We seem to have broken movies down to numbers and nothing more. The sites like Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes have become so ubiquitous that whether or not a movie is “fresh” is part of the marketing. The truth is these numbers only have meaning because we say that they do. That being said, just because the numbers don’t actually say much about the movie overall, they do have meaning to people. This segment looks at the numbers from the two major sites and compare them to my own numbers to see where the differences are, why they might exist, and what they might mean. This is not meant as a personal callout to any other critics; all opinions are legitimate even if I don’t agree with them. This week we’re looking at Cars 3, The Book of Henry, and 47 Meters Down.
Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Kaitlyn: 5.5 / 10
It seems that I have come down a little harder on this entry in Pixar’s most mediocre franchise. As previously stated, the reason why the Cars series exists is because it sells a lot of toys but if it pays the bills for better movies then that’s fine. Pixar’s worst movies are still much better than a lot of other animated movies we have to sit through. Rotten Tomatoes notes the “dazzling animation” and while the movie does look good it’s not anything special. As far as visuals go saying that a Pixar movie looks good is almost boring. To give the movie credit for looking good in this day and age isn’t anything special. They also mention a “unexpectedly poignant story” which is also true but the movie doesn’t blend that story well. Unlike better entries with Pixar that blend the story with set pieces that appeal to the younger members of the audience Cars 3 instead has set pieces and solemn instead. They aren’t really connected and it makes the movie feel disjointed. The difference isn’t huge though so it’s likely that more critics were willing to overlook the pacing issues and give bonus points for the great animation since Cars 2 was so much worse.
47 Meters Down
Rotten Tomatoes: 56%
Kaitlyn: 3.5 / 10
There is a severe shortage of good shark movies in recent years. They are an integral part of the blockbuster market now, and perhaps there are plenty of fans out there that like the genre enough that they are willing to like anything that features a slightly unique premise and sharks. In the case of 47 Meters Down the premise is probably the best part of the movie. As said in my review, the premise they were going for, the claustrophobia of being trapped underwater with dwindling oxygen and the sharks being an obstacle rather than the actual problem, is a good one. The problem here is execution rather than ideas. Rotten Tomatoes even says that the movie “doesn’t take its terrifying premise quite as far as it should” which is true. There were other ways they could have gone about making this a terrifying entry into the genre. However, the lack of decent characters and lack of decent scares made things dull. This is a junky shark movie that could have been a spiritual cousin to Open Water but instead it just feels lame. The statement “a few thrills for less demanding genre enthusiasts” gives too little credit to the excellent members of the genre. This should be panned harder for taking such a great premise and making such a boring and, ironically, toothless movie.
The Book of Henry
Rotten Tomatoes: 24%
Kaitlyn: 3 / 10
It seems that we were all asking the same question when it came to this one; what is this and why does it exist? The Book of Henry is a staggeringly bad movie that manages to keep from being downright offensive. You need to admire its ambitions even if you have no idea what those ambitions actually are. Rotten Tomatoes brings up the “tonal juggling act” that absolutely kills the movie and the “deeply maudlin twist” which is also true. Again, there isn’t a huge difference here but perhaps the thing that made me like it just a little more is that I don’t have a problem with the premise. It’s, again, the execution rather than the idea itself. In this case it was cramming too much into a movie instead of a television series. That being said when Rotten Tomatoes says “may leave viewers gaping in disbelief rather than choking back tears” it couldn’t be more accurate. They were going for heartstring tugging and the execution is so terrible it becomes a slow motion trainwreck that is only memorable in how forgettable it is.