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Snarcasm: ‘Star Wars’ Is Overrated

star wars overrated

Snark + Sarcasm = what’s you’re about to read. This week: the legendary saga that everyone loves is terrible unless you’ve watched it. 

Here’s the thing about Star Wars. A lot of people like these movies, while some people don’t. Another group of people are indifferent. But the people who adore Star Wars are incredibly vocal about how much they love the films, and box office records prove they represent a large slice of moviegoers.

Of course, it should be equally fine when someone is vocal about disliking Star Wars. All’s fair in love and (Star) war. But you know what isn’t equally fine? Reading a troll piece by Piers Morgan on Daily Mail about how Star Wars isn’t just bad, it sucks. Oh, and it’s overrated, too.

Here’s the link, but please don’t click. In fact, don’t even read this Snarcasm piece if you really just want to have a nice day free of hair-raising distractions. It’s not worth it. If you do want to read a contrarian piece on why Star Wars might be overrated, here is a far superior read by Devin Faraci on the subject. I disagree overall, but at least he makes a good argument.

star wars overrated

But if you love train wrecks as much as I do, then let’s get started!

HEADLINE:

The Force Awakens? Sorry, but Star Wars has sucked for 40 overrated, overhyped, preposterous years

In the words of Heath Ledger, “And here. We. Go.” 

Last night, a very strange thing happened.

You realized you had a deadline due in less than a day? That would explain a lot.

I was lying in my Los Angeles bed when the earth moved in a way I haven’t experienced since a large quake knocked me onto the floor five years ago.

I’m guessing he’s referring to the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked Baja California and killed four people (injuring at least 100 others). If that’s the case, why is he even joking about this?

Only this time not literally, more virtually.

More virtually? Come on, even Daily Mail has to have at least one editor.

I was the unwitting victim of a televisual, cyberspace phenomenon; the single most exciting thing many Americans appeared to have witnessed since the lunar landing in 1969.

This is actually happening.

A news event so vast in its magnitude that grown men wept, women shrieked and kids bounced around howling like banshees.

Go on…

Journalists whom I otherwise respect began tweeting photos of their newsrooms in a state of collective paralyzation, hordes of frozen figures standing open-mouthed, ashen-faced and quivering around their monitors.

So you don’t respect journalists for talking about a news event that everyone cares about? You don’t respect journalists for liking something a lot? Scratch that, I don’t think anyone wants to be respected by Piers Morgan.

Twitter exploded.

What a nightmare.

Facebook erupted.

Aw, man!

And a national whooping delirium filled the air.

It’s just not fair.

‘Oh my GOD!’

‘WOW!’

‘That’s INSANE, man!’

‘AWESOME!’

‘THAT. IS. THE. COOLEST. THING. LIKE. EVER!’

Five things no one has ever said about something associated with Piers Morgan. Well, maybe “Wow! I can’t believe Piers Morgan likes himself so much!” Or, “Oh my GOD! Even Piers Morgan is allowed to write for The Daily Mail!”

There’s just one problem: it wasn’t.

That’s all?

I didn’t get it.

So, there’s two problems…

Any of it.

Hm.

I watched the exact same ‘thing’ as everyone else, and it left me feeling less enthused than a Jeb Bush rally.

Sorry? Are you trying to gain sympathy or something?

The trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which aired for the first time during ESPN’s Monday Night Football show, lasted just two minutes and 23 seconds. Time that I will never now get back.

Well, you watched a trailer for something that (as you’ll reveal later) you’ve never had an interest in. Sounds like you’re the one who needs to work on time management.

At the start, a weird-headed creature appeared and a voice asked: “Who are you?’ To which my answer was: ‘I’m Piers, and I’m already bemused.’

Why? So far, you’ve spoken nothing about why this is such a big deal for you, or how the trailer is getting on your nerves.

It got worse.

Yeah? From a voice asking, “Who are you?” Why is your complaint article lacking actual complaints?

A random person walking in the desert, another weird-headed creature, a second random person walking in the desert, more weird-headed creatures, myriad flashing lights, swords and flying saucers, and then the weirdest-headed creature of them all: Harrison Ford (the great man is so facially brown and craggy now I’m only surprised Matt Damon hasn’t tried to land on him.)

This is gibberish. What constitutes random for you, Piers? Should a trading card be hovering over the head of every character with their exact plot outline so you can keep up?

And using “weird” over and over again doesn’t do much to explain what makes them weird, or why you think it’s weird. Myriad flashing lights? Seriously? That’s the best you can poke holes at? Even CinemaSins did a better job trolling this trailer than you.

Not swords! Not…flying saucers? Where did those show up? Harrison Ford got old, so that’s bad? WHAT’S HAPPENING?

‘THE FORCE! IT’S CALLING YOU!’ commanded the announcer. Well, I’m not in, sorry.

Well, I don’t think the “announcer” was talking to you. So, apology rejected.

In fact, I’ve never been in when The Force has called. 

Ah, OK. So you just don’t like the movies. That’s fine—

I’m 50 years old and I’ve not watched a single one of the six Star Wars movies.

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

Don’t get me wrong. No one really cares. But…WHY ARE YOU WRITING ABOUT THIS? It’s one thing to criticize a franchise you don’t like. It’s another to poorly whine about a franchise you’ve never watched.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried.

Clearly.

But I’ve never got further than five minutes with any of them before hitting the STOP button, shaking the cascading cheese out of my TV set and going for a recuperative neck massage.

So, you tried to watch the sequels/prequels without any context? Why should we trust anything you say about anything?

As the decades have passed by, my distaste for all things Star Wars has developed into an oddly visceral loathing.

WHY? You’ve never watched the movies. Why do you care at all about any of this? Are you that offended by the fact that you don’t like something that’s popular? They teach you how to control emotions like this in preschool.

I only have to hear that dreaded theme music to feel the skin begin to peel itself off my flesh.

Now you’re bringing John Williams into this? One of the most celebrated composers of our time?

And don’t even get me started with the ghastly merchandise, which seems to pervade every store in the United States.

OK, I guess retailers should think twice before capitalizing on high demand because one guy is mildly annoyed when he strolls into the toy aisle for inexplicable reasons.

So I wouldn’t, frankly, know one end of a Yoda from a Jedi. The only Chewbacca I’ve experienced is the kind that I perform when someone treats me to a Monte Cristo No2. And Hans Solo sounds like something best reserved for the kind of Vegas bordellos we’ve been reading rather too much about in the last few days.

He’s still talking. Somehow, he thinks his opinion is so important, everyone needs to glean his ignorance of a pop culture franchise. To be clear, I’m sharing this more as a PSA of how not to write something for the Internet. For the world, really.

This, I realise, parks me firmly in the minority.

Trust me, we know how excited this makes you.

Online ticket sales of this 7th Star Wars epic crashed huge movie-goer websites like Fandango. It’s probably going to be a massive hit, regardless of what I think.

Yeah, maybe that should tell you something.

But, as with that pseudo-intellectual load of old thespian codswallop, Birdman, that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. Star Wars sucks.

Actually, that’s exactly what makes you wrong. I also don’t like Birdman, but you know what? That actually doesn’t mean it sucks. Because far more people love it, and for good reason. I’m starting to think Piers Morgan is just channeling Anton Ego for kicks right now.

Also, we’re about 1000 words in, and Piers is yet to explain why Star Wars sucks. You know, the headline. Apparently, it just sucks because he hasn’t watched it. Compelling stuff, Daily Mail.

Don’t take my word for it,

Way ahead of you.

take the words of almost everyone involved in its very first incarnation back in 1977. Legend has it that when producer George Lucas first showed a rough cut of the original Star Wars to Hollywood associates and chums, hardly any of them liked it.

Because if there’s one thing we know about Hollywood, it’s that they’re never wrong.

They thought the plot was preposterous, the characters’ names utterly absurd, and as for the writing, this is what Sir Alec Guinness wrote to a friend from the set during filming: ‘New rubbish dialogue reaches me every day and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable.’

What Piers is forgetting, obviously, is that people didn’t know what to make of this movie when it first came out, as it was the first science fiction space opera to gain some traction with audiences. While Star Wars is nowhere near perfect, it was also dramatically different from anything else coming out at the time.

star wars overrated
Crowds gathering around the 1977 release of “Star Wars”

Sure, the dialogue was strange and the adventures were hammy. But this is a movie that is mostly praised for how it captivated our imaginations. And it was a great first attempt in its own right.

The critics, when it was released, agreed. ‘What’s stunning about it is simply how bad it is,’ wrote Salon’s Charles Taylor. Others damned it as lazy, cliché-d and tortured. At least that first movie had the benefit of novelty.

Ah yes, Charles Taylor, the same critic who hated Million Dollar Baby and loved Mission to Mars. Piers is clearly forgetting that Taylor is well-known for being against the consensus. That said, many, many more critics praised Star Wars than Piers is letting on, and I’ll actually provide links!

Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars

Hollywood Reporter‘s Ron Pennington predicted it would emerge as a true classic of science fiction.

Jeff Millar called it an immensely entertaining film.

Kathleen Carroll praised it as a mind-blowing spectacle.

Gene Siskel gave it 3.5/4 stars and said it had the best visual effects since Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I have about 70 other critics I can cite, but I think you get it.

The sequels have got increasingly worse (according to those who’ve actually endured them).

Piers, if you’re going to base your arguments around anecdotes because you don’t know what you’re talking about, can you at least spell them out?

Now, as we brace ourselves for the 7th instalment, the whole Star Wars genre has become synonymous with one gloriously British word: ‘Naff’. Naff, for my American friends, is a derogatory term deployed by rich, privileged people (think those who live upstairs at Downton Abbey) when they wish to convey a sense of something being stupid, lame, unpalatable, and quite shudderingly uncool.

What’s really funny about this is that Piers Morgan thinks people who love Star Wars are doing it to be “cool.” Also, Piers Morgan is implying he knows what’s cool.

Let’s be honest here: did anyone watch that Star Wars trailer last night and genuinely think it was fantastic?

Personally? I thought it was good. Though I liked the last trailer better.

Or were you all just caught up in a very clever, very cynical piece of marketing brilliance by Disney?

Which is…what, exactly? Showing us parts of a movie that look fantastic? Those masterminds.

One based on the old Tinsel Town maxim of: ‘If it worked 40 years ago, let’s just repackage it, pretend it’s brand new, and do it all over again.’

How would you know if it’s repackaged if you haven’t seen it? In fact, no one seems to really know what this movie is actually about yet, so it’s nonsense to make this accusation.

I, peering through my dispassionate, uncontaminated eyes, laughed out loud during the trailer and not for any good reasons.

Wait, that’s it? You just asserted that this trailer is just a repackaged version of A New Hope without any support or examples…just so you could sooner get to your weird, repetitive anecdote no one cares about?

The only Force it reawakened in me is one of even firmer resolution not to go and see this latest diabolical affront to my sophisticated celluloid senses.

Oh, I’m wildly thankful this trailer wasn’t catered to the senses of Piers Morgan.

You can stick this over-rated, over-hyped, fantastically silly nonsense up your R2-D2.

I guess it’s unsurprising that even his put-downs make zero sense.

Well, that was bizarre. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone do such a bad job at purposefully trolling something, save for every public appearance of Donald Trump. After reading all of this, does anyone really believe the guy wrote this because he actually believes a word he’s writing?

Morgan didn’t really criticize anything. Throughout, his disliking of Star Wars seems to be completely arbitrary and based on everything about the love for the movies, instead of the movies themselves. It’s clear he’s looking for attention, but is it too much to ask for at least a little effort when you want people to notice you?

star wars overrated

Ultimately, I disagree with the notion that anything is “overrated.” I think it’s a false criticism that boils down to disliking how much attention something has gotten. What you’re really saying is that the emotional response someone had while watching The Empire Strikes Back is invalid because you got hung up on technical flaws, despite the fact that landing an aesthetic that connects with audiences is the primary job of the filmmaker.

But saying something is overrated makes the person with said opinion feel better about their opinion, and they love that feeling of getting inside someone’s head and making them feel guilty for having a sincere, even giddy reaction to a movie trailer they desperately want to see.

No thanks.

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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Snarcasm: YouTube Is Killing Film Criticism

film critics

Snark + Sarcasm = what’s you’re about to read. This week: It turns out no one should be a film critic unless they’re like every other critic. 

This is a tough Snarcasm to write because I agree with a lot of what Will Mann has to say about how film criticism has changed over the last decade. We just arrive at completely different conclusions because…well, you’ll see.

Writing for Medium, which was made to be longform Twitter, Will Mann writes:

Why I Miss Roger Ebert

Yeah, I miss him, too. He was a legendary—

-OR-

Uh oh.

(Youtube) Video Killed the (Film Criticism) Star

But the song is “Video Killed the Radio Star.” So shouldn’t “Film Criticism” at least be outside its parentheses? I don’t understand this reference, but that’s OK.

Will Mann begins his piece with a loving look back at Roger Ebert, one of the greatest film critics of all time, who sadly passed away in 2013.

Ebert was the gatekeeper when it came to my interest in cinema. His reviews were easily accessible on the Internet, and I had done my fair share of both Google searches to find out exactly what he said about all of my favorite movies and late-night Youtube binging of old episodes of Siskel and Ebert.

siskel and ebert
Gene Siskel (left); Roger Ebert (right)

Keep in mind that Mann discovered Roger Ebert’s film criticism via YouTube. That might become irony, soon.

I think if I could explain why I felt such grief at Ebert’s death, it would be because I felt like there was an emptiness, a hole that didn’t used to be there before.

…Go on.

Who would, or even could, replace Ebert?

No one, probably .One of the great things about Ebert was how personal his critiques were. You can’t replicate that experience. This isn’t The Daily Show, after all.

Was film criticism destined to decline in the absence of such an influential figure?

Uh, no

Roger Ebert was influential, but there are many other still-living critics who are just as good. Some could be better, depending on who you ask. And as long as films are still being made, good film critics will be around to talk about them.

Now, some two and a half years after his death, it looks increasingly like film criticism as we know it, and as Ebert knew it, will change forever.

Well, yeah. Film criticism changes all the time. You know why? Because films change. And the people who watch them change. This shouldn’t be surprising.

Suddenly, with the rise of social media, the old expression “everyone’s a critic” is more truth than fiction at this point.

Everyone has always been a critic. Because everyone who watches a movie is a critic. They may not be a professional film critic or even a particularly influential one, but everyone does, in fact, have an opinion.

Youtube critics, or non-professional film reviewers, have risen to prominence, and with that comes some problems that are worth discussing.

So I’m probably lumped into this category since film criticism isn’t my main profession. I do get paid for it, and I see enough movies a year to be taken seriously, but my medium (get it?) is solely online.

Hyperbole and a certain ineloquence that would make Ebert himself cringe define these online critics.

“A certain ineloquence” should be a safe word. Also, Ebert cringed at many critics, all the time. Including his longtime frenemy, Gene Siskel.

While there are online critics doing some great things in terms of film criticism (there’s even an Online Film Critics Society which hold awards every year), most of the critics I’ll be referring to are not members of the OFCS, nor are their reviews tallied on either Rotten Tomatoes or MetaCritic.

This makes sense because applying to be a part of OFCS, Rotten Tomatoes, and Metacritic is a very difficult process. Even great critics get rejected for the sake of keeping numbers down, and Rotten Tomatoes in particular requires a high average of users visiting your site to justify your inclusion. As they should.

In fact, you can’t even apply for OFCS whenever you want (they only accept applications five months out of the year). So many online film critics don’t bother because they don’t need to, anyway.

They mostly exclusively review genre movies, and turn a blind eye to independent or other smaller, non-genre fare. 

I agree with Mann, here. But at the same time, I’d prefer an online critic be honest about the movies they’re knowledgeable about. There’s room in the world for “genre critics” who only focus on movies they have a passion for.

In this era of “clickbait” and easiness of accessibility, there is a feeling like we’re losing something when these online personalities talk about film.

Working for websites who deal with entertainment news, I’ve noticed time and again that reviews almost never bring about “clickbait.” In that the headline promoting the article is misleading or written in a way to create shock value. Because reviews don’t bring about clicks quite as much as celebrity gossip, so they’re typically left to the machinations of SEO.

Once in a while, a movie like Fantastic Four will bring about some clickbait headlines catering to the “fanboys” who obsess over studio rights like it’s celebrity gossip. But most of the time, reviews survive because the critic slowly builds a dedicated following.

Critics used to be gatekeepers, an indicator, a gauge as to whether or not a movie was worth investing time and money into.

Good thing they still are.

Now, with fervent fanbases that resemble cults and a relative inexperience in the field of film criticism, these online critics are changing the way movies are reviewed, and not in a way that’s positive, nor in a way Ebert would’ve wanted.

The premise is the problem, here. Mann is arguing that because some bad film critics give bad reviews, it’s negating any of the good reviews that come out all the time. He even manages to lump “fanboys” into a cult to get his emotional point across, then pretends to know what Ebert would have wanted.

This is a weak argument. Relative inexperience is natural, as everyone has to start somewhere. Snarcasm has certainly taught me that, as I mainly read through scores of reviews that are painful to read. But I don’t call them out just because a review is bad. I only review a review if they truly deserve it (i.e. when they attack other critics for having a different opinion).

Also, it’s important to mention that yes, online critics are changing the way movies are reviewed for some. But to say that’s it not positive because it’s different is certainly troubling. Critics before Ebert lambasted him for having a TV show and hated his review style. I’m sure someone back then said he was changing the way movies were reviewed, and not in a positive way.

Take, for example the case of Boyhood. In summer of 2014, Richard Linklater Boyhood came out, earning a 98% Rotten Tomatoes score and many critics from all across the country proclaiming it to be a landmark, groundbreaking film.

A lot of online critics loved it, too. Myself included. I even included it in my Top 10 of 2014 list.

But as you no doubt guessed, Mann cherry picked one of the few “online personalities” who didn’t like it to prove his point.

Shortly after the film debuted, Half in the Bag, an online movie-review-show from RedLetterMedia, reviewed Boyhood, with both hosts, Jay Bauman and Mike Stoklasa coming out overwhelming against the film. They said things like, and I am quoting directly from their review, that Boyhood “sucked,” “sucked so bad,”

film critics

What’s interesting is that Mann is citing a comedy website as a representation for all online critics, here. If you’ve watched any of the RedLetterMedia videos, you know that most of what they do is satire laced with their true opinions. Yeah, they didn’t like it. But their show isn’t about artful critiques.

In fact, they’re famous for reviews of older movies that provide new insight into why we liked or disliked them, including Plinkett’s legendary takedown of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

Still, if you really want a more nuanced opinion about Boyhood that isn’t positive, you can certainly find it. 

Rather than admitting they might have gone overboard in their dislike, they followed up with a video where they made fun of what they viewed as the overwhelmingly positive reception of the film

Because they’re a comedy…ah, never mind.

It used to be that the purpose of having two critics discuss movies is that they could disagree with one another,

I’ve seen my fair share of Half in the Bag, and I can assure you that they don’t always agree (Jurassic World, for example). But since you’re treating this one review like their gospel…

Debate between two movie critics can be informative, for them and for us, the viewer. In contrast, Stoklasa and Bauman only reinforce each other’s worldview.

Yes, for this one movie you picked. Why are we still talking about this?

Moreover, all the attention they gave towards what I’m calling a “hate campaign” against a film that is so well respected by industry insiders, critics, and seemingly the general public (with the exception of RedLetterMedia’s fans, apparently) over actually-bad films that deserve scrutiny is truly baffling.

That’s the point. They don’t think the movie deserves the praise it’s getting because it doesn’t stand on its own (in their opinion) when the gimmick is removed.

Mann goes on to compare this Half in the Bag review with a review by Ebert, who also hated a film once. The point is that Ebert is a better critic…and?

Again, we’re still fixating on this one review. Proving that one critic is better than another doesn’t shed light on anything besides itself.

Compare Ebert’s exquisite insight on Contact to popular Youtube film-reviewer Jeremy Jahn’s perspective on a film he was very fond of, 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road:

film critics

Seriously? You’re going to compare a 1997 review about a science fiction drama with a George Miller action movie from this year? This doesn’t prove anything except that Mann is impatient when it comes to Google results.

I’ll admit that I’m not a fan of Jeremy Jahns, probably for the same reasons as Mann. The difference is that I don’t blame him for the decline of an entire industry. Or even the medium he’s delivering on.

Jahns, on top of other prominent critics like RedLetterMedia, YourMovieSucks, Chris Stuckman, etc. utilize simplistic language and quick edits to get their point across.

First of all, no

Chris Stuckmann in particular is a fantastic film critic, certainly more credible than anyone else on that list. And the guy is only in his mid-20s. Lumping him in with YourMovieSucks is almost criminal in my opinion.

Second of all, what?

Since when was simplistic language a bad thing? Or quick edits? Would you rather bore people and make your reviews less accessible? Why is it wrong to add entertainment value to a video review? It’s essentially the same as Siskel and Ebert using their friction to drum up some dramatic passion that kept people returning.

Most of the time, the reviews of these Youtube critics boil down to the most basic levels of “this was good, this was bad, this could’ve been better” rather than tackling the film as a whole the way Ebert used to.

So because they don’t review like Ebert, they’re…basic? I find this weird because a good review should essentially boil down to talking about what you like. There are other ways to do it, but many professional critics do the same thing you’re criticizing online film critics of doing.

Youtube critics almost always use a mix of hyperbole and language intentionally dumbed down for your everyday layman in order to get their points across.

In a way, Mann is correct. I would add that professional critics are also guilty of doing this in order to draw in readers.

But he doesn’t seem to understand that this isn’t inherently bad. He seems to think that everyone is looking for the same type of film review backed up by the same type of people who run organizations that promote a certain type of review.

film critics

He, and other critics, understand that many people simply want to view an emotional response to a movie. They don’t want to know all of the nuts and bolts in the same way other critics like Ebert liked to talk about. They just want to know if these critics  liked the movie.

YouTube reviews have skyrocketed in popularity for the same reason we loved Siskel and Ebert. Because we were able to visibly see the emotional reactions displayed by these film critics. Their emotional responses were much more memorable than some of the smaller details these guys would talk about, not that one thing is better than the other.

The beauty is that you can watch these reviews and go deeper if you choose to. You can hear some of Stuckmann’s rants about how excellent Deakins’ cinematography is, realize you love learning about that aspect of filmmaking, and then seek out other critics who note these nuances.

And I haven’t even mentioned Nostalgia Critic, arguably the best online video critic, who received praise from Roger Ebert himself for his show.

film critics

So, no, YouTube isn’t killing film criticism. It’s enabling more people to dive deeper into the medium. You’ll come across inexperienced film critics all the time, but your reaction shouldn’t be to silence them because they aren’t as good as the legends. Someday, they might be ready to take on that level of influence.

But, with Ebert gone, who would the young me choose to listen to if he was coming of age today?

The first step is accepting that Ebert can’t be replicated, much like I’ll never get to watch Movie Mob again. You can only connect with something new. It doesn’t have to be a YouTube film critic you can’t relate to. But it can certainly be someone more aligned with your tastes.

I, for example, get my fix from a recent show called “Film Club” on AV Club. In this video series, A.A. Dowd and Ignatity Vishnevetsky critique films in a format similar to Siskel and Ebert, and their condensed half-hour conversations can be just as insightful. I won’t try to convince anyone it’s better, but it’s certainly worthwhile.

 Remember, all these Youtube film critics are just as, if not more, accessible to young viewers as those Ebert reviews were to me. Young viewers, who are just coming into their own cinematic tastes. They, like I was towards Ebert, might be susceptible to older, more experiences voices, and align their tastes with these tastemakers. Does that mean that there are young film fans out there today who will never see a Richard Linklater film because RedLetterMedia told them to? Or that there is a young fan who will avoid anything out of the hyper-masculine genres of superhero films, action films, and horror films simply because Jeremy Jahns doesn’t look as excited when he reviews a drama than when he reviews the latest Marvel movie?

These are questions we need to ask ourselves.

And here’s the answer. The person who won’t watch Boyhood because one comedy website told him not to probably isn’t the type of person who’d find value from an Ebert review. The person who watches Jeremy Jahns to enjoy someone else’s opinion on a genre he loves isn’t there for an insightful critique. He just wants to find out what his friend thinks about the latest Marvel movie.

But the people who love all types of film have little to worry about. Because we have more choices than ever, and a lot of them are worth our time.

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: ‘Pan’ Was Good, No Matter How Much You Hated It

pan review

Snark + Sarcasm = what’s you’re about to read. This week: Why doesn’t anyone think of the children…when reviewing Pan so harshly? 

If you’ve been following the reviews coming out of Pan, the latest Peter Pan adaptation that focuses on the famous character’s origins, then you know that it’s been widely dismissed (no, I’m not using that pun. Or pan?)

I saw the film and reviewed it on the Now Conspiring podcast. In my opinion, it’s the worst adaptation of Peter Pan I’ve ever seen, including the plays. I love the story, especially the 2003 live-action take on it. Like most millennials, I love Hook. Heck, I even like the version we got with Once Upon a Time. 

So I hate to say that for me, Pan is a D minus.

And I’m not alone. The reviews at large have been downright scathing. They’re a fun read for anyone who gets their kicks from sassy critics. Even the positive reviews have been mostly unkind, giving the film only a little credit in spite of itself.

Then there’s Eddie from Nerd Reactor. Let’s talk about his Pan review, starting with the headline:

The only review of ‘Pan’ you’ll ever need to read!

That’s a pretty misleading headline, even by clickbait standards.

But like a good clickbait headline, bad information is there. The promise is that Eddie’s opinion of Pan is the most accurate out of countless critics. And anyone who reads this review, no matter their taste or background, will get the perfect insight into whether or not they should see Pan.

I’m going to guess that this review doesn’t accomplish any of that.

When you’re a child, you see the whole world around you in a new light.

New light? Or just new? You’re a kid, not a disenfranchised restaurant manager with an art degree who sees the Sistine Chapel for the first time.

From sights and sounds to tastes and smells, everything is brand new for you, and you can’t get enough of these new experiences. As you get older, those experiences lose their luster, and you tend to…well, grow up.

If only Pan had focused on even an inkling of this theme. But nope, it’s about a messiah who fulfills a prophecy because his mother’s name is Mary (subtle!)

But then something happens,

…Go on.

and you experience a movie that not only ignites the spark of imagination in your heart and in your spirit but also carries a great story that captivates the young at heart. 

Please be talking about Paddington. Please be talking about Paddington.

That’s what you get with the fantastical journey of pirates, Indians and flying in the movie called Pan.

You can’t tell, but I’m making a really grumpy face right now.

Also, they’re natives in this movie, not Indians. Get your lazy attempts to avoid racism by inexplicably whitewashing the characters straight .

Let’s get something straight,

Yes. This is a good idea…

this is a children’s film

Oh no, not this argument. Look, calling something a children’s film doesn’t excuse everything negative about it. We live in a post-Toy Story world, Eddie. Well, sort of (Toy Story 4 better be good).

And I wouldn’t argue with studio executives about who this movie is intended for. They want Pan to make as much money as possible, and parents don’t want to pay money to sit through a film with their kid that is widely panned (NO, I SAID IT).

This is a film that caters to the moviegoers who tentatively need a booster seat to see over the person in front of them.

Well, that’s just not true. The movie was certainly shooting for a preteen/young adult demographic, what with its special snowflake themes, bland protagonist, and mindless violence. Otherwise, it’s casually ripping off Harry Potter and other YA films by accident, and that’s certainly not the case.

Comparing these films to that of something like say X-Men: Days of Future Past, Hunger Games, or Scorch Trials is just ridiculous and naïve.

Was anyone expecting Pan to be like an X-Men movie? I mean, maybe X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but only in quality and due to the strange coincidence of Hugh Jackman being in another origin movie that probably shouldn’t exist.

How is it naïve to compare movies to other movies? Naiveté comes from a lack of experience, but if you’re comparing movies, then you’re showing that you understand the standard set by the genre. What’s actually naïve is claiming that Pan shouldn’t have to answer for its problems because it’s made for kids.

Sadly, many reviewers of the film are out there stating how it is “slapdash” and “ill-explained” and are forgetting that films like this aren’t made for everyone.

But your review is? That’s what the headline told me.

Look, I know what it’s like to enjoy a movie that other people hate. It happens. But assuming they’re the ones who are naïve is a bit…well, naïve

The target demographic is intended for children, which means that if you’re expecting something more mature, you’re not the target demographic.

No one was expecting a “mature” Peter Pan movie. That’s just silly. Plenty of people weren’t even expecting this movie to exist, and that’s certainly valid.

Personally, I was expecting a few things: good special effects (considering the talent involved), a decent story that set up Peter Pan as the character we know him (considering it’s an origin story for a well-known character), and music that matched the tone of the film.

We didn’t get any of those things. We got Nirvana and the Ramones. We also got some of the worst special effects and CGI of 2015 (especially for a blockbuster), and a movie that completely ignores what makes Peter Pan who he is as a character while playfully exploiting our nostalgia to artificially generate interest for its uninteresting characters.

to bash a film simply because you are not the targeted audience only shows how much of yourself you invested into the film. 

Nope! It just shows that the movie did a bad job at entertaining all audiences. That’s about it. And I don’t think it’s strange to be invested in a classic mythology that we all grew up with.

Ok. I’m done.

Yes. Finally.

Let’s get  to the review.

Grumpy face

Pan is a film that recounts the origin tale of J.M. Barrie’s classic storybook character, Peter Pan, and how he surpasses all obstacles including being an orphan, self-doubt, and the jaws of a massive crocodile, to finally realizing that it isn’t what other people say that makes you special, but what you believe about yourself.

Hmmm, I don’t recall that EVER being a theme in a Peter Pan story. In fact, he’s typically a villain. Wendy is the true protagonist in these stories, and she is typically the moral center who convinces the amoral Peter Pan to commit acts of heroism.

And sorry, but this “you’re special because you believe in yourself” drivel is way too played out to take seriously. It’s not compelling, it’s overdone. It’s not a good message because it reinforces the idea that what you decide to do is good because you decide it is, which is typically the precursor to a terrible decision you’re about to make.

You know what’s a good message for kids? It’s OK to be sad (Inside Out). Your family is what you make of it (Paddington). Don’t get eaten by dinosaurs (Jurassic World).

Pan chronicles the journey of Peter (Levi Miller) as an orphan, being left on the doorstep by a mysterious blonde who leaves a note,

Wait, so it’s worth noting that Peter is played by Levi Miller, a newcomer, but you won’t mention that his mother is played by Amanda Seyfried?

In the midst of war,

No need to be exact. It’s just the most significant war in recent memory, perhaps of all time.

Peter must realize his destiny and find that the true power of who he is.

…is? Does this sentence just end? Who is his power???

The film carries many great attributes

How do you carry an attribute?

starting with its ability to create a cast

How do you create a cast? Or read this? OK, I’m done with petty grammar stuff.

that builds a great story with their dialogue.

….alright, now I’m done.

Actor Levi Miller did an outstanding performance as Peter,

Really? Outstanding? You’re going to burst a vein, then, when you see Jacob Tremblay in The Room, or Abraham Attah in Beasts of No Nation.

His portrayal of a 12-13 year old boy is spot on, as most boys at this age aren’t sure of what they want, or which direction they’re going to go.

OK, I have to give Eddie credit for finding a way to explain why Levi Miller’s character is so bland in a way that sounds like a compliment. You’ll go far.

His acting ability surpasses many of other actors much older than him,

How? As in, “how did you arrive at this opinion?” Also, “how are we supposed to take this entire review seriously?”

as he is able to show the full spectrum of emotions while still being in control of the scene.

Anyone can show a full spectrum of emotions thanks to Sesame Street and puberty. What makes an actor great is when he can make those emotions come across as believable, like it’s really happening and you don’t have to think about it. Controlling a scene is a different job altogether because it’s about presence and timing.

Eddie goes on to compliment Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, and I’ll give him a pass on all that. Jackman certainly isn’t the worst thing about this movie, and I can understand a fan being charmed by his character.

Rooney Mara and Garrett Hedlund both are a great support for the main character for this film

Yeah, since Mara doesn’t show up until the second act and Hedlund spends most of his time acting like Han Solo, looking like Indiana Jones, and talking like Nicholas Cage on an “All That” sketch — while sort of following Peter around. The support is real.

There was much debate as to the casting of Mara in the role as Tiger Lily.

Please…let’s not go there. Eddie, I’m begging you.

The one thing that many people overlooked was what type of tribe was Tiger Lily from?

Uh. I mean, uh?

what if the tribe wasn’t a specific type of ethnicity, but a tribe of many ethnicities? The tribe that Tiger Lily belonged to in the film was filled with individuals from China, India, Europe, Africa, and etc!

Right! With a European-looking woman as their leader! Surely that won’t offend anyone.

To be honest, I don’t think this is a big deal. I went into Pan knowing that this would be odd, and it didn’t bother me as much as I thought I would. But that’s probably because everything about this movie is so bad, whitewashing ends up being one of the least of its problems.

The visuals in the film were very captivating.

Yeah, in a way. In the, “how does Scooby Doo: Monsters Unleashed look better than this?” way.

The visual effects team spared no expense

That’s part of the whole “flop” problem.

and took the time to creating breathtaking mermaids who assist in getting Peter and his team to the other side of the river.

Took their time? Cara Delevingne plays all four mermaids. And they’re only onscreen for about two minutes. And they don’t say anything. And they look fake. And they only help Peter while Hook and Tiger Lily watch…

Overall, the film was exactly what it set out to be: a great children’s film, retelling the courageous tale of the boy who never grew up.

…in a version of Neverland where everyone grows up (the main plot is that Blackbeard is aging and wants to keep himself young, which shouldn’t even be a problem in a place like Neverland).

And understand one thing: I’m not saying that other websites and reviewers are wrong,

But you are.

I’m only saying that some are forgetting the one key thing about this film: it was made for children.

So it’s telling that they don’t even want to subject their kids to this.

I’ll just say this one more time for emphasis: a movie made for children doesn’t have to be bad. Even if kids like it, that doesn’t make it good. It just makes Pan an expensive babysitter.

going in to see the film, I recognized right away where all the children were sitting, so that I could get a chance to see their faces when they saw incredible things in the theater.

I don’t think I’m qualified to comment on this.

I spent about as much time watching the film as I did seeing the reactions, and it was not without reward.

So you admit you only saw half of the movie?

The look of sheer excitement as the ships were fighting in mid-air, the shining ear-to-ear smiles from seeing fairies,

They were impressed by those floating CGI lens flares without any sort of physical form? I mean, I was sort of impressed when Peter used them as a Kamehameha, but only because it’s incredible how much source material they managed to rip off in under two hours.

I sat next to a small girl named Layla, and she was so excited after the film, that she got up, turned to her mom after the movie, and with a big smile on her face, asked, “Was this a story, mom? Can we go find it?” Many kids arose from their seats, jittering with elation, unaware of the world outside the theater, and the homes they will be going back to. This film gave them a piece of hope, even if it was just for about two hours. That’s why Pan was made. Giving bravery and courage back to our children, and seeing that even though the world is big and sometimes scary, we each hold the power to be greater than it, and in the end, overcome it.

Seriously, guy, this isn’t Shawshank Redemption. Are we really supposed to take this anecdote about how strangely attentive Eddie is to other people’s children as verification that a bad movie can be good because Layla wants to know if it’s a story?

Pan is a terrible movie. It just is. But like most terrible movies, it will find its audience, no matter how small. So if you love Pan, that’s totally fine and I’m glad that you left the theater feeling like you got your money’s worth.

But don’t try to tell everyone else in the most condescending way possible that they did get their money’s worth because it lightly entertained a bunch of kids that you were paying (probably) too much attention. Our standard for all films, no matter the genre, needs to be much higher than that.

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: ‘Inside Out’ Was Just So Disappointing

inside out disappointing

“Snarcasm” is a new editorial series about a mild-mannered film blogger who goes head-to-head with other silly bloggers. Snark + Sarcasm = what you’re about to read. 

This week, we’re examining Chris Sawin’s Examiner review of Pixar’s latest film, Inside Out.

Spoiler alert: he gave the film a 5/10. I’m guessing he can’t even.

Sawin kicks off his review with the headline, “‘Inside Out’ is an underwhelming yet clever effort from Pixar.” I guess you could say it’s…cleverly underwhelming? Probably not.

But as Riley’s parents decide to move from Minnesota to San Francisco, Riley is taken from everything she once knew and thrown into a strange place with no friends.

So, Examiner.com?

Sawin gives a pretty exhaustive synopsis of the film at this point, then mentions “Lava” as the short that precedes the movie.

The short is a decent representation of what you should prepare yourself for when it comes to the appreciation and enjoyment factors of “Inside Out;”

Oh, so t’s beautifully animated and filled with rich characters you find easy to love thanks to a well-written script?

inside out disappointing

it’s mildly amusing and cute but nothing great.

Oh.

The theme of Sawin’s review, by the way, is that no matter how good you are at something, it’s not “great” because Sawin says so. Let’s continue.

What the film fails to do is capitalize on the Pixar reputation of affecting a wide range of your emotions throughout its duration.

So, five emotions aren’t enough? I have a feeling that Sawin would have otherwise complained that there were too many emotions and not enough focus.

Also, since when do Pixar movies have to affect a lot of different emotions? They usually go for humor and drama. Am I supposed to be more angry and disgusted while watching Pixar movies?

but the bottom line is “Inside Out” is often lethargic to a frustrating extent.

I’m pretty sure calling Inside Out sluggish is akin to calling There Will Be Blood a romantic comedy. The film immediately cuts to the chase, with the main problem of the movie (Riley’s move) occurring as the title screen pops up. And this is in the first five minutes.

Honestly, I have no idea what Sawin is getting at when he calls the film lethargic. From my perspective, every scene moves at a brisk pace, especially the action, without forgetting it has a new world to build that won’t go over your head. There were very few moments of downtime.

Each Pixar film is usually distinctly different than the last.

I’m guessing that “usually” applies to sequels.

“Inside Out” is the first film where the character designs of the humans in the film remind you of “Toy Story” or certain elements of the story or visuals are reminiscent of “Up.”

Well, yeah. How is that a bad thing? In order to easily distinguish between the human world and the mind world, the visual artists had to conceive of humans who felt familiar. What better way than to use techniques learned from the successful Toy Story franchise?

And to be fair, Monsters Inc., and its prequel also share human characters with similar visual styles. Same with Finding Nemo. I’d even argue that the humans of WALL-E look a lot like humans you’d see in Ratatouille or The Incredibles. There’s even an old lady in Ratatouille who looks just like Geri from Toy Story, but with a shotgun.

inside out disappointing

Maybe it has something to do with how these characters show up in different movies all the time? Nope! Sawin calls it lethargic.

Imagination Land, which is a personal favorite segment from “Inside Out,” has you remembering your favorite moments from “Wreck-It Ralph,” even though it wasn’t a Pixar film.

Right, with all of the video games and the…uh…oh, well I suppose it almost looks like “Sugar Rush Speedway” sometimes…barely…not at all, really.

But unlike Sawin, I’ll actually support my argument. Here’s an image of Sugar Rush Speedway:

sugar rush speedway

Alright, now here’s an image of Imagination Land from Inside Out.

inside out imagination land

Oh, wait. That doesn’t work. OK, try this one:

inside out imagination land

Hm, that doesn’t work either. There’s just a bunch of relevant objects related to things Riley imagines. Well, let’s try this one!

inside out imagination land

Ha! See, there’s a castle just like…oh, that doesn’t look like the Sugar Rush castle. Wait, wait, I’ve found it. Here it is!

inside out imagination land

See! In this image, there are flowers. And in the Wreck-It Ralph image, there’s a lollipop with a flower pattern on it! Case closed!

“Inside Out” is innovative, but it’s not idiosyncratic enough to fully develop its own personality.

So it’s both innovative and more of the same. I’m pretty sure that’s a paradox.

Also, how idiosyncratic does it have to be in order to have its own personality that is fully developed? I’m guessing that by your standards, it has to be completely, 100% original. But how many other movies actually achieve this? Why is Inside Out being held to this impossible standard?

Sawin is clearly ignoring the scope of Inside Out, of course. This film covers a wide range of different sets, characters styles, and unique settings. Finding Nemo is the only other Pixar movie I can think of with this much diversity in its settings. So of course you can cherry pick a couple of locations that remind you of other Pixar films.

The animation seems to shine the brightest during the abstract stages sequence. It’s so much more quirky and eccentric than the rest of the film.

How is one sequence being “good” mean that the others are “bad?” Shouldn’t you be praising Inside Out for how good this scene is?

While the animation is as excellent as ever the character designs seem a step or two below what Pixar is known for.

Examples? Or are you going to support yet another assertion with yet another assertion?

All of the emotions appear to be designed for a film that was forced to go directly to DVD, which then made a B-line for the clearance rack.

Wow. How so?

Most characters in the film appear to be apathetic

In other words, “lethargic.”

OK, so Sawin doesn’t like the appearance of the emotions. He’s not “wrong” since this is an opinion based on his personal tastes. The problem, obviously, is that he has nothing objective to compare them to.

inside out disappointing

Personally, I find their designs genius. Like Up, they have their own shape language (Joy represents a star, Sadness is a teardrop, etc.) Additionally, they used color language to drive home the impact of the emotions with their prescribed color palette. And they’re designs were deliberately given an abstract shape so that they could move within their world by a set of different rules and physics because they’re inside of the mind. It’s subtle, but effective.

Even if you don’t find their designs very pleasing to the eye, it’s unfair to ignore how aggressively original they are. But in the same review where Sawin complains about the characters not being unique enough, they’re too unique.

and are therefore already not interesting before they even open their mouths.

You heard it here first. A character who embodies anger and is voiced by Lewis Black is “uninteresting.”

Dull character designs aren’t usually something you throw into the same sentence as “Pixar.”

That’s probably because no one else is.

The humor is also below any sort of standard comedies in general should have.

Standard comedies? Can you at least give an example of what you consider to be a—

Most of it will barely force a chuckle out of you

Sigh.

Most gags like the Tripledent Gum jingle are humorous at first, but are run into the ground early on.

OK, so the joke about an annoying, recurring jingle eventually gets annoying because it’s recurring. Got it.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that joke is only referenced two or three times.

Other times it feels like the film is simply trying too hard to cater to the humor of an eight year old or the kid in all of us that it completely overlooks aiming for adult humor.

Can I say that bad word, now?

One might make the argument that Anger’s constant jabs at possibly using curse words is rather adult, but it seems too easy and too juvenile for Pixar.

Right, because we celebrate the humor of Toy Story and Finding Nemo because they had so many adult jokes. Just keep swimming, Sawin.

inside out disappointing

Of course, Inside Out has a good amount of jokes that go over the heads of an eight-year-old. A standout is Bing Bong nonchalantly mixing a box of “facts” with a box of “opinions.” And Riley’s mom fantasizing about an affair…ah, never mind.

While none of us enjoy being sad, “Inside Out” utilizes how important sadness is to our daily lives. You need a steady emotional balance to take on growing up and the rest of your life and “Inside Out” approaches handles those elements extremely well.

Keep in mind that this is one of the many instances throughout the review where Sawin gives the film high praise. Yet it’s still a 5/10.

The animated comedy is imaginative, but it lacks laugh out loud humor and its lazy animation is disheartening.

Lazy animation? Earlier, you wrote that it was excellent.

Pixar films are known to pack an emotional punch and “Inside Out” doesn’t have any of that.

I’m starting to think Sawin didn’t watch this movie.

All it has to offer is a misguided beating heart that is visually displeasing.

But…earlier you said that it was imaginative. And you said the animation was excellent. And you said the film utilizes important themes. And that it handles its story extremely well. But now it’s misguided?

Look, Inside Out isn’t a perfect movie. And plenty of Sawin’s complaints are valid because they’re subjective. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it.

The problem with this review, however, is that he offers no basis or reasoning for his critique. It’s just one opinionated assertion after another, and he doesn’t offer the film any credit for the very things he praises (then eventually derides).

In other words, the only lazy thing about Inside Out that I’ve come across is this review.

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

Bad News: Fan Theories are Destroying Movie Discussion

fan theories

Sorry, everyone. It turns out we have to ditch enjoying our entertainment a certain way because the managing editor of Movie Mezzanine thinks they are, and this is a direct quote, “truly toxic.”

Alright. Let’s do this.

In his latest editorial, titled “Why Fan Theories are Destroying Film Discourse,” film critic Josh Spiegel deconstructs the modern fan theory, directly calling me out on two theories I’ve written on this very site. For that reason, I think it would be rude not to respond, right?

He starts the essay with a few examples to set up his case.

Did you know that, in The Dark Knight, the hero was actually the Joker? It’s true—if you buy into this recent theory posited by a user on Reddit.

Interesting that he doesn’t link to the post itself, just an article on SlashFilm reporting on it. I mean, that’s not egregiously terrible or anything…but why not just link to the original post? Wouldn’t it be fairer for readers to evaluate the original version instead of a shortened one that leaves out his full explanation?

Also, I don’t get his logic with this sentence: “It’s true—if you buy into this.”

Well, no, something isn’t “true” just because you believe it. I suppose, then, it is true to you, but if Josh is subtly implying that truth is relative, then doesn’t that make this entire article pointless?

And did you know that Andy’s mom in Toy Story is also the grown version of the girl named Emily in Toy Story 2 who owned, and then discarded, Jessie the cowgirl?

YES! Wait, is this a trap?

No fooling, according to a post by the same guy who has a far broader theory that every Pixar movie—yes, even the Cars movies—are connected to each other.

Well, no, that’s not true. If he had read the actual post he’s linking to, he would have noticed that I didn’t, in fact, come up with the original theory for Andy’s mom being Emily. It was presented to me, and I made the case for it with my own research.

fan theories
So long, logic.

And in the most mind-blowing one of all, it’s even been suggested that the snarky kid at the beginning of Jurassic Park who Alan Grant threatens with a raptor claw grew up to be none other than Chris Pratt’s hero character in Jurassic World.

Again, Spiegel links to the article reporting what someone posted on Reddit, instead of just the original posting. Does Spiegel hate Reddit or something?

Also, I actually like this theory about Jurassic World. It’s interesting. It’s a fun connection. It makes enough sense, and it doesn’t contradict anything presented in the respective movies. So, what’s the problem?

There are an embarrassingly large number of fan theories floating around the Internet, and the emphasis here should be on the word “embarrassingly.”

It’s embarrassing to have a large number of discussions about movies? I thought fan theories were destroying film discourse, not strengthening it? Oh, Josh, let’s just cut to the chase, friend. 

What these ideas amount to are fan fiction, not fan theories.

Wait, but what are “these ideas” you refer to? I didn’t leave a sentence out. You’re saying that fan theories are fan fiction, but they’re not fan theories. What?

fan theories
And even *terrible* fan fiction gets to be a book!

Also, fan fiction isn’t as broad a term as you’re alluding. Unless someone is actually writing a fiction, it’s not fan fiction. And even if it is, some fan fiction can be pretty good (don’t see above), and a lot of people read and love it. In a way, the celebrated Star Wars novels are a form of fan fiction cleverly called “expanded universe.” Why is that acceptable, but an interpretation of a movie you just saw isn’t?

I have a feeling he’s not going to answer the question and instead bring something else up.

Few, if any, of these theories ever get a direct response;

They’re not supposed to get a direct response. That’s not the point. Fan theories, in a broad sense, are an experiment by moviegoers to let themselves interpret movies they love in new and different ways. They don’t have to be “true.” 

That’s like saying your interpretation of 2001A Space Odyssey isn’t worth your time because Kubrick hasn’t directly responded to it from the grave.

fan theories
OR HAS HE?

..the closest in recent memory is Pixar director Lee Unkrich playfully retweeting a comment or two from followers of his who treat the so-called Pixar Theory as utter silliness.

Well first of all, it’s not “so-called.” It’s just called.

Also, why not just link to the Tweet itself?? Again, Spiegel links to the blog post about the Tweet. I’m feeling an Inception fan theory coming on here…is…is Josh Spiegel Dom Cobb? Makes sense.

Oh, and you’re linking to the wrong Pixar Theory. That’s the website inspired by it, not the original post. I’m guessing Spiegel doesn’t care.

[UPDATE: Movie Mezzanine graciously fixed this error and sent the link to the correct spot. Credit where credit is due.]

But fan theories are becoming as prevalent to modern film culture as stories about casting rumors or reviews, and they are becoming truly toxic.

Toxic, eh? That’s strong language. I mean it implies that fan theories themselves are harmful. Probably to film discourse! Let’s read why. 

It’s easy to imagine the counterargument from those in favor of fan theories: What’s the harm?

Right. That’s a big one. 

The Dark Knight doesn’t become better or worse because of a Reddit user’s theory about the Joker, as silly as that theory might sound.

Nods.

The Toy Story films are still marvelous whether or not Andy’s mom is Jessie’s old owner.

True that. 

Jurassic World is still a resounding disappointment,

Wait, what? A resounding disappointment? That’s heavy hyperbole, especially considering the adjective is implying that we’re still feeling it as a disappointment months later. 

Never mind that Jurassic World is one of the top-grossing films of all time, or that it managed to score good reviews when most people were expecting another terrible Jurassic Park sequel. 

fan theories
Never forget.

I get why you may not have liked it, Spiegel, but that doesn’t make it an ongoing disappointment to everyone else.

The problem is that these theories, online, become as inextricable to a vast amount of readers as the actual movies themselves.

He just asserts this. No evidence. No examples. Not even a bloody anecdote. Spiegel, in all his wisdom, just declares that fan theories are confusing people because there’s a lot of them. Does he not think we’re smart enough to read fan theories? And then he says the movies should be confusing us. What? What’s confusing? 

This argument makes no sense to me because it implies that people care more about fan theories than the movie themselves, but liking the movie is the actual prerequisite to even wanting to read a fan theory.

So what’s the problem? People aren’t overthinking movies the right way? Is that where this is going?

Worse still, these fan theories are quickly replacing actual critical analysis,

Last I checked, people still critique movies. Like a lot of them. All the time. Do you have, maybe, any evidence that there are fewer articles that analyze movies the way you want them to be analyzed?

covered by a large amount of entertainment websites in part because the content beast must be fed,

Exactly! Like how celebrity gossip ruined film discourse because the magazine content beast had to be fed. Should we hate that, too?

and in part because it takes the work out of the hands of the sites’ writers and into the hands of random commenters who have too much time on their hands.

Look, I’m all for giving writers more work to do. Like sourcing the actual comments instead of just linking to the blog post about them. (But I guess he’s doing that to strengthen his point.) 

And we don’t totally disagree on this. Some fan theories are pretty bad, and it’s annoying when a website will feature them just to get clicks. So why are you attacking all fan theories? Some of them are fantastic, and yes, worth talking about.

fan theories
Like “the stormtroopers missed all the time because Vader ordered them not to kill his son. Oh, and he knew Luke was his son the whole time.”

They’re not from “random commenters” as you so condescendingly refer to them as. They’re human beings who love movies just as much as you and I do.

I don’t care what you think about them, Spiegel. Loving movies is the only qualifier you need to join the discussion, EVEN if you have free time (gasp).

So what’s the difference between a fan theory and a deep-dive exploration into one aspect of a film?

Hmmm…How many flattering adjectives you’re willing to assign to them? 

The former is the product of a person choosing to fantasize about what they would do if they had made the film they’re watching,

No, that’s not it at all. Last I checked, not everyone wants to be a director. Maybe I’ll check again. Checks. Nope. 

and the latter is the product of a person paying attention to the movie they’re watching and responding in kind.

Wow. Just…wow. Spiegel isn’t using words like “some” or “generally.” He’s definitively saying that people who write fan theories aren’t paying attention to the movie. 

Because it’s not like I write both fan theories and elaborate critiques about how The Incredibles demonstrates the subtle benefits of inequality, how Inception brilliantly built its story around filmmaking, or how the humans of WALL-E represent the best in society contrasted with their horrible surroundings you’re only perceiving as “bad” because of clever story tricks. 

I couldn’t have written any of those things because I wasn’t “paying attention.” I was too busy also writing fan theories, and those are bad.

Often, the fan theories that send the Internet—specifically its social-media avenues—into a tizzy rely heavily on the fact that they aren’t based directly on what’s present in the text.

True. Most of these theories end up being rubbish, or not completely thought through. 

Take, for example, the notion that Owen Grady in Jurassic World is the kid in the opening of Jurassic Park. That certainly sounds cool, and would be a nice, if random, tie-in to the 1993 film. But what’s the evidence backing this theory? Well, see, the kid in Jurassic Park is only credited as “Volunteer Boy.” So his name could be Owen! Also, Chris Pratt is only a year older than the actor who played Volunteer Boy, so the timeline could fit! Also…um…hey, look, something shiny!

Seriously, Josh? Why so mean-spirited in that last line? We get it. You think fan theories are childish. You don’t have to be a tool about it.

fan theories
Take a long, Lohan, look at yourself.

Also, the evidence for this Jurassic World theory comes from the fact that you can reasonably see the people who made the film creating a character who embodies this moment from the first film. It actually informs the story as a whole.

That said, and I can’t stress this enough, this theory doesn’t have to be true. But it is a fun thought experiment that you can speculate about because it does happen to fit with the source material so nicely.

The majority of the work to make this theory seem remotely logical is done behind the scenes, as someone imagines what could have happened to this kid after Alan Grant scratched at his stomach with a raptor claw.

Yeah, who needs imagination? Certainly not people who watch what is essentially an illusion on a big screen.

See, much of what we take from a movie has to come from thinking external of what’s being presented. This is because the audience makes an emotional connection with what’s happening, but not every director can spoon feed you the context. That would alienate the audience.

We have to fill in those blanks ourselves most of the time, which leads to…you guessed it…film discourse.

This same vagueness plagues the majority of fan theories. Yes, it’s not impossible that, in the Toy Story films, Andy’s mom could have a deeper connection to one of his toys than he or even she realizes. So many existing fan theories rely on the first four words of the previous sentence: “Yes, it’s not impossible.” The lack of impossibility, however, doesn’t automatically prove a theory correct; it merely suggests that it’s not impossible for something to be true.

Again, these theories don’t have to be true. That’s not why most people come up with them. It’s about interpreting small clues in new ways that get you to think about the film. When someone reads this theory for the first time, they’re often pushed into rewatching the movie, and (guess what!) paying attention to it. 

Fan theories are no substitute for critical analysis, yet they have quickly become inseparable for so many readers online.

This is Josh’s main argument, and I get why he’s so concerned. Because it’s true that fan theories are not a substitute. But that’s a complete misunderstanding of their role. They’re not meant to be a substitute, either. They never were. 

Instead, fan theories in their nature are meant to be a form of interpretation through imagination and passion for the subject material. They’re meant to answer questions that don’t have to be answered, but create conversations between the people who answer these questions in different ways.

fan theories
Sometimes, fan theories are answered by the voice actors themselves.

Analogy time!

Fan theories are like movies. There are good movies, and there are bad movies. That doesn’t mean we should get rid of all movies because some are bad. And bad movies certainly don’t replace other art forms that approach entertainment in a different way. I can read a fan theory and a deep analysis by A.A. Dowd. And I can enjoy both of them.

On the other, fan theories pose as critical analysis in spite of featuring neither criticism—often, these are posed by people who would proudly consider themselves fanboys or fangirls, never pausing to think about the built-in imperfections of even their favorite films—nor analysis.

Translation: Josh thinks you like movies too much. Go figure. 

Right, because in his world, people who overthink movies don’t criticize them. That is an actual opinion held by a film critic.

Popular films like Jurassic World or The Dark Knight or Toy Story beg to be debated for their themes.

And nothing else! Only themes! 

Hey, wouldn’t that mean that critical analysis of themes is destroying film discourse? What if someone wants to debate the characters in the movie, or how some of the movies share nods to each other?

Nope! To save film discourse, we must prevent it from happening the way we want it to. Shrug!

As ubiquitous as they may be, the discourse surrounding these films frequently sidesteps a conversation on nostalgia, on childhood heroes, on the possible emptiness of vast spectacle.

This sentence exists in a world where The Nostalgia Critic is one of the most widely viewed critics in new media. 

fan theories
OK, maybe some people talk about Nostalgia Critic more than nostalgia itself.

Fan theories now drive the discourse on these films, and to everyone’s detriment.

No, they just exist. That’s all they do. Yes, some are more popular than others, but how is that in any way proof that they’re replacing anything? 

I browse the Top and Trending URLs almost every single day. You know which articles about movies I see the most being shared? Not fan theories. Those make up a small percentage, because the reality is that a good fan theory is hard to discover, while pointing out what you think about a movie is pretty easy, and a lot of people are pretty interested in critical analysis.

You know what the top trending links were for the day I wrote this (September 2, 2015)? The top link was an image of Bryan Cranston as LBJ in the upcoming movie, All the Way.

fan theories
Yes, this is actually happening.

The second most shared link about movies (including via social media) was a longform piece by Italo Calvino about movies that influenced his youth, adapted from a published autobiography.

There was another piece about actors who’ve built successful careers after The Twilight Zone.

Even Gawker published something interesting about how Bruce Willis was unaware that China has a huge film market even though he’s in a movie made in China. OK, I thought it was interesting.

So that’s everything movie-related from the top 100 links. Yet I don’t see a single “fan theory” shoving its way past articles that are, in Spiegel’s eyes, more deserving.

fan theories

For some odd reason, Spiegel feels threatened because a good article he probably wrote isn’t as famous as a theory about the Joker from The Dark Knight. And I guess I sympathize. That sounds weird, and I’ve been there.

Does that mean fan theories are inherently bad, though? Absolutely not. You could only argue that they’re toxic if you actually have an argument that points out how they prevent people from deep analysis.

But instead of doing that, Spiegel has chosen to create a false dichotomy between analysis and analysis fueled by imagination. By doing this, he tries to makes you feel dumb for liking fan theories instead of something he likes.

That’s not an argument. That’s a childish guilt trip.

On their own, fan theories are, indeed, harmless; if they existed next to critical discussions, and did so in lesser standing, they would be a fun distraction.

“Fan theories wouldn’t be so bad if people liked my articles better.” 

But the more fan theories are treated as serious, thoughtful salvos in a debate, the more ridiculous they appear to become.

To you. 

Here’s a new fan theory to ponder: making these things die a quick death will improve the world of film immeasurably. What more proof do you need?

All of the proof you failed to deliver thousands of words ago. 

And I’m puzzled by the raising of the stakes toward the end. Now we have to make fan theories die a quick death? What’s going on, Josh? Did a fan theory steal your girlfriend or something?

Seriously, he went from talking about how fan theories are harmless to calling for their immediate death. This sounds a lot like a dictatorship to me, rather than letting people who love movies make up their minds on how they want to approach the entertainment they like.

In other words, not everyone thinks like a film critic. And that’s OK.

fan theories
You. Are going. To do great, today.

This entire article is a classic case of subjectivity rearing its opinionated head. The truth of it is that Josh Spiegel is an intelligent film critic. I actually like his work a lot and enjoyed his review of Inside Out, among others. We don’t always agree, of course, but he’s good at adding great points to any given discussion.

But this idea that fan theories are making everything worse is a true moment of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt).

The quick of it is that Josh doesn’t like fan theories. So he doesn’t like that you like fan theories. Then he accuses you of not liking the type of analysis that he likes (even though you probably do). Then he calls for the death of said thing that you love.

No thanks.

[UPDATE] The original author of the “Joker” theory (who goes by the username, generalzee) responded to Spiegel’s post via the comments, and I thought it would be good to share it here as well. Source.

As the person who wrote the Joker Fan Theory in question, I can’t believe how wrong and insecure this article sounds.

First of all, I never intended for my fan theory to be a critical analysis of The Dark Knight. Nowhere in my theory do I talk about the framing of shots (which I could have), or the acting (which could have been a major point in such a theory), or even the uber-dark mise-en-scene, which may have fully supported my theory, and highlighted how, thematically, all three main characters were living in the dark. Instead, I made an arguably compelling argument that the film could be interpreted another way.

What I find worse than that, though, is the fact that you claim that I ignored facts that are DIRECTLY MENTIONED in my theory. I explained both the boats and Dent’s scarring (Both physical and emotional) directly in the original piece. Of course, I wouldn’t expect a modern blogger to actually check his sources, and I’m sure you just read the Mashable version at some point, but it annoys me that you would make such an attack on fan theories WITHOUT EVEN READING THE ONE YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT.

So please let me be clear that this response IS intended to be a critical discourse on your work. What I see is a self-proclaimed critic who is horrified by his perceived loss of power to a basically unrelated group of people investigating films in a way that he, himself, has arbitrarily deemed below himself. This is reflected in his weak, but clear call to action to end Fan Theories as if they are going to harm legitimate film criticism. The panic he feels reflects strongly in his hastily researched (Really, how long did it take you to read the titles of the top 5 Fan Theories on Reddit?), and poorly thought-out criticism of a culture that he would attempt to appropriate into his own, only to discard it immediately.

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

So, M. Night Shyamalan Still Wants to Make ‘The Last Airbender 2’

the last airbender 2

Before we go any further, let’s get my opinion straight. I’m speaking to M. Night Shyamalan directly when I say, STAY AWAY FROM AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER. FOREVER.

There, that’s all I wanted to say, aside from the rest of this.

Strangely, some people don’t blame the once promising director for the insulting mess that was 2010’s The Last Airbender, including Shyamalan himself. We’ll get to the lunacy of that, but first I should mention that this is still a minority opinion. A terrible opinion, but a minority opinion all the same.

Venture Capitol Post posted an article yesterday with an unforgivably misleading title that shocked and scared the eyes of hopefully only tens of readers:

‘Avatar: The Last Airbender 2’ Confirmed: Director M. Night Shyamalan Defends 1st Film from Longstanding Criticism.

Um…No, this movie is most certainly NOT confirmed. Obvious clickbait headline isn’t just clickbait. It’s actually beyond clickbait, transcending into a full on clicksnare.

the last airbender 2
This will teach readers to skim my lede.

Nowhere in the article does it say that The Last Airbender 2 has been “confirmed.” They don’t even get the name of the movie right in the title, which should be the first red flag.

No, this article only covers a few link shares to other articles published over the last few months that point out Shyamalan’s interest in continuing the franchise. In fact, I can’t find anything new or relevant in this article to explain why it even exists. So let’s keep going!

‘Avatar: The Last Airbender 2’ director M. Night Shyamalan continued to defend his first film from long-standing criticism. He is also reported ready to push through with a sequel.

Source? Nope. There’s no source for this at all. Venture Capital Post just asserts this and moves on like it’s not the biggest bombshell fans of the animated series have seen since the first reviews for The Last Airbender came out. Who edited this?

According to Movie Pilot, the filmmaker was not to blame for the Nickelodeon cartoon adaptation’s failure with critics and audiences alike.

First, it’s Moviepilot, not “Movie Pilot.” Also, they’re shamelessly sourcing an opinionated article not written by Moviepilot staff, but written by someone who’s never seen an episode of the show they’re talking about. I’m not making that up.

Let’s jump over to that “Movie Pilot” article and see what writer Rohan Mohmand has to say (and yes, it’s ironic he shares the name of Tenzin’s son).

M.Night Shyamalan is an original thinker.

Nope, nope, keep going. You can do it, Jon.

I still haven’t seen the respective show,

Wow. Yeah, so Rohan sings Shyamalan’s praises for a few paragraphs, citing that the early success for the filmmaker based on his only two widely accepted movies, The 6th Sense and Unbreakable (a case can be made for Signs, but not a good one) lends to the fact that the failure of The Last Airbender has nothing to do with him.

Because directors don’t make both good and bad movies, according to Rohan. Especially when they’ve made like five abysmal movies in a row. You know what came out before The Last Airbender? Oh, just a little train wreck called The Happening.

In that movie, the “original” Shyamalan presented a world where plants make us kill ourselves. And that’s when we learned that originality doesn’t necessarily make something good.

Today, it has been almost six years since its release, and whenever someone brings the subject of The Last Airbender it is Shyamalan to blame.

Is this a surprise? He’s writing this like it’s not valid to blame the person who spent the most time making the movie happen and overseeing its execution for how bad it is. Granted, not every movie is bad because of the direction, but how can you argue that The Last Airbender doesn’t suffer from its many Shyamalanisms?

the last airbender 2
“Let’s do ANOTHER closeup so we can see how bad the scar is!”

But Rohan’s not finished. He cites an interview Shyamalan had with IGN about this (sorry about the inception-level article sourcing. It’s not my fault, I’m only the director of this article).

This is from Shyamalan, explaining what went wrong with the movie:

“My child was nine-years-old. So you could make it one of two ways: you could make it for that same audience, which is what I did, for nine and 10-year-olds, or you could do the ‘Transformers’ version and have Megan Fox. I didn’t do that.”

First, that last line, “I didn’t do that” wasn’t cited by Rohan for some unexplainable reason, so I added it. Second, what world does Shyamalan live in?

You know what else was made for nine and 10-year-olds? Avatar the Last Airbender, which is considered by many to be one of the greatest animated series of all time. But it’s not geared toward people who like Transformers, so Shyamalan had to “adjust.”

What kind of backwards opinion is this? Your movie sucks because you made it for kids? Have you ever seen a Disney, Pixar, or DreamWorks Animation movie? You think those movies are hits because they appeal to adults ONLY? No, they appeal to a wide demographic. Kids AND adults can watch a movie like Beauty and the Beast.

the last airbender 2
Which was ONLY the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture. That’s all! 

In what universe do you have to believe that if you shoot for a wider demographic, you end up creating something akin to Transformers?! You know what, I actually can believe that someone as deluded as M. Night Shyamalan believes he’s making bad movies because he thinks anything else is Transformers. That’s the same delusion that must be related to his obvious and utter failure to understand how to make a kids’ movie, or why a good kids’ movie is good. 

Rohan (hopefully) digresses:

Defending his film, there’s nothing that we can do, for as the director, and also as a fan of the show, Shyamalan has all the rights. But, the question is, is he really the person to blame for the failure of The Last Airbender?

YES. Is this a trick question?

The answer to the question above is a “no.”

I hate everything.

Shyamalan is not to blame for the failure of the film. In fact, he is owed an apology.

Should I punch my computer now?

Last summer, Joblo penned a piece spreading the word, the story behind the making of The Last Airbender, divulged passionately on the AvatarSpirit.net forums.

So now we’re officially sourcing forums.

The story, however, is no longer available on the forum.

I wonder why.

It was published by someone who worked on the production of the film and the increased attention got her concerned as her career was going to be in jeopardy.

How do you know this? And can’t you also argue that she took it down because it was full of false information skewed by her opinion? Nope, let’s just take this at face value and source it as evidence.

I’ll give you the gist. This person claims that 80% of the decisions for The Last Airbender came from the producers, including the casting of the girl who played Katara.

last airbender 2
Yeah, I don’t remember her name either.

She argues that this casting was nepotism on part of the producers, and it resulted in them having to alter the ethnicities of many other characters, leading to the major backlash this movie suffered from before it even came out. None of the characters looked the part.

Only later would we realize that none of the actors acted the part either. Katara herself lost all of her best moments from the show (holding her own against Zuko, giving the inspiring speech to the earthbenders), and Sokka’s cleverness and wit was replaced with…brooding and being serious all the time.

the last airbender 2
Your meat and sarcasm guy.

Of course, Rohan would know this if he had watched an episode of the show.

The disgruntled forum hacker blames everything on the producers. The lack of budget, the story changes, the effects not looking right. Basically, she props up the basic challenges of any film as something that the director couldn’t control.

Except, we’re not talking about a novice director. We’re talking about M. Night Shyamalan, who at this point in his career DID have clout as a film director. I can understand a newcomer like Colin Trevorrow getting steamrolled while making Jurassic World, but you can’t give someone like Shyamalan the same pass.

And this unknown person claims that Shyamalan just gave up because none of his ideas went through. In other words, he didn’t do his job of upholding good ideas, so he’s the victim.

You know who else “gave up” on their movie? Josh Trank with Fantastic Four. You know why everyone still blames him, even after writing that cringe Tweet? Because he’s the director. It’s his JOB to salvage what the producers pick apart.

the last airbender 2
“I wanted to give you good direction, but the producers said I can’t.”

And blame the producers all you want for getting in the way. You CAN’T, however, blame them for the execution. You can’t blame the producers for the gross mispronunciation of the characters’ names. That was from Shyamalan. You can’t blame the horrendous closeups and terrible camera work. That was from Shyamalan. You certainly can’t blame the bland dialogue and writing that comes from every other Shyamalan movie and is present here (because he wrote it).

What, were these the same producers who made The Happening happen?

So Rohan concludes, claiming that Shyamalan is classy for taking the responsibility and not blaming anyone else. That’s fine. But you’re in a dream within a dream if you really think he’s not to blame for why this movie still causes physical and emotional pain for any fan of the show who’s reminded of it.

Back to Venture Capital Post, who is spinning the wheels of what you can get away with in an article that does no real work:

It is undeniable that Shyamalan is a master writer-director in his own right with successful supernatural films under his belt including ‘Lady in the Water’, ‘The Village’, ‘Signs’, ‘Unbreakable’ and 1999’s cult favorite ‘The Sixth Sense’.

No.

Just…no. It is not “undeniable.” It is, in fact, incredibly deniable that Shyamalan is a “MASTER” because only two and half of those movies were well-received by critics. Lady in the Water? Seriously? The movie that received a 24% on Rotten Tomatoes before it was “cool” to make fun of Shyamalan?

Look, I love The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable as much as anyone. And I didn’t “hate” Signs and The Village. But to call the man a master is hyperbole, and saying it’s “undeniable” is transcending hyperbole. 

the last airbender 2
How do I sleep at night? 

But Venture digresses. The writer points out what Rohan did — that Shyamalan said to IGN once that The Last Airbender is made for nine and 10-year-olds instead of everyone who else who watches Transformers, which is why “you don’t get it.” Virtually ignoring every other kids’ film that has proven the exact opposite.

Then Venture rightfully acknowledges that the creators of Avatar (Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante Dimartino) don’t even acknowledge that The Last Airbender even exists. Yeah, it’s the Lake Laogai running gag that us fans have been using to cope for five years now, and it’s pretty effective.

According to Den of Geek, Shyamalan planned to push through with a sequel as evidenced by the introduction of Prince Zuko’s sister, Azula, at the end of the first film.

Wait, that’s not according to Den of Geek, that’s painfully obvious from watching the movie. Did you really have to source a website to know that they planned to make this a trilogy? Is this real life?

However, despite previous news that he had already penned a first draft for the follow-up, no updates have come up since then.

This sentence flies in the face of the earlier one in this article, which claimed that the sequel WAS reportedly happening. Oh, and it also clashes with the headline of the entire article. This is real life.

You’re probably wondering why I’m going to so much trouble to rip these articles apart, and it’s for a few reasons. The biggest is that I don’t want someone to stumble across them and take them in as actual reporting. This is a PSA.

the last airbender 2

Second, I love this franchise more than any other on television. I love the characters. I love the animation. I love the world they created. I love the comics. I love the spin off. I love the fan art. I even love the pilot episode. OK, the video games are hit and miss, but I still enjoyed playing them.

So I’m going to dissent with writers like Rohan who let their love of Shyamalan get in the way of honest criticism. And for the most part, he does a good job of explaining why he loves this director and wants him to succeed. I have no problem with that, even though I disagree.

My main issue is with a website like Venture Capital Post for all of the reasons I’ve already gotten into. And if you come across garbage articles like this during your time on the Internet, then I hope you do the same and call them out for it. We deserve better.

On that note, I’d like to welcome you to Lake Laogai.

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: The Pixar Theory is Apparently, uh, Dead?

pixar theory debunk

A lot of people like to “debunk” The Pixar Theory, which is cool. I consider it flattering that people give it that much thought, and I always enjoy hearing differing opinions.

This latest “debunk” however is just too nonsense for me not to address. Let’s hit it.

So the idea is that all of the Pixar movies are connected. Here’s what Stephen Marshal Bove has to say about all of that in his interestingly named article, “The Pixar Theory is Dead.

Wait, what? Did you at least give it mouth to…

I just broke the Pixar Theory 🙂

First words of the article, and he’s already done it. This man can do anything! Free emoticons for everyone!

With two scenes from one movie, with characters from two films. Toy Story 2 and Bugs Life.

I almost ignored these sentences because they didn’t do normal sentence things. But OK, he’s apparently saying, “I just broke the Pixar Theory SMILING with two scenes from one movie, characters from two films. Oh, and those movies — in case you weren’t planning on bothering to read this — are Toy Story 2 and (A) Bug(‘)s Life.

Not to sound petty, but if you’re going to write about Pixar movies, can you at least get the titles right?

Just like the theory uses throwaway gags to defend the theory I allowed myself to do the same.

You know what you shouldn’t throw away? Commas. But OK, I’m done being petty.

Alright, even though I don’t remember any gags in particular, or what he even means by this at all, I’ll certainly give him the benefit of the doubtful.

In Toy Story 2’s opening Buzz Lightyear falls from space to an alien world to face off against Lord Zed.

Zurg. Get Buzz’s father’s name right (oh, spoilers!)

But when you look at the canyon Buzz flies in it’s actually the same canyon from a Bugs Life. 

Two scenes involving rocks and a hill look the same in a theory about a universe that’s connected? No wonder he named the article what he did! Might as well pack it in and shut down the site for good.

Then Bove decides to attach a vimeo that talks about this, completely explaining that this wasn’t actually his discovery.

At the end of Toy Story 2 in the bloopers part of the film, (I wish Pixar still did them) Flick and Heimlich are both seen and talk about how they are excited for ‘a Bugs Life 2’ but Buzz brushes them aside before Heimlich can give Flick the bad news. 

Oh no. Don’t tell me he’s about to argue that the bloopers for Pixar movies are now canon—

There is much more evidence to kill the theory, but these are the two that kill it outright, with no if ands or buts. 

Wait, what? That’s it? You didn’t even explain how the two things you just presented kill the entire Pixar Theory (not even just an aspect of it). How in any way is this a FINISH HIM moment for you?

But I do have more,

Thank goodness.

if the Monsters from Monster’s Inc / University are from some future Earth, then what happened to them after the Cars destroyed the world after Human’s left it?

The monsters didn’t exist yet. Did you read the theory?

When Wall-e and Eve-A fly / crawl along the world, there is no sign of life except the one plant Wall-E found.

Except the massive field of grass revealed at the very end beyond Axiom. And all of the resolution paintings showcasing the recovery of the environment and some human civilization. And that tree.

 Also the human’s have said to have left Earth in Wall-E because they destroyed the planet, making it so no living thing could breathe the air. That may work for the Cars, but what about the Monsters?

Did…did you watch the end of WALL-E?

In Finding Nemo, Mike is seen swimming under the water with a snorkel. So he obviously has to be able to breath unlike the Cars.

…did…did you just use something from the credits of Finding Nemo to make a point about monster anatomy? That’s almost impressive (if this wasn’t preceded by a complete misunderstanding of the Pixar Theory and several Pixar movies in general).

So there is another throw away gag that kills the theory instead of working for it. 

Don’t you mean drowns?

Unlike the Witch from Brave having a Pizza Planet truck and a drawling of Sully which sadly does work for it, but again these are all throw away gags to the audience and animators having fun.

Because we all know making movies that are connected to each other “isn’t” fun. It’s the worst! Those poor animators just wanted to have a good time and we ruined it!

But lets look at that Sully drawling and see if it really does work for the theory?

Is he asking our permission? Yes…OK, let’s do that. You brought it up, after all.

The theory states that the witch from Brave is actually Boo from Monster’s Inc, and she discovered how to travel through time with doors like Mike and Sully.

Right, right, this proves you at least read a paragraph of the Pixar Theory.

(Instead of the Monster’s having their own world and jumping from their world to ours like the films says)

Blast.

But why would Boo need to go looking for Sully when Sully went back at the end of Monster’s Inc and was reunited with Boo. She was not much older than she was when she last saw Sully because her voice did not change very much. 

It’s implied that this had to be a one time thing. No one expected Sulley to just keep visiting Boo all the way through college. That would be like taking your cowboy doll to…oh, so that’s foreshadowing.

In fact, Inside Out helps to explain the role of monsters post-Monsters Inc. Bing Bong is clearly an imaginary friend that Riley dreamed up after being visited by a monster, but she eventually forgot about him. In the same way, Sulley would stop visiting her and she’d just have those memories. Only Boo actually went to the monster world, and yes, Sulley came back at least one extra time.

So it makes sense to assume that this would traumatize the poor kid enough to wonder where her friend is. It would be like if Bing Bong made it to the Headquarters of Riley’s mind. With Boo, that’s probably the case.

So there you have it, the mighty Pixar Theory is dead and gone. 

Oh, just like that, huh? I wish I could will things to just happen without any effort or humility.

But it will still linger like other theory proven wrong, *cough* never landing on Moon *cough* they’ve proven metal and man mad objects are there *cough*

I’m just going to ignore the second part of that because…obviously.

Also, you haven’t proven my theory “wrong.” You’ve barely even written anything.

But I digress, this is just the evidence, if you still believe the theory there is nothing that can be done for you.

At least you digressed.

If it makes the films more enjoyable for you then believe it.

The Merciful Stephen Marshal Bove has spoken. Obey him!

But if you think Pixar is connected then I got some zinger DC/Marvel and Disney theories for yeah.

Bove then goes on to “prove” a bunch of shared universe theories based on easter eggs and throaway gags. Can you believe that? Someone should write an article saying his theories are dead, so then they just will be without question. People will totally read that.


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