negative reviews for Bohemian Rhapsody and chose not to see the movie.
Sure, that’s reasonable. I’d encourage others to only base whether or not they see movies based on critics that they trust best match their tastes. Even so, there will always be differences of opinions. For this reason, if you want to be absolutely certain how you will feel about a movie, always go yourself and find out. Don’t listen to any movie review, including the movie reviews by us.
(Someday in the future, I would like to attend a film festival and see movies ahead of official release. They are open to movie fans, not just professionals. That sounds like fun)
Back to Queen and Roger Taylor and why I loved his venting. He is vindicated, you know. Bohemian Rhapsody is the most popular and financially successful biopic ever. The audience overwhelmingly loved the movie.
Queen was involved in the making of the biopic and is clearly taking the reviews personally, so you can see why Taylor is mad, but this man has been performing for dozens of years in front of fans at concerts. If those fans didn’t like the music, they wouldn’t be at their concerts or buy so many of their albums.
Movie reviewers are a necessary and valuable part of the process. The reviewers need to be honest with their opinions and not have their opinions paid for. I would argue that some in the process are not being 100% honest and that’s what Roger Taylor is rightfully calling out.
What do you think of what Roger Taylor said? Is he right?