Filmby Shane “Certified Fresh” Hnetka

The Internet has been more agitated than usual lately — at least when it comes to fans, critics and certain films. First, there was the huge (and hugely sexist) outcry when Ghostbusters was remade with four female stars. More recently, there was a petition against the online movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes because critics were, well, harshly critical of Suicide Squad. So what’s the deal?

No One Likes A Critic

Rotten Tomatoes uses dozens of newspaper, magazine and online critic reviews to give a movie a rating. The website’s staff determine whether reviews are positive (“fresh”) or negative (“rotten”), and the percentage of good reviews becomes the film’s Tomatometer rating. For example, the new Ghostbusters scores 74 per cent fresh based on 207 favourable reviews and 73 bad ones.

The system doesn’t allow for much nuance — for example, both Toy Story and Toy Story 2 score 100 per cent fresh because they don’t have any negative reviews. Are they the greatest movies ever made? Of course not. Still, it’s a handy — if blunt — tool to get a sense of what’s good and what’s crap.

And then Suicide Squad came along. The Warner Bros./DC movie about comic book villains recruited to save the world from a mystical threat scored 27 per cent rotten. In response, outraged fans of the film launched a petition to shut down Rotten Tomatoes (the petition was later changed to object to negative film criticism generally).

Ironically, Suicide Squad did really well at the box office on its opening weekend — it’s been suggested the petition helped it. But the lesson here, I think, is summed up best by a Variety headline: “Suicide Squad Is a Hit, But DC Needs to Start Making Better Movies”.

Monster On Fire

The biggest movie in Japan is Shin Gojira (Godzilla Resurgence), a new take on Toho Studio’s classic kaiju (monster) franchise. I’ve been more than a little wary of this latest reboot because the monster’s new look is … off. Putting it mildly, Godzilla looks like he’s been in a fire and needs medical attention. He’s probably just stomping across Tokyo looking for a burn ward in his size.

Also his teeth are all messed up. Don’t any dentists specialize in kaiju?

Regardless, reviews have been positive. Shin Gojira departs from the standard giant monster movie approach to focus on what governments and citizens would do if a giant radioactive creature attacked a city in real life (lots of talking about what should be done without much useful action, as it turns out. Kind of like climate change).

Shin Gojira arrives in North American theatres later this year. It’s been a long time since a made-in-Japan Godzilla showed up on the big screen — not since Godzilla 2000. A very cool opportunity, assuming it makes it here.

Shane Hnetka is a Saskatchewan film and comic book nerd. His favourite Joker actor is Mark Hamill.