Snarcasm: Harry Potter Has Sucked This Entire Time

harry potter sucks

Snark + Sarcasm = what you’re about to read.

I wasn’t allowed to read the Harry Potter books when I was a child. And as a book-obsessed fourth grader who watched his friends read Prisoner of Azkaban during recess instead of playing four square  with him, this was one of the more sinister things my parents have ever done to me.

For that reason, I’ve never felt a part of the Harry Potter fandom quite in the same way I did with Pokemon, Pixar movies, and other fixtures of my childhood. Yet when I secretly watched my cousin’s DVD of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at age 13, I fell in love without even trying.

Years later, I’ve seen every movie a handful of times and have a very basic knowledge of the Harry Potter mythology. Just this past week I’ve started reading the first book and am about halfway done, but before I join the legions of book fans who evaluate the literary value of the adaptations, I want to speak out just once more as a movie purist (almost).

Which brings us to this week’s Snarcasm, based on a recommendation from the comments last week. In 2013, Witney Seibold of CraveOnline wrote a “troll” piece about Harry Potter just to “piss people off.” He says this outright in the subhead.

It’s decent armor because anyone who disagrees just has to shrug and say, “Well, he announced himself before trolling, so that’s somehow fine.” But we of the Snarcasm know better.

WARNING: Spoilers for the Harry Potter movies from this point forward.

Headline:

Harry Potter SUCKS!

In other news, Lord of the Rings is BASIC! Kendrick Lamar is BAD at Rapping! Expired Milk is DELICIOUS!  And other obviously wrong hot takes.

Look, to say with all-caps that Harry Potter simply “sucks” is just anti-intellectual. And it reeks of sensationalism before we’ve even gotten to the text.

Of course, there’s plenty to criticize with Harry Potter, and an article that attempts to start those debates is welcome. But when your headline and first few paragraphs are nothing but monologuing about how brave you are to say something outlandish and obviously wrong, intellectual integrity goes out the window.

Welcome back to CraveOnline’s Trolling, my dearest readers. This is a series of articles devoted to building up the things most people hate, and tearing down the things most people love.

He forgot the last part of that sentence: for oh-so-delicious clicks.

It is designed to spark thought and debate, and perhaps shake up the complacent geek status quo.

Debate? Sure. Thoughtful debate? Not even close.

A natural byproduct of this series will naturally be outrage and argument, so if you have hateful things to say, I wholly encourage you enter them into the comment section below. Be rough. I can take it.

In other words, there’s nothing valuable about this article. It’s trying to be dismissive in order to get a rise out of you. They believe that joking as trolls is somehow different from annoying, troll behavior. It’s not.

You may feel like going on the attack when I make the following statement: Harry Potter sucks.

“So I’m saying everything aloud to make it better.”

Seriously, this is getting boring. We get it, Witney.

He goes on to explain how it’s been some time since the last Harry Potter film released, and the buzz around the franchise has mostly subsided.

I’m not going to let it go so quietly. Based largely on the Harry Potter movies, I am going to dissect and analyze, in a very general way, what Harry Potter did wrong.

His idea of “dissecting and analyzing” boils down to a 4-argument slideshow that mostly just nitpicks (and not very well). Let’s begin.

#1 Harry Potter is a Murderer

harry potter sucks

What?!?! That sucks! You’re so right, Witney! The main character killed someone and that NEVER happens in fiction! Burn your books, everyone!

Think of Harry Potter’s story arc.

Well, someone has to.

He starts his saga as a put-upon 11-year-old boy who learns he is has magical powers, and was unexpectedly enrolled in a complex and dazzling school for wizards and witches. While at school, he learns that his parents were murdered by a wicked classmate of theirs, and it’s up to Harry (tracing shades of Hamlet) to avenge their deaths.

This is a lazy summation. Harry Potter is about a boy wizard who tries to prevent a powerful sorcerer from being resurrected. It has about as much in common with Hamlet as the trailer for Good Burger.

As the books and the movies progress, they get increasingly dark and turgid, characters die, and everyone mobilized for a great war with the evil classmate in question.

Evil classmate? At this point, Voldemort is way beyond that sort of modifier.

So the whole point of the story is to watch a sweet-hearted 11-year-old boy be whisked into an enchanting world, only to be primed for combat, to feel hate and fear, to watch loved ones die, and to ultimately commit murder at age 17.

There’s so much wrong with this statement, I’m about to revoke Witney’s Internet discussion license.

“The whole point” of Harry Potter is how friendship and love is more powerful than magic. Some people may have their own interpretations, but Rowling is quite clear about how this is framed. The dark elements of the story exist for two main reasons: to make the power of Harry’s love for his friends more believable and compelling, and because it’s a coming-of-age story set within a magical world. The story has to be dark for it to make any sense.

Harry is not “primed for combat.” He’s primed for defense. And ultimately, his “final” act is sacrifice, not brutally murdering Voldemort. Snape even says to Dumbledore that he’s been setting Harry up for “slaughter” because they both know Voldemort has to kill Harry.

harry potter sucks

Of course, Witney would know this if he paid any real attention to anything that has to do with Harry Potter. Or he’s just conveniently leaving it out because those clicks just look too darn good to pass up.

Aside from that, Harry’s cunning, wit, and luck is what helps him overcome many of the obstacles throughout the movies, and that’s what’s rewarded. His loyalty to Dumbledore in the 5th movie, getting over his angst and loneliness throughout the series, his realization that the government and media aren’t always right, and his acceptance of the burden that is fame and being “the chosen one,” are all key examples.

But no, let’s dumb it down by saying he’s motivated by “hate and fear” because…I’m not even sure where you got this?

This is not fun or magical or dramatic. It’s just dark and sad.

That’s your fault for mischaracterizing the entire story. And even with your own logic, watching characters “die” is actually quite dramatic. 

Harry is no hero.

Despite all of the heroic things he does, like sacrificing his life in the final book.

Hogwarts is no school.

Don’t let those classes and teachers fool you.

Harry is a brainwashed soldier who was intentionally psychologically damaged by his bootcamp.

harry potter sucks

Brainwashed? Harry spends the majority of these movies rebelling against his teachers and the Ministry of Magic because they don’t believe a thing he says. This argument is completely, bizarrely unfounded, as the students as a whole are consistently punished for taking unnecessary risks, misusing their powers, and being violent.

He may be depicted as heroic, but one can easily see the parallel between Harry and Gomer Pyle from Full Metal Jacket.  

Yes, “one can easily” see a lot of things, like a writer finishing his point with an obviously irrelevant comparison. I hope Witney starts “dissecting and analyzing” soon.

#2 Voldemort is a bad villain.

Now this is a common criticism actually worth debating. I think the Voldemort character is somewhat mishandled in the movies, but overall, his effectiveness as a villain is more subtle than I think people realize.

If our hero doesn’t quite cut the mustard, maybe the villain of the Harry Potter world can pick up the slack. Sadly, Voldemort doesn’t really have much to add to the proceedings either.

Well then pass the ketchup and turn on that there lawyer show.

Let’s take a look at his arc. He was found to be an immensely powerful young lad who was rescued from the Muggle world by Dumbledore, only to eventually flip out and go on a genocidal spree that is never fully explained (at least not in the movies).

Maybe not “fully” explained, but I would argue sufficiently explained. Voldemort very clearly has it out for the non-magic people of the world, as well as anyone who isn’t of pure blood. His arc makes more sense when you put it up against the other villains of the series who are influenced by him. Voldemort is a more understandable figure when you consider the beliefs of the Malfoy family, Severus Snape, and others.

Unfortunately for Witney, that’s too much dissecting and actual analysis for him to keep up with.

Along the way, Voldemort picked up hundreds of disciples who would obey his every command. Why do people follow this guy? He’s a slimy, pale, clearly evil noseless crackpot. 

harry potter sucks

Yeah, I bet he would only be dangerous if he was…hmm…maybe immortal or something? Oh, and super powerful. But since when do people follow leaders with power?

Again, even the most casual HP fans pick up why Voldemort is so influential. Prejudice in the wizard world (which we mostly see in Hogwarts) is a major theme of the movies. Of course someone who wants to capitalize on that prejudice would pick up followers seemingly out of nowhere, especially if he’s killing anyone who tries to stop him.

He has no charisma, no philosophy to sell, and only seems to rule his minions with threats of violence and death.

Even a fourth grader should be shaking their head at this. Voldemort has power and wants to use it to make the dreams of bigoted wizards come true. Respect through fear is also a very real thing, Witney. If an all-powerful wizard who can’t die threatened you to do something, I’m quite sure you’d go along with it.

We are never really given Voldemort’s motivations.

Wrong.

He’s just a bad egg from the start.

Wrong.

Yawn. Bad eggs are not rich or complex, and certainly cannot lend any texture to what is supposed to be the central conflict in the entire Harry Potter film series.

Not joking, guys. I absolutely do not want to know what kind of “texture” Witney is asking for here.

#3 What the Heck is the Function of Hogwarts?

Ah, we’ve arrived at the most common complaint lobbed at Harry Potter, mostly because answering it requires listening comprehension.

Because one of the first things Harry asks in the first movie is what people do after they go to Hogwarts, and guess what? This is answered.

Harry is a wizard, and goes to a wizarding school, which lies hidden in the remote hills of England. He goes there to hone his wizarding skills. He learns to mix magical potions, cast spells, and ride around on broomsticks. This is all very neat and fun and adventurous. But I can’t help but wonder: What exactly does a diploma from Hogwarts offer a young wizard?

If only the movies explained this all the time.

Even if they didn’t, these “fun adventures” are usually very dangerous and frightening, which motivates Harry and his friends to become more powerful. So of course, a diploma is more of a symbol of how these wizards can contend with the dangers of an even more dangerous world outside of Hogwarts.

harry potter sucks

The only other adult wizards in this universe are either shop owners or teachers. Some work for an ill-defined Ministry of Magic, whose function isn’t too clear either. Are those the only choices of employment once you graduate? 

You just said that all of the adult wizards in Harry Potter either run shops or teach. Now you’re saying they work for a mysterious wizard organization that you confess you know nothing about, despite how straightforward the ministry is in these movies.

Seems legit.

That said, we do meet many wizards with specific jobs and roles throughout Harry Potter, and even more are alluded to. Some use magic to keep the wizard world secret, others track down dangerous beasts all over the world, aurors act as magical police, Ron’s dad works with cursed muggle artifacts, and so on.

And this hardly matters, anyway. Rowling decided to keep the focus of Harry Potter on Hogwarts, rather than provide mounds of exposition in order to explain what will happen during a part of Harry’s life that the story doesn’t even explore. We still get clues and inklings of what exists beyond the school, but not so much that it would distract from the main story.

Why is it important to be a powerful wizard if you’re just going to work either as a retail wonk or a government clerk?

Well, Hogwarts doesn’t necessarily train its wizards to be “powerful,” just simply well-versed in magical abilities. Powerful wizards get the jobs I mentioned above, such as how one of the older Weasley brothers studies dragons.

The Hufflepuffs probably do a lot of the government work, I’d imagine.

If that’s all Harry has to look forward to, doesn’t his arc seem churlish?

He goes on to become an auror, you walnut.

harry potter sucks

Some of the wizards have no working knowledge of the “normal” world. Hogwarts, then, is painfully backward in their curriculum. Sure, there’s plenty of magic to learn, meaning classes in the sciences may seem a bit unnecessary, but where is the literature? The music? The sex ed? The three R’s? Do any of these kids ever do a single math problem? 

For beings who use magic to do everything, “muggle subjects” are quite unnecessary. This is somewhat alluded to by how amazed the wizards are by muggle things Harry takes for granted. Also, Hogwarts students don’t take any of these magic classes until they’re 11, so the rudiments of math, logic, and reading comprehension are probably focused on during their early education.

I feel bad for English kids who never get to read Shakespeare or Dickens. You learn to move things with your mind, but you never get to read David Copperfield. That’s a bad school.  

Right, let’s feel bad for kids who grow up with magical abilities. They’ll never know the joys of reading Gone Girl and watching Teen Titans Go. You know, unless they do all of that in the summer.

Besides, the wizard world has its own literature and even music more relevant to their culture. Ron mentions how The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a staple of his childhood that Harry and Hermoine compare to Cinderella. As for the rest of these weirdly specific subjects you mention, there’s certainly room for us to imagine that these children aren’t painfully ignorant of them simply because the story doesn’t waste time addressing it.

After all, there’s a reason Rowling doesn’t spend much time showing us what’s actually going on in these classes unless the teacher is doing something absurd.

#4 About Half the Movies are Just Bad

No, about half the movies are just OK. None of them are particularly bad, save for Order of the Phoenix, which is a bit mediocre.

harry potter sucks

That said, how does this mean Harry Potter sucks? This statement suggests Harry Potter only “half” sucks.

You didn’t even go to Hogwarts and you can’t do math…

The films based on the Harry Potter novels begin strong, and then take a dive somewhere around film #3.

A bold suggestion considering the third film is considered by many to be the best. But I’ll wait for you to explain yourself (for some reason).

The fourth is pretty good, actually, but the fifth through the eighth are, well, convoluted and badly filmed.

I really just want to end this Snarcasm right now.

Look, the Harry Potter films are far from perfect. And I have no qualms with anyone who simply dislikes them. But that’s just opinion, not a real analysis.

Here’s what I think, so take that for what it is: the films are consistently solid, with some highs and some lows. You can criticize all of them for many legitimate reasons, such as pointless, convoluted side plots and deus ex machina. But you also have to credit the films for bringing Rowling’s incredibly detailed and rigorous mythology to life. The cast is fantastic and ages well with the movie. The sets and effects provide some remarkable eye candy, especially with the wizard duels. The soundtrack is iconic, which the movie gets full credit for. And many of the performances are well above average.

The movies are perhaps the worst kind of literary adaptation, i.e.: they rely less on telling the story in a fresh way, and more on merely depicting what has already been fleshed out on the page.

This is idiotic hyperbole. The worst kind of literary adaptation is when you subvert the message of the books and make the source material seem worse.

We can agree that the movies mostly play it safe and just try to get the story out, not addressing what a truly good film this story could be. But that’s a fairly forgivable flaw for a studio that was tasked with bringing such a monumentally important book series to the big screen.

This means that the movies are not adaptations, but mere dramatizations of key plot elements from the books.

I’m seriously just repeating myself at this point: Witney, you’re wrong. The majority of everything you say either makes no sense or just comes off as intentionally idiotic.

The pace is too quick, the tone too dark, and the story too complex for most of the movies to work as actual dramas. Important stuff and unimportant stuff whizzes by without any sense of majesty or portent.

Finally, some fair criticisms that I actually, sort of agree with. But these problems are why the movies are not masterpieces. They don’t discount all of the positive aspects of this franchise that make it pretty good, if not great.

harry potter sucks

Is Harry Potter still enchanting and wonderful? For a short while at the beginning, yes. For the first two films, I had no complaints, and found them to be dramatic and fun and dazzling.

Really? Because I would argue Chamber of Secrets is one of the weaker films of the series, and it contains a lot of the complaints you were referencing earlier pertaining to Voldemort’s backstory. But hey, these are just your own words we’re talking about.

The world of Hogwarts and wizards is still a unique and enjoyable place to ponder, built on a complex and intriguing mythology, and seems like the type of place you’d want to visit or even attend for seven years. The series contains many flashes of adventure and fantasy that captured the world like no other fantasy novel. Eventually, though, the Harry Potter series climbed up its own ass and set up camp.

Witney, you’re wrong. The majority of everything you say either makes no sense or just comes off as intentionally idiotic.

 This is one of the laziest “hot takes” I’ve read in a while. It shows only a third-grade understanding of what’s being discussed, the text blatantly aggressive, and it contributes nothing to any real discussion about these films and what they mean.

In other words, it’s vintage 2013 clickbait.


Hey! If you’ve come across a silly article that deserves the Snarcasm treatment, send it my way via Twitter or the comments below!

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Snarcasm: Only Smart People Realize ‘Zootopia’ is a Bad Movie

zootopia bad

Snark + Sarcasm = what you’re about to read.

I think it’s important for people to remember that Rotten Tomatoes is just one of many useful metrics for evaluating a film you want to see. When we take it too seriously, we end up arguing over arbitrary numbers and percentages, rather than the details within a movie that actually matter.

Then someone writes a terrible review for Zootopia for the sole purpose of getting some attention.

“But Jon,” you say softly, “this reviewer in question might hate Zootopia for good reasons. What’s wrong with an opinion?”

“Nothing,” I respond to you with comforting glee. In fact, there are some great pieces out there already showcasing reasonable criticisms for Zootopia that other critics (even me) have glossed over. That said, there’s one other “bad” review for this movie that makes some decent points, though it’s written by a film critic who gave Annie (2014) 3.5 stars out of 4. So, yeah, I’d take that review with a speck of a grain of salt.

The review we’re going to Snarcasm today goes beyond some of the worst reviews I’ve ever attempted to share with you all. Everything, down to even the headline, is layered in nonsense, and we’re talking Gods of Egypt-level nonsense.

And it’s probably not a coincidence that this review came several days after all of the positive write-ups for Zootopia. But that’s none of my business.

Writing for The Globe and Mail, film critic Kate Taylor writes:

Zootopia: Fun for kids, but adults may think twice about movie’s message

That’s right! Instead of being blindly accepted without a second thought, adults are actually questioning important subject matter after watching a childrens’ film! The horror!

In Disney’s new animated feature Zootopia all the animals wear clothes and walk on their hind legs.

There’s nothing to complain about here, but I do want to point out how much I miss that comma after “Zootopia.”

zootopia bad

That makes the gazelle a particularly tall and lanky creature. A minor character, she’s a pop singer voiced by Shakira;

You’re going to kick things off with a barely tertiary character? Um, OK. That seems odd, but I guess it’s just a sentence. She’s probably about to move on to what the film’s actually about—

she sports gracefully tapering antlers with a tousled blond mane nesting fetchingly between them; she wears a miniskirt and a spangly red crop top.

Uh.

OK.

Are we done throwing adjectives at an unimportant character? It’s not like we can actually make a deranged conclusion about the film based on “tapering antlers.”

Yes, the elegant gazelle has been sexualized.

Wow. That’s…wow.

So Kate Taylor has a weird problem with animals looking like humans. Good thing she was chosen to review this movie.

Anthropomorphization is tricky territory although, God knows, Disney has lots of anodyne experience going all the way back to that cheery little mouse who first appeared in Steamboat Willie in 1928.

Kate, what are you even talking about right now? Anthropomorphization stopped being “tricky territory” at least 50 years ago. How is this your version of a hot button issue in a film about racism?!

Still, Zootopia takes the cultural practice of posing animals as human characters to queasy new heights.

So Kate is apparently uncomfortable seeing animals act like humans. I’m guessing she doesn’t have an Instagram account. Or neighbors. Or a sidewalk. Or Animal Planet. Or YouTube.

Perhaps I’m being ignorant, but it’s just bizarre to me that anyone would feel “queasy” watching something so established in our culture of entertainment. Sure, it may not be your favorite trope, but why on earth does such sanitized fiction make you uncomfortable at all?

Apparently, in the countryside, animals live in their original habitats surrounded by their own species and familiar neighbours:

That’s not “apparent.” It’s just what is.

Judy, a character cloyingly drawn with Kewpie doll eyes by the animators but firmly voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin, aspires to be a police officer and moves to Zootopia, where she is hired onto a force staffed by elephants, wolves and bears under a “mammal inclusion initiative.” In other words, she’s a girl in a man’s world.

OK, gender dynamics are somewhat parallel to what’s going on in Zootopia, but it’s strange that Kate brings this issue up instead of the obvious elephant in the room (who was a girl).

zootopia bad

Judy is directly held back because she’s a bunny, not because she’s a woman. While it’s fair to bring up how gender discrimination is similar to what we see in Zootopia, it’s certainly not the intended focus.

The chief (a water buffalo impressively created by Idris Elba) promptly assigns her to parking duty, but she soon breaks out and teams up with a wily fox (an irrepressible performance from Jason Bateman)

Idris Elba voiced the character. He didn’t “create” it. And if you’re just saying he brought the character to life, then you should just say that. Also, I don’t think you understand what irrepressible means, because Jason Bateman’s performance here is anything but.

I don’t imagine environmentalists would approve of a movie that suggests wild animals are at their best when tamed,

This is nonsense. The animals aren’t being tamed. They tame themselves in the same way humans do in order to cultivate society. How moronic do you think environmentalists are that they wouldn’t get the difference?

The premise of Zootopia is that these creatures have evolved past the point where they need to kill each other for survival, which is a great metaphor for how human civilization has been developed. Of course animals are at their best when they’re not at each other’s throats!

but it’s the social anxieties behind Zootopia’s message of animal harmony that make me uneasy.

Good! The best movies challenge and convict us. Do you only care for movies that cater directly to your sentimentalities?

But as Zootopia busily tells the kids not to stereotype different groups and to love everybody, it creates a city in which some creatures fear that others are inherently savage.

Is this really happening? Kate, that’s the entire point of the movie. Zootopia is teaching these lessons within the context of a city where racism exists. If the city itself was perfect and free of conflict, then the message would ring completely hollow.

That’s a pretty close match for both America’s historic racism and its new Islamophobia.

Yeah, Kate. Again, that was kind of the point, but you’re phrasing it as if this is somehow a flaw, instead of just an obvious fact.

And, leaving aside amusing jokes about the wolves trying desperately to contain a group howl or sloths working as bureaucrats, animal behaviour is a troubling metaphor for cultural diversity.

So far, everything you’ve said to build up to this point runs contrary to the idea that animal behavior is a troubling metaphor for anything. You’ve specifically said not even a sentence ago that it matches American society closely. Does that mean the problem is that it’s too good of a metaphor? Because if so, your vague issue with this film doesn’t have much to do with the actual film.

Especially that weird thing about the gazelles. Are you just never going to get to that?

After all, preying on smaller or slower creatures is how many real animals eat; wolves are potentially savage and mice can’t really live happily with them.

And this is the part where everyone reading this review realizes that the critic has absolutely no interest in actually reviewing the movie. The crux of Taylor’s “uneasiness” boils down to minutiae: a barely explored aspect of the world building that has absolutely nothing to do with the actual story.

In fact, it makes more sense than not that Kate Taylor fell asleep in the first ten seconds and then woke up once in the middle and nodded off again. Because the entire first scene explains how animals evolved to the point where they didn’t need to make distinctions between prey and predator. They could just find alternate means of living in order to have harmony.

zootopia bad

But because Kate can’t use her imagination and think of what these creatures could do otherwise, there’s something wrong with the film. Let me try to imagine how Kate could have such a bizarre understanding of this movie….Nope, nothing.

And how much animal harmony does the sprawling Zootopia team of multiple directors and writers really envisage?

Really? You couldn’t just say “envision?”

Oh, and to answer your question, a lot. Like that’s the entire point of that 5 minute opening sequence where we watch how all of these animals live in disparate sectors of the city, along with pretty much everything else from that point forward.

In fact, it’s clear to everyone but those of you who were sleeping that the directors and writers spent countless hours making this world come to life in a way that represents a united city of animals that was made by animals.

It was only when the sexy gazelle appeared in a final image of the animal kingdom united in song that I noted the very few couples in the film – Judy’s bunny parents and an otter whose husband has gone missing – and began to wonder about the deepening friendship between Judy the female bunny and Nick the male fox. But let’s not go there.

Yeah, what a terrible movie! Instead of needlessly focusing on a forced romance, it gave us a story  that was good enough to stand on its own with characters who had enough believable chemistry to sidestep a boring love dynamic!

What a nightmare!

To be fair, I’m not entirely sure that’s what Kate is getting at, but at this point, I have no idea what she’s even rambling about.

Highly familiar with the pluralist message that Zootopia delivers, the children for whom the film is largely intended are unlikely to be troubled by anything they see here.

Those pedestrian children are so pedestrian, you see.

Thinking parents, however, may think twice.

In other words, “Only smart people like me understand how “bad” this movie is. And if you don’t agree, you’re a CHILD!”

Guys, this has to be the worst professional film review I’ve read since…perhaps ever. There’s no real analysis here, just a few lopsided assertions that don’t even strengthen her premise. She ignores the visuals, the characters, the writing, and pretty much anything about this movie that would inform her readers whether or not it’s worth their time.

zootopia bad

She talks more about the gazelle with two lines of dialogue than the main characters. And when she does bring up the main characters, she complains (I guess?) that they aren’t in a relationship.

Instead of actually reviewing Zootopia, she digs on one bizarre hangup she has that doesn’t even slight the movie, mostly because she barely explains why anything she mentions is a real flaw. She just cites another example that reads more like an adjective-filled soundbite and then moves on.

This is not a review. It’s barely even a rant. It’s just a lazy, incoherent opinion with a grade at the bottom.


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Snarcasm: Critics Ruined ‘Gods of Egypt,’ Not the Movie Itself

gods of egypt critics

Snark + Sarcasm = what you’re about to read.

Remember last year when Josh Trank embarrassed himself via Twitter by dissing his own movie (Fantastic Four)  before it even came out?

Well, Alex Proyas, director of Gods of Egypt, apparently thought that his own airing of grievances over social media was a smart career move. Or he just loves one-upping Josh Trank, which may also be valid.

Gods of Egypt hasn’t been doing all that well at the box office since it opened two weeks ago. Deadpool (which opened on Valentine’s Day) is still outperforming it, which wouldn’t be bad news until you remember that the kid-friendly Zootopia is on the horizon.

At this point, Gods of Egypt has made about $40 million, which is modest until you remember that the film has a reported production budget of $140 million, not including marketing dollars (which tend to double that number). Worse, much of the money it has made is overseas, which the studio gets less of a return on.

gods of egypt critics

So unless the gods of the box office perform an impossible miracle similar to the final act of the movie we’re talking about, Gods of Egypt will be a big flop. And Alex Proyas took to Facebook recently to explain exactly why that is in the most eloquent way possible. Well, depending on who you ask…though that would have to be Alex Proyas.

No headline, but Proyas begins his rant with a killer summation:

NOTHING CONFIRMS RAMPANT STUPIDITY FASTER…Than reading reviews of my own movies.

Off to a great start. People who review Proyas’ movies are consistently stupid, and this is a confirmed thing, according to said director. Seems legit.

As someone who also reviewed Gods of Egypt (I gave it a C), I’m starting to wonder if I fall into the grace of Proyas’ approval, lest I be doomed to a life of moronity.

 I usually try to avoid the experience – but this one takes the cake.

This is coming from a guy who hasn’t made a movie in seven years. Saying “I usually avoid the experience” is like me saying “I usually avoid taking girls to the food court on our first date.”

Often, to my great amusement, a critic will mention my past films in glowing terms,

Well, some of these past films.

OK, like two of them.

when at the time those same films were savaged, as if to highlight the critic’s flawed belief of my descent into mediocrity.

This is a laugh for anyone remotely familiar with Proyas’ filmography. Dark City and The Crow are the movies critics reference most, and both received excellent reviews at the time they were released. His other movies — such as i, Robot — received mostly mixed reviews. They weren’t “savaged.”

And who today looks that fondly on i, Robot? Besides me?

The only movie “savaged” in his filmography is Knowing, which no one except for Roger Ebert thought was very good. Years later, this hasn’t changed in the slightest. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the magic of selective memory.

You see, my dear fellow FBookers, I have rarely gotten great reviews… on any of my movies, apart from those by reviewers who think for themselves and make up their own opinions.

That’s right. Proyas’ argument is equivocal to that of a temper tantrum.

“Only bad critics give me bad reviews,” he says. Or in other words, “Me good, no matter what bad man say!”

Sadly those type of reviewers are nearly all dead.

WOW. 

Good reviews often come many years after the movie has opened.

Let me fix that for you. Better reviews come out years after people have had time to think about the film, its impact, and how repeated viewings improve or worsen the experience. But that doesn’t invalidate the first inspection of a film. Critics are mostly judging the first experience because that’s what people read their reviews for. 

I don’t care if a movie that’s just come out will be more interesting ten years from now because it says something compelling about a culture point that may not have happened yet. I want to a watch a movie that’s competently made and will deliver a great experience in the theater.

 I guess I have the knack of rubbing reviewers the wrong way – always have.

But hey, that couldn’t possibly mean that there’s something wrong with you. That’s not how narcissism works, right?

This time of course they have bigger axes to grind – they can rip into my movie while trying to make their mainly pale asses look so politically correct by screaming “white-wash!!!” like the deranged idiots they all are. 

Really? It’s idiotic to point out that your movie set within an established mythology is mostly casted by a single, unrelated demographic? To Proyas, we’re idiots for pointing this out, despite the fact that nearly everyone seemed to think this long before the reviews hit the web.

That’s not even mentioning the fact that most reviews didn’t even spend much time on white washing, if at all. In my review, I bring it up because it’s ultimately distracting to be watching a movie set in Egypt without anyone who looks Egyptian. It ruins the immersion of the movie, which hurts the overall experience of watching it.

They fail to understand, or chose to pretend to not understand what this movie is, so as to serve some bizarre consensus of opinion which has nothing to do with the movie at all. 

Oh, we know what this movie is, Proyas. It’s an attempt to make as much money possible for the studio. Problem is, you thought you had to cast only white actors in order to do so, but it didn’t work. That’s not anyone’s fault but yours.

That’s ok, this modern age of texting will probably make them go the way of the dinosaur or the newspaper shortly – don’t movie-goers text their friends with what they thought of a movie? 

This oddly constructed sentence is an appropriate parallel for Gods of Egypt. It tries to look like it’s not out of touch, but everything presented makes it more obvious that it’s out of touch.

People don’t just text for information, Proyas. They use this magical thing called the Internet, which you’re using now. And while movie critics as we know them may not remain the same forever, it’s clear that the Internet isn’t leaving them behind; not when YouTube critics are gaining subscribers in the millions.

Besides, aren’t you undermining your argument that critics ruined your movie’s box office by saying they don’t even influence people anymore? Why write any of this at all if you sincerely believe no one will read reviews in the next few years?

Seems most critics spend their time trying to work out what most people will want to hear.

Finally, something sensible out of this rant. Yes, we can agree that a lot of critics form their reviews around groupthink, not real analysis, that forms before a movie releases. I wouldn’t say most critics do this, but it certainly happens.

How do you do that? Why these days it is so easy… just surf the net to read other reviews or what bloggers are saying – no matter how misguided an opinion of a movie might be before it actually comes out.

I think what this supposedly professional screenwriter is blathering about is how critics may read other reviews and blogs in order to form their own opinion. His evidence? Well, people don’t like his movie, so…

To him, it’s not because a lot of people have the same problem with a movie. Nope, because that would mean there’s a problem with his movie, and that can’t be right. Proyas is mad at the people who hate his movie, who then influence “deranged idiots” into hating his movie. But even if you’re right (and you’re not), that’s still a good chunk of people who still hated your movie before anyone else did.

There is something to be said about critics who go into a movie ready to hate it because the public hates it. Yet what often happens is the opposite, in that critics give a movie great reviews, much to everyone’s surprise. A good example is last year’s Paddington, which no one thought would be a great movie due to its bad marketing.

It’s clear that Proyas was wrongfully convinced this would happen with Gods of Egypt.

Lock a critic in a room with a movie no one has even seen and they will not know what to make of it.

Has Proyas never heard of a press screening? We do this all the time. It’s as if he thinks we write these reviews while conducting exit interviews simultaneously, despite the fact that most reviews are written weeks or days before the embargo lifts, and we spend most of that time editing our grammar.

Because contrary to what a critic should probably be they have no personal taste or opinion, because they are basing their views on the status quo.

Again, you can argue that some critics do this (because human beings are human beings), but Proyas is trying to make the case that all critics lack the ability to criticize, which he has to say in order to justify why Gods of Egypt has an 11% on Rotten Tomatoes.

This is the logic of a narcissist incapable of admitting his own mistakes. After all, the diversity problem in Gods of Egypt is easily the least of its problems. Everything from the shoddy CGI to the middling performances screams of mediocrity, not some sort of hidden gem we’ll all be celebrating in 2026.

None of them are brave enough to say “well I like it” if it goes against consensus.

False, untrue, a lie, etc. Critics enjoy movies all the time that go against consensus. That’s why Gods of Egypt has an 11%, not a 0%, on RT. 

More recently, I gave The Good Dinosaur a perfect grade, despite everyone telling me I was “wrong.” Months later, I haven’t changed my mind, and critics everywhere do the same thing with movies that I don’t like. But in Proyas’ fantasy land, we all give the same reviews about everything somehow.

Therefore they are less than worthless.

No one can be “less than worthless,” but at least that sentence matches the rest of the logic in this Facebook post. Hey, and his movie, too!

Now that anyone can post their opinion about anything from a movie to a pair of shoes to a hamburger, what value do they have – nothing.

Wrong. Now that everyone can have a platform, competition is skyrocketing, pushing all of us to rise about the complacency that plagued film criticism in the past. Some people try to stand out by doing the opposite of Proyas accuses by liking a movie against consensus, even if they didn’t like it all.

In other words, Proyas can’t see beyond the issues that affect him and only him. Because he’s what, class?

“A narcissist,” said the children in Snarcasm Elementary School.

Roger Ebert wasn’t bad. He was a true film lover at least, a failed film-maker, which gave him a great deal of insight. His passion for film was contagious and he shared this with his fans. He loved films and his contribution to cinema as a result was positive.

This is all true, but just keep in mind that Roger Ebert was the about the only critic to give Proyas’ last film, Knowing, four stars. I wonder if that factors into Proyas’ belief that Ebert was the only good critic…

Now we have a pack of diseased vultures pecking at the bones of a dying carcass. Trying to peck to the rhythm of the consensus.

Are you the dying carcass? Because it’s not our fault you don’t make a lot of movies anymore, and when you do, we don’t like them. That’s completely on you.

Or is “the dying carcass” your movie? Because if so, I’m glad we’re pecking apart a movie that was incapable of thinking outside of the pale-white action fantasy movies made in the 80s.

Or is “the dying carcass” the film industry as a whole? Because if so, your barely average movies aren’t doing much to make things better.

Also, we’re not that diseased.

I applaud any film-goer who values their own opinion enough to not base it on what the pack-mentality say is good or bad.

The false premise, of course, is that film-goers can only do this by burying their head in the sand, not reading the varying opinions of others. Oh, I guess they should just text each other reviews sentence by sentence instead.

I feel bad for Proyas because it’s clear he bases the value of his work on the opinions of critics, instead of his own fans who champion Gods of Egypt. For him, that’s not enough because a group of evil film critics are now conspiring against him (roll credits).

gods of egypt critics

Yet Proyas says nothing of the people who like something merely because no one else does, a practice just as dishonest as what he condemns critics for.

That said, critics aren’t perfect, and they’re certainly not my favorite people to mingle with. They can be cynical cockroaches, if you ask me and plenty others. But not all of them. Many critics put as much work into their criticism as anyone else who puts effort into their art.

Heck, it’s clear they work harder on their reviews than this lopsided, no line-broken block of Facebook post text that makes it clear that you must have at written Gods of Egypt in at least some capacity.


 

Hey! If you’ve come across a silly article that deserves the Snarcasm treatment, send it my way via Twitter or the comments below!

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Snarcasm: Let’s Talk About How the Oscars Don’t Matter (Again)

oscars don't matter

Snark + Sarcasm = what you’re about to read. 

A hit piece on why the Academy Awards are pointless comes about once every 33 seconds, like a YouTube comment about how Donald Trump supposedly “tells it how it is” or a Tweet referencing that other thing you don’t like.

What I never come across is an article that says, “Well, the Oscars are important for good reasons you’re probably not aware of.” Not a surprise considering conversations around the Oscars usually boil down to a few clever hashtags, rather than some real discussion.

And who better to trash the Oscars than a film critic? Joanna Connors wrote this thinker for the aptly named Cleveland.com,

Oscars 2016: Why the Academy Awards matter, and why they don’t

Spoiler alert: she only talks about why they don’t matter, but you knew that already.

 As we approach the total fabulosity that is the annual Academy Awards ceremony Sunday night…

Look, just because “fabulosity” is technically a word doesn’t mean we, as a society, should remind everyone.

…I find that I can barely dredge up even mild excitement about it.

That’s terrible news for everyone.

Maybe it’s the #OscarsSoWhite issue.

Reasonable.

Maybe it’s that “The Revenant,” a movie I loathed, is poised to win a lot of the awards.

Even more reasonable. I also loathed The Revenant.

Maybe it’s the very idea of ranking films at all, the absurdity of declaring one better than all the others.

Are you seriously criticizing the practice of ranking? You know, that thing everyone instinctively does, proving why Buzzfeed is the first thing you see on Facebook every morning?

It’s not absurd to award someone for doing something competently. It just so happens that the only useful way to evaluate competence is through comparison, AKA ranking. Pretending this practice is somehow insane is what’s truly insane.

Whatever the cause, I’ve had so little interest in the Oscars over the past few weeks that I’ve started to wonder: Do they really matter?

I’ve had this same existential crisis about craft beer and Jennifer Lawrence, but you don’t see me protesting Hunger Games with a Bud Light in my hand.

Of course they matter to the people who win them. Obviously. Winners get that exciting moment in the spotlight and the chance to thank their minions ad nauseam.

OK, let’s attack people who get excited about winning the most prestigious award in entertainment. How dare they value themselves?

And if we’re going to call earnest fans of a movie “minions,” then what does that make your readers, Joanna?

They reap more tangible benefits, too. Money. Winning actors, actresses, directors and even some below-the-line workers such as art directors will see their price tags go up for future movies. Winning films will get a nice bump at the box office.

In other words, the Oscars have gone on to greatly benefit filmmakers by giving them enough prestige to create more interesting, remarkable films. Well, sometimes that’s how it works out.

But apparently, none of that matters because Joanna hates “top 10” lists.

But do the Oscars matter as a judge of artistic merit? No. They don’t. They never have.

“This ultimately subjective practice has absolutely never been subjective.”

Don’t believe me?

Hey, at least she’s self aware.

OK. Let’s do this. Close your eyes, just for a moment, and think back to your high school prom. (Don’t worry: This will only sting a little.)

Is she talking to herself at this point? Fine, I’ll go along with this.

closes eyes to imagine prom

All I see is a cover band doing a terrible rendition of “Hey There, Delilah.”

Got the image? A parade of lovely, over-made-up girls wearing beautiful, overpriced gowns, some of them revealing much more than their fathers would like. Boys in tuxedoes, staring dumbfounded at the girls.

So at this point, Joanna is deriding the very existence of prom, including your own, in order to illustrate a completely unrelated point.

“Hey, prom is meaningless! Just like your dreams.”

SHE IS A FILM CRITIC!

You’re mingling with people you know – everyone knows them — but you’ve never actually spoken to a lot of them. You’re nervous and excited.

Yes, Joanna gets paid to write about movies. But no judgement here, considering the band is now doing “Dangerous” by Kardinal.

Everyone is buzzing: Who’s the most popular? Who will score tonight? And, most important, who will be crowned prom queen and king?

Go on.

Now, step back for a minute and imagine that almost all the people who get to vote for the king and queen are 63-year-old white guys, many of whom have not set foot in a high school (or on a set) in years.

She…she’s joking. She has to be joking. This can’t be real.

Some of them have never even seen the kids they vote for; they’re voting based on what their friends – and probably their grandchildren – like.

Please, for the love of Snarcasm, don’t let this be her metaphor.

And so, ladies and gentlemen: There you have it. The Oscars!

No. Just no. This…NO.

Joanna, your metaphor/analogy, or whatever you want to call this is wrong on every level I can fathom. For one thing, you seem to have absolutely no knowledge about what the criteria is for being in the Academy. In your mind, you just have to be an old white guy, apparently.

And I don’t blame you for this assumption, considering that is what the Academy is mostly composed of. But have you ever wondered why?

The Academy is made up of the top filmmakers, writers, engineers, technicians, and actors of all time. Their knowledge of what it takes to make a great film make your prom analogy read like a 7th grade essay on Huckleberry Finn. 

People in the Academy have won Oscars in the past, which is a practice that ensures the very artistic merit you’re questioning. Is this perfect? No, because the traditionally white institution has led to exactly what you’re complaining about in terms of age and demographics, and this won’t be resolved until Hollywood itself grows more diversely.

Either way, it’s the antithesis of some creepy old dudes voting on prom king and queen, which is just a cheap shot.

Being “prom king and queen” is built on relationships between high schoolers. Winning an Oscar is determined by artistic evaluation of a film by the best people in the craft. Undermining the Academy in this way is like saying a film critic is useless because I once ate bad fish sticks at a Red Lobster recommended by Yelp.

A popularity contest that has almost nothing to do with artistic merit, decided by mostly white, mostly male, mostly older voters who are not required to see all of the nominated films, and probably haven’t.

If it’s just a popularity contest, then why do unpopular movies win so often? (She references this later on by saying Citizen Kane lost to a movie no one’s ever heard of).

And the assertion that these voters haven’t seen most of the nominated films is misleading, considering the fact that they would have to watch over 500 films in a year in order to do so. That’s why marketing and Oscar buzz is such a crucial facet of this process. Again, it’s not perfect, but it’s vastly more effective than strapping these guys and gals to a chair and forcing them to watch Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2.

How many of these guys saw Idris Elba in “Beasts of No Nation”? How many of them have even heard of Idris Elba?

I agree that Beasts of No Nation deserved a nomination, but Joanna is just guessing that they didn’t watch the film at all because it helps her opinion look correct. In fact, she even cites an anonymous voter later in this article who HAS watched Beasts and talks about why he doesn’t like it, refuting this entire point altogether.

Led by its president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy is taking steps to correct this imbalance. But that may take a few years, and even then, there’s no guarantee the voters will actually see the nominated films. Even if they do, they might still vote based on personal popularity.

The alternative is forcing these voters to watch a preselected list of movies that deserve to win Oscars based on the opinion of…who knows? See, it’s not reasonable to make sure they watch all of these films, but it’s also unreasonable to assume they need to. The Oscars are an institution built on popularity integrated with artistic evaluation. Trying to forcibly shut one of these aspects out is just absurd.

Joanna goes on to cite three examples of Academy voters who said mean things about actors in the nomination. Yeah, hard-hitting evidence:

explaining why he won’t vote for Sylvester Stallone for Best Supporting Actor, the voter said, “He’s a pig…. I can’t stand Sly as a person.”

“Tommy Lee Jones has been such a bitter guy — all that scowling at the Golden Globes? I’m telling you, people don’t like the guy.”

“Jennifer Lawrence I was on the fence about, but she lost me with that ‘Saturday Night Live’ bit [in which she ‘trash-talked’ her fellow nominees]; I thought it was mean-spirited and shows a lack of maturity on her part.”

Sound like high school to you?

Yes, because you purposefully leave out important information in order to mischaracterize what was really said by these voters.

Let’s take the voter who said “I can’t stand Sly as a person.” This wasn’t all he said. His entire quote includes that he didn’t think Stallone’s performance was all that great compared to Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy. In other words, he evaluated an actor and compared him to the competition. Mentioning his personal disdain of Stallone was an aside.

In the rest of that article, the voter even mentions how he nominated Tangerine, which stars actors of color and is about a transgender sex worker, for Best Picture. He also gushes about SpotlightThe Revenant, and other movies in a meaningful way. In other words, he’s a person, not a quarterback.

That quote about Tommy Lee Jones? Buried in a sea of sound criticism yet plucked out of context in order to make some grandiose point.

See, these voters weren’t really just talking about their reasons for voting. They were digging into their overall perceptions and how that shaped their opinions. There’s a lot of substance in their commentary, but Joanna noticeably draws attention away from their artistic merit in order to prove they have none.

Do I need to list all the great movies that should have won the Academy Award and did not?

A pointless exercise. Yes, we all know the Academy doesn’t get it right all the time, but that’s simply because the voting process actually isn’t much of a popularity contest. It’s more of a percentage contest that can split votes and create surprises.

Going further, we have other award shows that pay attention to what the critics and general audiences like. Those are the shows that will award movies that remain in the minds of most people for years, but that doesn’t mean the Oscars need to do the same. If we only go by the films “everyone likes,” then that means Fast and Furious 7 should be up for Best Picture.

Roger Ebert himself once said that the Oscars are important because of how they draw attention to what the industry honors each given year. Even if they get it wrong sometimes, that’s fine because we still glean insight from these decisions and how they shed light on cinema of the past.

I could go on, but I’m feeling too depressed.

Over the Oscars not being exactly the way you want them to be? For someone who doesn’t think the Oscars matter, you’re getting pretty riled up over them. That or the prom experiment took an unexpected toll on you.

I’ll watch the Oscars Sunday, because it’s my job. Otherwise, I wouldn’t. I confess that I haven’t watched in past years, when it wasn’t my job.

That’s so interesting.

oscars don't matter

Not even the dresses interest me any more, now that the stars don’t dress themselves and rely instead on stylists and designer freebies.

Yup, even the fashion is corrupted. Keep going, Joanna.

Where’s the fun in everyone looking perfect? Why does anyone care who they’re wearing, if it wasn’t their choice?

This is so tedious. It actually depresses you that people work hard to look good when thousands of cameras are blaring at them. Next week, Joanna is going to write an article about how much she hates colorful logos on dish soap.

This year, the only thing that sparks my interest is what the host, Chris Rock, will say in his monologue about the All White Oscars. I can’t wait to hear his message to all those older white guys who have been in Academy forever, the ones who will give Leonardo DiCaprio the Best Actor Oscar because – well, because he’s such a great guy! Everybody loves Leo! Haven’t seen the movie, but they say he’s wonderful in it.

That’s right, Joanna is asserting that most of these guys haven’t even seen The Revenant, a box office smash with audiences and critics. She has no evidence for this aside from the quote that says the voters don’t see “everything,” which consists of hundreds of movies she hasn’t seen either.

And I just want to point out that Joanna’s dripping, dramatic, disdain for this collective group of homogenous human beings feels just like the thing she’s criticizing them for. Irony? Coincidence? Apathy? Take your pick.

Also, I forgot to mention that one of the voters she criticizes early on in this article hates The Revenant just as much as she does. But I’m guessing she just skimmed the parts of the article that didn’t support her rant.

OK, but do the Oscars matter?

Well, do movies matter? Because if so, then a ceremony that attempts to highlight the best of cinema certainly matters. We can debate all day on how good of a job the Academy is doing, but dismissing them entirely is a pure exercise in immaturity, akin to telling your readers how depressed you are that celebrities love to wear dresses.

The problem is that it’s so incredibly easy to say the Oscars don’t matter. You can throw in your two cents right now and complain away about the Academy and how flawed it is. In fact, it’s “cool” to hate on the Oscars, judging by how quick people are to jump on criticizing it.

Yet just take a look at some of the movies elected this year. Who would have guessed that Mad Max: Fury Road (the most non-Oscar bait movie of all time) would be nominated for 10 awards, including Best Picture? Or The Martian, a sci-fi blockbuster featuring a director no one has cared about in years getting a nod, despite being filled with scientists who aren’t evil for a change?

My point is that while the Oscars aren’t perfect, they continue to change. “Oscar bait” as we know it today is incredibly different from the tastes of a decade ago. The Academy gains new voters—and new perspectives—every year. And countless people will watch great movies every year because they watched the Oscars, a curated collection of movies that matter to the people who make them.

Let’s continue to hold the Academy accountable for a lot of things, but can we please get off this absurd conclusion that they don’t matter because they may not matter to you?


Hey! If you’ve come across a silly article that deserves the Snarcasm treatment, send it my way via Twitter or the comments below!

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

Snarcasm: Disney is Eating Pixar’s Lunch

disney pixar

Snark + Sarcasm = what you’re about to read.

This week’s Snarcasm will be a tad different and (dare I say it) a little more serious than usual. Rather than take down one of the worst articles on the Internet (which have been nothing but fan theories lately), I’m addressing some fear, uncertainty, and doubt crisscrossing the world of animation.

And it really needs to stop.

See, I’m all for criticizing Pixar when they deserve it (see Cars 2 and the third act of Brave). They’re not perfect, and we can all agree that mistakes were made in how they executed their latest feature, The Good Dinosaur.

But the groupthink has been reaching a bizarre consensus lately that ignores the triumph of Inside Out and yes, the underrated value offered by The Good Dinosaur. It seems that some people want  Pixar to be taken down a notch in the public eye because Disney Animation has been killing it lately with computer animated hits like TangledFrozen, and Big Hero 6.

disney pixar

Is that fair? Let’s dig in.

Germain Lussier at io9 writes:

Walt Disney Animation is Officially as Good as Pixar Now

Look, I know that the tagline for io9 is “Welcome to the Future,” but that doesn’t mean we can just skip ahead to a time period that doesn’t exist.

And I know that the last few movies made by Disney’s own animation studio have been big hits, but has anyone actually considered Big Hero 6 or Frozen to be better than Inside Out? Let’s read what Lussier has to say.

For several years, Pixar’s animated films made Pixar’s parent company, Disney, look good. And meanwhile, Disney’s own in-house animation studio was going through a rough patch—the company wasn’t making the kind of films people expected from Walt Disney’s namesake.

Lussier goes on to explain how most people don’t even realize that Pixar and Disney are separate entities. But a key thing he points out is that Pixar has long made their own movies outside of Disney’s control (even after Disney bought them).

just as Disney was releasing all those Pixar hits, Disney Animation—a branch of the company with one of the most amazing resumes in film history—was still releasing its own films. Films that usually, and unfortunately, were much less memorable.

These movies include decent but forgettable flicks, such as Meet the RobinsonsBoltThe Princess and the Frog, and other “nice tries.”

disney pixar

It took lots of time, effort, blood, sweat and tears—but with films like Frozen, Big Hero 6 and next month’s new film Zootopia, Walt Disney Animation Studios has finally done the impossible: It’s regained its former glory and can easily share the animation throne with Pixar.

First off, Zootopia hasn’t even come out yet. Lussier caught a screening and gave it high praise later in this article, but we have to just assume that his opinion will match everyone else’s. We’ll revisit this later.

But fine, let’s “welcome the future” and assume that Zootopia will be as good as the trailers make it look. Are FrozenBig Hero 6, and Zootopia enough to take this “animation throne?” And “easily” as he claims?

Lussier is at least half correct from a box office standpoint. Obviously, Frozen made tons of money well out of the reach of Pixar movies. But I hesitate to consider cold, hard cash other people have earned to be a reason for liking a movie.

And to be honest, I don’t even want to compare these movies because they’re so incredibly different. For one thing, Pixar movies are original, unique concept movies that make you fall in love with seemingly mundane yet lovable characters. Disney works to be more accessible with glossy characters and environments that are beautiful from the onset because they’re often derived from pre-existing stories. As a result they usually feel more like pretty art instead of affecting art.

I’m here to tell you things are just getting better. Last week, I was lucky enough to catch an early screening of Disney Animation’s latest film, Zootopia.It’s the best film Disney Animation has made in 20 years.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely hope that Lussier is right about this because that’s great news for everyone. But watch what happens next.

Not only is it a film worthy of Pixar, it’s light years ahead of Pixar’s most recent movie, The Good Dinosaur.

Frequent readers know that I completely, absolutely disagree, considering The Good Dinosaur was my second favorite film of 2015 and one of the few films I gave an A+ last year. And while plenty of people agree with Lussier’s sentiment, many also find The Good Dinosaur to be an underrated gem like I do.

disney pixar

And then he says this about Zootopia:

Now, is it as good as Pixar at its best? Inside Out or Toy Story good? No, probably not.

Wait, let me get this straight. Disney Animation’s best film in 20 years isn’t as good as one of Pixar’s most recent movies?

Do you see why I chose this article for Snarcasm? It’s obviously well written, and Lussier is a very smart person. But for whatever reason, people are making grand conclusions about the quality of Pixar based on very slim arguments. If the best Disney animation movie isn’t even better than Inside Out, then how can you even argue that the studio itself is “just as good?”

Lussier seems to be basing his argument on the fact that he thinks The Good Dinosaur sucks, but that’s just one movie. And he’s also saying that the pinnacle of Disney isn’t as good as the best of the Pixar movies. So why say they are easily just as good?

I guess it frustrates me because Inside Out proved so well that Pixar hasn’t slipped the way so many people claimed they would over the last few years. And now we’re already hearing the narrative that Disney Animation is getting better while they’re getting worse, and it’s just bonkers.

And yet even with all that, there are other factors in play here too. Disney Animation and Pixar now create films in the same way, and share creative resources, so the two balancing out makes sense.

Pixar movies and Disney Animation movies aren’t even remotely similar. Can you honestly say that Frozen and Tangled are legitimately made like Pixar movies? These are fairy tales that are built up on source material. Wreck-It Ralph comes closer, but it also relies on a huge list of existing entities to make its video game world come to life. And Big Hero 6 is based on a Marvel Comic of all things.

disney pixar

Well, loosely.

Meanwhile, Pixar creates entire worlds. They make you feel for rats, monsters, and even the very idea of emotions. Their creativity is absolutely unmatched when they’re at their best. Even The Good Dinosaur pushes animation itself in ways Disney has barely touched (aside from Big Hero 6) with effects shots and photorealistic landscapes that actually contribute to the narrative.

They may be in the same sport, but Disney and Pixar are in two very different ballparks.

Plus Pixar’s films were so successful in the past, Pixar’s begun to make more and more sequels (Monsters University recently, plus Finding Dory, Cars 3, Toy Story 4 and Incredibles 2 coming soon)

Just keep in mind that Pixar has only made one lackluster sequel. We still don’t know if they can pull off another Toy Story 2, but I’d bet money that Incredibles and Finding Nemo are worthy of the challenge. Lussier sort of points this out as well and even makes the case that Disney is also making sequels for its popular movies with Frozen 2.

But none of that changes this basic fact: From a time when Pixar was ruling everything and Disney Animation Studios was making Treasure Planet and Home on the Range, things have once again aligned. Disney has not only gotten back to the high bar of quality set by Pixar, but that of its namesake, too.

I agree that Disney is back on track when it comes to recapturing its former glory, and Pixar’s own John Lasseter is a key reason why this is happening (Lussier also points this out). But the idea that Disney is somehow on the same level because they’ve made a few good movies in a row is a gut reaction, not a careful analysis. Pixar consistently makes superb, excellent movies, while Disney Animation makes good, sometimes great movies.

disney pixar

And if you don’t agree, then just try to tell me which current Disney movie even comes close to matching Toy StoryIncredibles, Finding NemoUp, and now Inside Out. Because not even Lussier could seem to do that.

One of these days I need to put together a full analysis on The Good Dinosaur and why I consider it to be vastly better than it gets credit for. While I’m not worried about Pixar’s foreseeable future because of the box office failure of that movie, it hurts to know that a movie with so much effort put into it is being considered worse than movies that are, at their core, deceptively generic.

At any rate, I’ll be seeing Zootopia for myself at a screening next week, and despite everything we just talked about, I couldn’t be more excited. Isn’t it great to know that both Disney and Pixar are putting their best efforts into animation right now?

Hey! If you’ve come across a silly article that deserves the Snarcasm treatment, send it my way via Twitter or the comments below!

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

 

Snarcasm: Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast and the Migraine

http://www.eonline.com/news/738362/this-disney-theory-about-beauty-and-the-beast-and-aladdin-will-blow-your-mind

Snarcasm is rapidly becoming the let’s poke fun at terrible fan theories every week – show. And of course, I’m totally fine with that considering the wealth of terrible fan theories that are out there waiting to be snarcasmed.

But this entry is different in that it highlights a unique trend in fan theories I haven’t harped on yet: the dreaded repost.

What is a repost, you ask (all six of you?) Well, a repost is when you resurrect content that was already incredibly popular at one point. Like a funny image, hilarious video, or fan theory that Aladdin exists in the same universe as Beauty and the Beast.

“But Jon!” you ask, “You repost theories all the time. Is this Snarcasm secretly about you?”

Well, here’s the difference between what I’ve done in the past and what constitutes as a “repost.” See, if you’re going to resurrect content and then pretend it’s new, you should at least add something to it. Build on it. Do something. But half the time, these reposts are just retreads that make The Force Awakens look like Tree of Life.

aladdin beauty and the beast

Who is the perpetrator of the repost in question? That would be Julia Hays from E! Online, who essentially runs their “we can do Buzzfeed, too” desk. She unearths everything from The Best Oprah Winfrey Gifs of All Time to Does Watching High School Musical for the First Time Alter Your Attraction to Zac Efron? 

Both of those are actual, real-life articles.

Recently, Hays published this gem:

This Disney Theory About Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin Will Blow Your Mind

buzz

“Hello?”

“Julia, it’s the editor. We need you to find a way to make this headline twice as derivative as the most derivative headline ever seen on the Internet.”

“OK, googling Looper dot come now.”

click

Now, some of you may have never heard about this Beauty and the Beast/Aladdin theory, which is why this article exists. But at the same time, it should at least be mentioned that this theory has existed for years, yet E! is portraying this as some sort of turning point in history.

Don’t believe me? Just watch.

| Prepare to have your world come crashing down,

Your headline already got me there.

| there is a Disney theory that’s sure to upend everything you thought you knew.

So, everything I thought I knew…Culture. History. Politics. The meaning of love. Why “Be like Bill” was popular for three days.

| There is nothing the Internet loves more than finding crazy theories about the movies we love.

Hays links to a separate E! article that dives into “13 Crazy Theories About…” eh, it’s really long. Half of the theories boil down to “they were dead at the end” or that Jack from Titanic is a time traveler because you deserve that.

| No matter how many times we re-watch Disney and Pixar classics, there will always be Tumblr accounts digging into the cameos and references we may have missed.

Why hire journalists when Tumblr does all the work for you?

Also, here’s something wildly entertaining I discovered while writing this Snarcasm. So above, “Pixar classics” links to another E! article that doesn’t have anything to do with Pixar classics, as it refers to that fan theory about how TangledFrozen, and Little Mermaid are connected for some reason no one understands.

But that’s not all.

In that article, they criticize my fan theory about Andy’s mom from Toy Story 2 being Jessie’s original owner. Quote: Fan theories are a dime a dozen on the Internet. Most we don’t care about (oh, Jessie from Toy Story may have been Andy’s mom’s toy? OK?),

That links to an EW.com article that references me personally.

Yes, this is real. E! Online thinks my fan theory is garbage. The same E! Online that thinks Sandy drowns in the beginning of Grease, Sid being the garbage man in Toy Story 3 is “subtle,” and Peter Pan is the angel of death (all in that “13 fan theories” article I referenced earlier). Because yes, you deserve that.

So here’s all I have to say to E! Online about that: neat.

| This Tumblr theory (which was brought to our attention via Someecards), 

I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

| …points to a connection between Beauty and the Beast (1991) and Aladdin (1992) that most fans probably never noticed.

Is that why people have been pointing this out since 1993? This was debated even before the Internet was widely available.

| It’s in a seemingly innocuous scene in Beauty and the Beast when Belle visits a local bookstore to return a book she borrowed. Is this just a scene to show the viewer that Belle’s an intellectual? No, there is so much more.

Yeah, yeah, that’s cute and all, but is that really the point of the scene? Last I checked, we knew she was a reader at this point. That scene merely showed that she was yearning for something more through her books, and that she’s kind enough to warrant a special gesture from the owner who lets her keep the book.

So, yeah, so much more.

Next, Hays actually just sticks the entire Tumblr post in the article. She doesn’t even set it up. It just appears out of nowhe-

aladdin beauty beast

Alright. A few things we need to discuss.

I’ve been asked about this theory around a dozen times, so I’ve looked into it plenty. And honestly, I don’t find it all that convincing. The gist here is that Beauty and the Beast is narratively hinting at Aladdin, a movie that came out a year later.

This makes some sense, as Disney is known to put little nods in here and there in its movies. And in a way, it’s cute to think that Aladdin is a book that Belle loves to read.

The problem? The plot points Belle references don’t really align with Aladdin when you actually give it some thought.

Daring sword fights? There really aren’t many at all. It’s mostly Aladdin running away all the time. Magic spells? The genie grants wishes, not “magic spells.” And that’s such a generic line, you can apply it to nearly any other Disney movie that has magic in it. Finally, Aladdin isn’t a prince in disguise, because he’s not a prince. He’s in disguise as a prince, and there’s a clear difference.

For that reason, I think this theory holds enough merit for debate, but it’s mostly weak.

| Belle’s favorite book describes the plot of AladdinFar off places? Agrabah.

 Ah, I forgot that one. But still, what Disney movie doesn’t occur in a far off place?

| Daring sword fights? Heck, even Abu the Monkey wields a sword at one point.

True, but Abu doesn’t even use it. It’s not a fight because the guards take out their swords and Abu runs off. How is that even daring?

Magic spells? Genie, ding ding ding!

And then Hays turned into a bell for some reason?

| And a prince in disguise? Prince Ali has an entire musical number, baby girl.

Semantics, baby girl. He’s a street rat in disguise. And it makes more sense that Belle is referencing a fairy tale land, like the ones where princes disguise themselves as common folk in order to save the damsel in distress. But I understand if you’re unfamiliar with information that is read in books.

| We don’t discover Prince Ali’s true identity until the third act of the film Aladdin.

What? We know who Aladdin is the entire time. I’m guessing she’s referring to Jasmine, perhaps? Even then, that occurs halfway through the film, not in the final act. But it’s complicated because there are two reveals: one where she discovers he’s the street rat from before, and then the reveal that he’s not a real prince.

Even then, here’s what Belle actually says: “Here’s where she meets prince charming. But she won’t discover that it’s him until chapter three.”

I get where Tumblr is coming from, but there are a lot of problems here. Aladdin is not prince charming. He’s not even a prince. And Belle is saying she won’t discover he’s a real prince until chapter three, but that’s the exact opposite of what happens in Aladdin.

See, the book is more widely accepted to be a form of foreshadowing. Belle doesn’t know the Beast is actually prince charming (she references this same line in the song, Something There). She’s taken to a far off place, there’s a magic spell, etc.

| Granted, the book itself that Belle is reading shows artwork that could also represent other Disney films with similar plots.

That’s one way to put it. The other way to put it is: Oh, well the book shows an entirely unrelated story going on that bears no resemblance to Aladdin whatsoever

aladdin beauty and the beast

That’s a castle. And a forest. And a white guy. And a white girl in a blue dress. You know, all the things that aren’t in Aladdin.

| Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty feature similar elements.

And here’s where my migraine kicks in.

| Beauty and the Beast has a distant castle in the woods, Gaston fighting the beast with a sword, a magical rose and a castle under a spell, and Belle doesn’t know the prince thing about Beast until later in the film. So, perhaps some foreshadowing?

Yup. Hays is altering this “mind blowing” theory that is supposed to upend your take on the Disney universe with the convention that pretty much everyone already knows about. “Mind blown” alright.

And at the same time, she’s pointing out that Sleeping Beauty has visual elements similar to standard fairy tales. You had to read E! to figure that out.

| Sleeping Beauty, as well, deals with far off places and magical spells.

There are no daring sword fights or princes in disguise, but don’t let logic get in the way of a waste of your time.

| Aurora doesn’t know Prince Phillip is royalty at first, despite his hella princely looking outfit.

There are so many things wrong with this sentence, my migraine just fused with the Tylenol I just took, and they are now working together to pass me out slowly for my own good.

Aurora not knowing who Prince Phillip is doesn’t mean he’s in disguise. This is simple reading comprehension, people. And let’s just disregard that the word hella made its way to an article—actually, no that makes sense considering where we are right now.

| Plus, Phillip battles the evil Maleficent with a sword.

That’s not…no, that’s not a sword fight, Hays. A sword fight is when two people with swords fight each other. Why is this happening?

| Our hearts still trust the Tumblr investigation behind Aladdin, but like a Netflix documentary, we’re trying to give you all the facts.

All the facts? These were facts you were writing about? Because so far, you’ve posted a few Tumblr gifs and arguments that boil down to, this is similar to this. See?! 

| Post YOUR theory in the comments below!

Fine. Let’s see what the trusted E! community had to say about this “theory.”

aladdin beauty and the beastWhew, not off to a great start.

aladdin beauty and the beast

Hear, hear. Or is it here, here?

aladdin beauty and the beast

aladdin beauty and the beast

I’m so proud of you, Internet comment section.

Hey! If you’ve come across a silly article that deserves the Snarcasm treatment, send it my way via Twitter or the comments below!

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

 

Snarcasm: Everyone in Disney Movies Is Related Because I Said So

anna elsa quasimodo

I’m very aware of the fact that my Snarcasm column has devolved into a weekly hatefest geared toward bad fan theories (or evolved depending on your tastes). But for obvious reasons, these “fan theories” are the articles you all have been sending to my inbox lately, so that’s what you’re going to get.

This week, I read a fan theory so asinine, so vitriolic in its apparent disdain for filmmaking in general, I had to pause and have an existential conversation with myself concerning whether or not I happen to be one of the reasons fan theories like these gain so much traction online.

I changed my mind on this because it also happens that GREAT fan theories with tons of great analysis are also gaining traction among countless readers, even if it’s at a smaller scale.

On Moviepilot, Karly Rayner posits,

Could Anna and Elsa be Quasimodo’s Ancestors? This Frozen Fan Theory Seems to Think So

In other news, “Fan Theories” have become sentient beings with the ability to think and comment on distant, totally unrelated family trees.

Let the film unanalysis begin.

Sometimes you see a fan theory so bizarre that you have the share it with the world

The rest of us just click away and pray to the Internet gods that our indifference will be rewarded decades from now.

and this Frozen/Hunchback of Notre Dame ancestor theory has been so well thought out that I just had to write about it.

Well thought out? Oh, we’ll see about that.

A Redditor named Chiquen

Not this again. Aren’t we done regurgitating every thought that originates on Reddit, Tumblr, and 4Chan?

has theorized that Quasimo could be Anna and Elsa’s ancestors thanks to a certain magical connection, and while there are definitely holes in the theory (that the author has acknowledged), it’s fun to think about the elements that tie tie the Disney universe together could apply to such wildly different movies.

Why? Why is it “fun” tying these movies together? I’m not saying that it isn’t fun, but it’s getting tiresome reading all of these connections that are made for virtually no reason.

Speaking as someone who loves to come up with fan theories, the best ones are based on a purpose. They have a reason to be brought into the discussion. Fan theories like “He’s related to her somehow” do nothing of the sort except to highlight how lazy storytelling would be if they all just boiled down to “Luke, I am your father.”

As we can see from his abilities to bring the Gargoyles to life, Quasimodo has been blessed with some sort of stone magic. Chiquen theorizes that Quasi was using gypsy magic (maybe unconsciously) right under Frollos nose.

 

Stone magic? When in Hunchback do we ever see Quasimodo “bringing” anything to life? The answer is never. The origin of the gargoyles is never explained, except that we’re led to believe they’ve always been at the top of the cathedral. The only “abilities” Quasimodo seems to possess is abnormal strength.

You can try to argue otherwise, but the fact is that the movie provides zero evidence that Quasimodo has any magical ability, or that he’s the creator of the gargoyles. A more plausible (and popular) theory is that the gargoyles were originally meant to be hallucinations, until Disney decided that was too depressing and let them interact with the real world.

Also, since when do gypsies have any sort of elemental magic? They’re known for being fortune tellers and seers of luck with slight of hand. Suggesting otherwise has no basis outside of “I want this to happen because it fits in my head.”

At the end of Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo was no longer cooped up in the church and denied his liberty because he was a ‘freak.’

Well at least we know you’ve, oh sorry I mean Chiquen, watched the movie.

This means he would have had the freedom to travel, and his curious nature about the outside world suggests he would want to see as much as possible…Maybe even Arendelle! 

Yeah! And Pride Rock! And Agrabah! And the fake TV show in Bolt! And 3000 years into the future where the dinosaur does the collapses

Although taken enough by Arendelle’s beauty to call it home, Chiquen theorizes that Quasi begins to miss his gargoyle friends so he simply creates some new ones in the form of Arendelle’s bizarre, unexplained troll population. 

Except the trolls look nothing like the gargoyles. They don’t even follow the same fake laws of physics.

anna elsa quasimodo

The gargoyles could float and shoot rocks out of their mouths. That’s it. The trolls in Frozen rolled around and had magical abilities (they were even able to remove curses). There’s no comparison beyond “they’re both made of stone,” which is a weird observation, not an argument.

Chiquen believes that one of Quasimodo’s ancestors may have married into the Arendelle royal family which could explain how Else got her magic (although it has evolved over 400 years, possibly reacting to the environment) and Anna got her redheaded gene.

There are so many things wrong with this, I don’t even know where to begin.

Just to start, the headline says that Anna and Elsa are his ancestors, but now you’re saying they’re his descendants? This makes me think someone changed their mind on this halfway through, which doesn’t bode well for any of us.

But the biggest problem is that stone magic is not the same as ice magic (which I can’t believe is a sentence I just had to type). If genetics are somehow involved, how do magical powers change person to person, especially since you have to posit (again) that Quasimodo must have (apparently) married someone with ice powers. Then that person would have to pass that gene down over the course of 400 years and…science?

I’m not saying Disney likes to keep its science on the up and up. But even by their standards, these rules pertaining to magic aren’t just implausible, they’re completely removed from the limits of imagination possessed by the fine folks at Disney, and that’s saying quite a lot.

The argument of, “Well, it’s reacting to the change of environment” is also pointless to argue. What, there are no stones in Arendelle?

anna elsa quasimodo

Nope, just a tundra wasteland.

Next, you have to suspend all disbelief that somehow, someway, a distant foreigner moved to Norway and managed to marry his way into royalty immediately. Oh, and he’s a magic-possessing disabled man with abnormal strength. Oh, and the Hunchback sequel never happened.

Remember, this is Frozen. The movie where the entire kingdom called for the death of Elsa as soon as they found out she had ice powers. Apparently 400 years prior, they were more progressive.

While Elsa’s magic might be based on ice, she also has the ability to bring forth sensitive, friendly companions, just like Quasimodo although some might argue that this is a common Disney storytelling device.

By some, I think you mean “all.”

Because I could just as easily argue that Aladdin gave his carpet sentient powers right under our noses because that’s just as plausible as this theory.

Another piece of tenuous evidence

Tenuous? So it’s very weak? If that’s the case, WHY ARE YOU EVEN MENTIONING IT?

comes in the castle featuring a large portrait of Joan of Arc which could indicate their desire to preserve their French roots.

Hang in there, Jon. 

Of course, like most fan theories, this one is pretty tenuous and based on the authors own, personal interpretations of things and there are plenty of arguments that this is all coincidence which I will cover below.

“I just wrote about it anyway because I knew you’d read it. Now keep reading.”

Rayner goes on to parrot Chiquen’s own meandering around the subject, which boils down to explaining the stone magic/ice magic problem by claiming it’s just magic and the person “uses magic like a chisel in order to express themselves.”

Which, of course, is exactly what we saw in Frozen when Elsa couldn’t control her chisel, so her paintbrush got everywhere. Hey, both characters were in isolation most of their lives, yet Quasi is the one who apparently was able to control it so well not even the audience or the characters in the movie noticed it.

But Elsa can’t control it because…oh, we don’t want to go down that trail of thought.

Although it’s not the most convincing theory in the world, I love the creative thinking that has gone into this one and, at the end of the day, it’s Disney.

I love creative thinking too, but not when it’s aimless and provides no insight or analysis to justify its existence beyond the simplistic It’s Disney. Unless a theory is convincing enough to overcome this, there’s no point in sharing something that will make people feel like they wasted a ton of their time.

Because what is so interesting about characters being related? Especially when you have to grasp at so many straws to make it happen? It’s fun to guess at relation within a movie, or even two movies that share cameos. In that case, you don’t have to stretch much and it can provide some interesting discussion.

But crossing movies to suggest that every little character is somehow related to another character for no narrative reason comes off as a cry for attention, like you want to be the next person to posit the Jar Jar Sith theory or something similar.

To put it simply, there should be a threshold for which fan theories deserve thousands of words devoted to them on a popular platform. On Reddit, this is no big deal because you can go to a forum specifically designed to chat about theories and decide which ones make sense.

But on a huge website like Moviepilot, it’s far too easy for casual readers to stumble upon poorly researched content like this and just decide, “Hey, maybe I’ll stick to Reddit for movie news.” Therefore, they miss out on tons of other great content they could have otherwise enjoyed.

You know what is Disney? Carefully thought out stories that make you feel good after experiencing them. Let’s stick to that train of thought over obsessing which Disney characters have a 0.001% chance of being sort of related.

Hey! If you’ve come across a silly article that deserves the Snarcasm treatment, send it my way via Twitter or the comments below!

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

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