Critical Re-appraisals (aka, running with the crowd)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by steve jaros, Jun 6, 2002.

  1. steve jaros

    steve jaros Second Unit

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    I've noticed something weird about how critics have rated Attack of the Clones compared to Phantom Menace. Back when it was released, PM got generally good reviews (it got a rotten tomatoes score of 64%). In contrast, Attack of the Clones has gotten slightly *worse* reviews (RT score of 60%).

    Yet even many critics who have gave 'clones' a negative review noted that it was better than 'menace' (i counted 9 such reviews at RT). It seems that just about all critics say it is an improvement over 'menace'.

    Why? IMO, the general critical opinion of PM has changed over the past 3 years, from generally positive to generally negative. I'd bet that if the RT critics re-reviewed PM it's new score would be about 35-40%.

    Another example i can think of (with reference to a specific critic) is Roger Ebert's review of Fast Times at Ridgemont High. His original 1982 review of that film was a 'thumbs down' as can be. He denouned it as the worst kind of gross, mindless, pot-addled, teen-age trash.

    Now, in his latest review books, he gives it 3/4 stars and refers to it reverentially as if it is a minor classic.

    Which just happens to be how most critics view it now...

    What accounts for these kinds of re-appraisals? Do the critics actually re-view a film and say "i was wrong the first time", or are they just running with the crowd - going along with the critical consensus that has formed about a film over the years?
     
  2. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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  3. Paul Jenkins

    Paul Jenkins Supporting Actor

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    Remember that film reviews are done, in most professional review cases, immediately after seeing the film for the first time. There is a myriad of reasons why people change their tune w.r.t. films over time, with some films getting better (Gladiator for me, for example), while others get progressively worse (Porkys for me, for example), and others remain the same (Saving Private Ryan for me, for example again).

    I don't think the professional reviewer is any different. Roger Ebert may not like EpI at all now, he may have watched it again on DVD in the comfort of his home and said "you know what, this isn't as good as I remembered". In comparison, I'm sure he has sat back down and watched "Fast Times" and had just the opposite reaction..

    Finally, many films have a cultural positive or negative applied to them after their release. EpI is that way, IMHO, with so many negative things that people hear, that feel almost compelled to change their tune even if they like it. Goodfellas, in comparison, is an almost universally touted 'gangster' movie, and people feel compelled to refer to it as the seminal work, even though I think the movie is certainly good, but not as great as people make it out [and, I feel, suffer from the same elevation of that movie as the deflating of others like TPM]
     
  4. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    A certain 1968 film by director Stanley Kubrick was greeted with horror and dismay by critics expecting the conventional as opposed to the experimental. Within a year, thesae same critics were hailing the film as one of the most important and groundbreaking pieces of cinema ever made.

    Sometimes a critic needs a little time and some further screenings to refine his or her thoughts.
     
  5. Quentin

    Quentin Cinematographer

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    Ebert hated "Blue Velvet" when it came out. Was disgusted by it. But, he later ranked it among the best of the decade.
     
  6. Duane Robinson

    Duane Robinson Second Unit

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    Which is why they serve me no purpose. I can do the same thing for myself and figure out whether I will or will not like something of my own accord. I don't see the purpose of critics that have anything to do with art since everything is so subjective. One man's poop on Mary Magdalene is another's masterpiece. I mean there are people out there who find Battlefield Earth entertaining and would find something as highly acclaimed as 2001 to be boring and lacking in slanty camera angles. I can understand the need for critics for cars and stuff like that since performance and value for one's dollar is fairly universal but with so many differing opinions on what is a "good" movie I don't see how one guy's opinion is gonna help.
     
  7. steve jaros

    steve jaros Second Unit

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    RobertR,

    No, i'm not certain about my claims, that's why i didn't state them with any kind of scientific-clarity. I was commenting on a general tendency that i had noticed, wondered whether anyone else had noted the same thing or not.
     
  8. Eric T

    Eric T Second Unit

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    Jack, which 1968 Kubrick film could you possibly be talking about? [​IMG]
    I agree with Paul's appraisal: most reviews are written immediately after seeing a film. I can think of lots of movies or music that turned me off or bored me the first time, and then grew on me as time went by. In fact, many of my favorite CD's and DVD's were uninteresting at first. But it was the ones that took me a while to appreciate that have the longest-lasting hold on me. Almost all of Kubrick's movies were like that for me (except FMJ). The first time I saw those movies, I was bored. Now they rank among my favorites.
     

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