Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Reviews

Roger Ebert did not like Kick-Ass.

I'm not able to truly contrast his thoughts to mine on Kick-Ass, as I haven't seen it. I can say that it doesn't help me to decide whether it is worth me seeing, which is a problem since what he wrote is labelled as a review.

A review should be a guide as to whether a movie, play or TV show is worth watching, or a concert is worth attending. It informs the reader of the reviewer's view of the quality of the product. The tastes of the reviewer are in play, though that is more to give the reader context when reading the review. Ebert's review of Kick-Ass did nothing of the sort. Instead, Ebert dismissed Kick-Ass because it offended is sensibilities.

(I don't mean this as a slight against Ebert's sensibilites - whle I think that 6 year olds are not likely to be seeing anything to do with Kick-Ass, the same arguments can be applied to 11 year olds and be just as valid.)

The problem with what Ebert wrote is that it dismisses Kick-Ass based upon how Kick-Ass will be received by much younger children, even though the review is targetted to be read by adults. The review does not help adults decide if it is worth watching. Instead, it leaves the reader confused as to what to expect from the movie, as Ebert highlights some positives, only to go back to his initial thought about young children.

When reading Ebert's writing on Kick-Ass, it felt as though he should have been a separate essay, with a review covering the merits of the film for the viewing public. It would also work if he dropped the star/thumbs rating system and just wrote about Kick-Ass in a traditional criticism format. The rating system implies a different type of review that Ebert seemed unwilling to provide in his case.

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