We seem to have broken movies down to numbers and nothing more. 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 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 Transformers: The Last Knight, Despicable Me 3, and Baby Driver.
Transformers: The Last Knight
Rotten Tomatoes: 15%
Kaitlyn: 1.5 / 10
Did anyone expect this to be good? Probably not, but no one expected it to be this bad, either. The Transformers movies have been in a shame spiral for years now, and the movie that was supposed to be the big sendoff for Michael Bay is a critical flop. It’s not even doing that well overseas, where Forbes is reporting it had a 82% Friday-to-Friday drop.
“Cacophonous, thinly plotted, and boasting state-of-the-art special effects,” is what Rotten Tomatoes says, and they’re right. The plot is so hard to follow, and yet hardly there at all. There is so much going on that you can hardly remember who everyone is, let alone follow where they are in a single scene. The series couldn’t be bothered to go off on a note didn’t include shifting the Transformers to the background parties to focus on two humans destined to save the day.
This is “pretty much what you’d expect from the fifth installment of the Transformers franchise,” according to Rotten Tomatoes, and again, they are correct. Metacritic just came down a little less hard on it.
Despicable Me 3
Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Kaitlyn: 5.5 / 10
The Minions from these movies have turned into one of the biggest pop culture touchstones ever. They have managed to grasp the imaginations of people young and old, which is why they keep making these movies. The problem is they have always only been just okay, and this one is no different.
The numbers vary from across the board, with Rotten Tomatoes scoring a little higher and Metacritic falling a little lower — myself in the middle — but it’s all very mid-tier. Rotten Tomatoes says it “should keep fans of the franchise consistently entertained,” and the keyword there is “fans”, because this is not a movie that’s going to bring in new fans. If you like these characters you’re already invested but this isn’t going to change your mind.
Rotten Tomatoes’ consensus goes on to say “another round of colorful animation and zany — albeit somewhat scattershot — humor,” which is also true. The humor is there, but it’s not consistent. The three scores more or less even each other out, but Metacritic tends to nicer to bad movie (but harder on anything mid-tier or better).
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Kaitlyn: 9.5 / 10
As previously mentioned, Metacritic tends to grade good movies harder and give them lower scores. However, it can’t be argued that the three scores tell the story of a movie that is receiving critical acclaim. In Ticket Booth this week, I told everyone that they should go see this movie if they are able to, and that stands true. The critics even seem to like it a little more than the audience, with a 5% difference on the Rotten Tomatoes score and an 86 vs. a 8.2 critics-to-users difference on Metacritic.
Regardless, the numbers speak for themselves, and so does the box office. Early reports say that while Baby Driver won’t win the weekend, it’s going to perform very well. Rotten Tomatoes says the film proves that “fast-paced action movies can be smartly written without sacrificing thrills,” which it does. While it seems that audiences might not be as in love with this movie as critics are, which does happen sometimes, we all more or less seem to be on the same page. Baby Driver is awesome, and you should absolutely go see it.