Sunday, July 13, 2008

anal retentive critics

Just watched the amazing movie Children of Men, and after I was curious to see what the critics had thought when it came out.

Unsurprisingly, most of them raved about it, but I was curious to see who wouldn't like it and why. And I found a truly idiotic review by someone named William Arnold.

To summarize, at the beginning of the movie there is a quick reference to a siege in Seattle. It's just there to give a sense of a world in chaos, it's never mentioned again, and I didn't even notice the line.

But the Seattle film critic did. And he spent several paragraphs explaining what a stupid line it is, because Seattle simply could not withstand a 3-year siege.

He uses this as an example of why the movie is poorly thought out, which would be fine, if he offered other examples that actually related in some real way to the movie. He does mention a major flaw of the movie, which is that the basic debate over what to do with the central woman doesn't make much sense (this could be seen as a major flaw, since the entire story hinges on it, but it's basically just the MacGuffin to set in motion an exciting tale and stick in a ton of political commentary).

The critic is a perfect example of someone who can't see the forest for the trees. He spends a third of his review on the single line about Seattle. It seems like he just couldn't get past it.

This happens. I once read a comment by someone who felt The Matrix was fatally flawed because the science of powering a city in that unusual way was scientifically impractical, but that at least is a major plot point. But one line about Seattle? If I saw a movie that began with a quick blurb about the Empire State building being in Brooklyn, I wouldn't spend a huge chunk of my review on it unless the entire movie was set in New York, in which case I would think it was a bit of an issue.

Seattle is mentioned once in all of Children of Men. I would never trust a critic who trashes a brilliant movie because of a single sentence that isn't even going to register with anyone who doesn't live in Seattle. William Arnold, you are an idiot.

(Even if I hated Children of Men, I would still think this was an incredibly lame criticism. I could trash this movie much more intelligently than this guy if so inclined.)

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