What makes a movie good?
Critics want something original, a novel plot or device that separates the film from its rivals, and will sometimes ignore sound fundamentals. They will look until their eyes water for unique characteristic that sets a movie apart. Audiences differ here in that they want to be entertained and will judge a movie purely on this merit.
The following are just some of the examples when there was a huge difference between what the audience and the critics thought about a movie:
Movies that Critics Hated yet Audience LOVED
A recent release, and the buzz around it had people watching it out of curiosity and being left surprised at the negative comments the movie scored from renowned critics. When Warcraft came out, it was laughed at by American critics for being just another run of the mill flick made on a video game series.
The film managed to scrape only a 32/100 by critics on IMDb, but the audiences gave it a whopping 7.7 (count me in the latter category as well), which just goes on to show that you can’t judge a movie by its cover. Thanks to the monstrous reception it received in China, a follow-up is virtually guaranteed.
Critics had a lot to say about the movie’s originality, or lack thereof – it borrowed heavily from movies like 1984, Brave New World and the Matrix. Some critics really went to town with this flick – Elvis Mitchell from the NY Times labelled it “pretty silly stuff”. Fans however fell in love with the atmosphere and visual style of it, the way the movie progressed from rich science fiction to engrossing Matrix-like action. Christian Bale has a lot of on-screen charisma, and his portrayal of agent Preston played a significant part in charming audiences.
It was gory. It was gruesome. Critics were left repelled by the horror thriller, but audiences went totally gaga over it. When Saw came out in 2004, most critics were dead sure that it wouldn’t make an impact. The response to the movie, however, proved them all wrong. Saw went on to become a blockbuster success and actually saw multiple sequels like Saw VI and Saw 2D in the coming years. Its psychological gore fest at its best and horror doesn’t get better than this.
The Butterfly Effect
How can the audience hate a movie with Ashton Kutcher flaunting his heart-throbbing self? Written by Eric Bress of Final Destination fame, this supernatural thriller had the audience gasping and sighing at all the right spots. Critics calling the movie “pretty dumb” to “utterly pretentious” had little effect on cinema-goers. The movie grossed around $57,650,900 in the US alone.
Critics continued to bare their fangs at DC Comics movies after the Batman vs Superman fiasco. However where both audience and critics agreed that BvS was pure excrement, the general populace actually turned out to like Suicide Squad. Millennials were the biggest fans of the movie, along with Hispanic and African American audiences who identified with the the diversity in the movie. Critics could not disagree more. Anthony Lane from the New Yorker expressed the opinion that the movie losing the plot was inaccurate as that would imply that there was a plot to lose.
Movies that Critics Loved and Audiences HATED
Paranormal activity has a creative concept to it, something that took the audiences some time to get used to. There were no gory scenes, gruesome acts and CGI animations to scare people in the cinema, which might have been the reason behind lukewarm response to it despite the critics having such high hopes.
The Blair Witch Project
Shot in documentary style, The Blair Witch Project was a first-of-its-kind horror thriller that instantly caught the eye of critics as an ultimate win-win. Audiences, unfortunately, didn’t agree, Many thought that the concept and story were all over the place, the film wasn’t scary enough and the plot not too riveting liking.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
It was sheer nostalgia that didn’t let the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory get devoured by audiences. Rotten tomatoes gave the remake of the Roald Dahl classic a score of 83. Critics may have sworn over the Tim Burton and Johnny Depp pairing, but only 51% of the audiences found the movie amusing. The rest were left comparing it with the older adaptation that came out in 1971. And as they say, you can’t beat nostalgia and childhood blues. A not-so-sweet surprise for the critics vouching for the movie after all.
Great things were being expected of King Kong. Critics were raving of the fact that it was a stellar visual masterpiece, had the veteran Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings fame behind the camera and multiple genres and emotions thrown in together to make the classic even more amazing. A sure-fire winner with the audiences, right? Wrong. King Kong failed to emerge victorious, probably because of some wrong casting choices and the long run time.
When Antz came out in 1998, a vast majority of critics, 96% to be precise, thought that Woody Allen starrer would turn out be the instant talk of the town. The movie had everything – a stellar A-list voice cast, great CGI animations, impeccable comic timings and a gripping storyline. All this might have come true for the fate of the movie, but unluckily for Antz, Pixar released ‘A Bug’s life’ just a month later and the audience had clearly a hard time choosing between the two. Ultimately, it was the bugs that defeated the antz in the eyes of the public, and the movie only managed to get around 51% of audiences on the favoring side.