Like most lovers of the fantastic I love movies about the fantastic. Science fiction, fantasy, horror, comic heroes, James Bondesc spy movies, sometimes even big dumb Japanese monster movies. I loved them all despite the bad special effects which included guys in really bad monster suits and claymation dinosaurs. I suspended my disbelief to see the type of story that I loved brought to life. I saw Jurassic Park on the big screen, and fell in love with the new CGI dinosaurs. Never mind that raptors were actually smaller animals than portrayed in the movie. Technology had brought living breathing animals to the screen. And then I saw the first Spider-man movie and I knew that movie making had arrived. Here was my childhood hero on the big screen, and he was not just crawling up sideways walls like Batman did in the 60s. No, he was jumping, leaping, twisting with incredible, one could almost say super, agility. I was in love with the movie makers art. Now not all of these movies were action and suspense. There were some very human scenes as well. The old man discussing his dreams for Jurassic Park with Dr. Grant while they eat ice cream and the children are lost in the dinosaur haunted wilderness. Toby McGuire crying over his dead uncle. While these scenes were important to the movies in question, I would have walked out of the theater disappointed had these scenes been all of the movie. They would not have been what I came to the theater for that day.
This morning I read a critique of the soon to be released movie John Carter on a Site called Flick Filosopher or some such. They state that they watch the bad movies so you don’t have to, which to me seems to sum up their philosophy going in. They seem to feel that a movie like John Carter should be an emotional, tear jerker kind of movie that the critics all seem to love. She actually criticized the movie for having too much action. To me this is the kind of movie that fans of the genre expect to see. That they love. Of course no movie is exactly like the book. Most are not even as good as the book. It is still a treat to see them come to life, to suspend disbelief, to ooh and ah over the great backgrounds and ground breaking special effects.
Last year I remember getting ready for the Thor movie release. This had been a favorite character of mine while growing up. Of course the one in the comic didn’t have a beard, but I was willing to forgive that mistake. Before seeing the movie I read a review. The critic thought the superhuman scenes were over the top and kind of stupid. He thought that the scenes of Thor as a human trying to figure out the Earth were wonderful, and the movie would have been much better if there had been more of that. Sorry, but I didn’t pay my eight bucks to see a story about a young man estranged from his father, falling in love with a girl from a different class, while trying to reconcile with dear old dad. I came to the conclusion then that the critics just don’t get it. They don’t get the love of the fantastic that those who truly enjoy it bring with them to the movies. They watch those same movies without the joy and come to a completely different conclusion. That’s OK. They can have their opinion, just as I have mine. But I don’t pay much attention to their opinions anymore. If it looks good to me I go and see it, and most probably enjoy it.
Critics seem to love to criticize. And almost all of their negative comments are at variance with what I enjoy. I don’t have to pay attention to their blather, and neither do you. If the papers want to get it right maybe they should hire specialist critics just for the fantastic genres. People who grew up enjoying pulp fiction and comic books. People who get it.