Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Reviews and Different Media

I know book reviews are often discussed, yelled about and eventually sobbed about in romance circles. I find it such an odd occurrence but then I was watching movies long before I became a romance reader.

How does this relate?

I don't know how it works in other countries but here in Canada, if a movie reviewer pans a movie as the most horrid thing to have ever been made for the big screen, I know I have to get my ass to the film as soon as possible. In fact, if a movie that I have been really looking forward to gets a good review from any of the Canadian media I'm almost beside myself with disappointment.

Most sci-fi movies before now have been panned by movie media and I smile knowing I'm in for a treat. I'm pretty sure I've seen horrid reviews for all the Indiana Jones movies including the one with Sean Connery and have been personally insulted by the idea that a viewer would have to be a moron to enjoy such films.

I learned early on with movie reviews that the reviewers were looking for something in the film that I myself was not the least bit interested in. The Oscars only furthered this conclusion with such winners as Fargo (hated the film), American Beauty (seriously, the whole film was ridiculous) and The English Patient (bleck). Also, if anyone can explain to me the meaning of the movie The Virgin Suicides, I would greatly appreciate it.


So, seeing today's Yahoo story on the most recent Transformers movie made me laugh.

'Transformers' sequel could become worst-reviewed $400 million blockbuster ever

Basically this movie has received horrible reviews yet it's making a killing at the box office. Those reviews that have praised the movie have the added caveat of 'check your brain at the door'.

Now for some honesty, I didn't care for the first Transformer movie and thought it was quite juvenile and since it is about toys that were created for young boys back in the 80's I understood my 'meh' feeling about the film.

Silly me now thinks I have to see this sequel.

But I'll wait until it's out on DVD, just in case.

I do have to say however, that I think movie reviewing has finally started to change over the past few years. Not all critics aren't looking for that artsy fartsy film that'll make me gag (although they still love those things) to fall all over. New reviewers are popping up here and there, probably sick of the blood bath of normal movie reviews, and adding in a voice of the person who is just looking for a grand time at the movies.

I just don't need a moral lesson from every film I watch, in fact, I would prefer not getting any kind of lesson from a film!

Still, it takes some getting used to, for example, the latest Star Trek movie received great reviews from critics and I almost fell to my knees in horror. What saved me was that normal everyday people were also saying it was a great movie and thankfully it was a great movie.

How does this relate to romance books and their reviews?

Good question. You know me and how my train of thought unravels in mid---

Basically, romance reviews years back were the complete opposite of how movies were reviewed. I remember the first time I saw reviews for romance books and was surprised at just how many were 'gems' and 'perfect reads'. A few purchases later I discovered that romance book reviews were not to be trusted.

Please keep in mind this was the mid-90s before blowing your load in the comments. Just saying.

We've come a long way in regards to reviews for romance books.

There's that dark part of me that wants to do a test like the movie one above. How many positive reviews are written for a book that most people think is horrid or even how many 'OMG NOOOO' reviews are written for a book that sells like hotcakes. (and how well do hotcakes sell?)

Keep in mind it's a statistical thing in that out of 100 reviews 93 were rave reviews or whatever, we all know a review is only one person's opinion but group 100 together and you have some information to draw from.

Okay, I'm boring myself now.

Thoughts, rants, name calling?

Damn, I lost you at the word 'review' didn't I?

I knew it.


Kat said...

Can I say, I was fully prepared to like Transformers 2 even if all it did was blow things up. But. After the second gratuitous panty shot, things just went downhill. I actually fell asleep at the end!

So Cindy, you've hit on a new idea: a RottenTomatoes-esque site for romance books!

Mary G said...

Hi Cindy
What an awesome post!!. Lots of food for thought. I don't go by reviews either. If I like the storyline & the cast I'll go - simple. Same with books - if I like the author & the storyline I'll buy it. I did have fun in Chapters with all of us holding up books & getting the nay or yeah sign once we knew our collective tastes. That was a great shortcut.
I love Transformers because I love special effects & my son played with the toys when he was younger - I thought they were cool then. If its not your cup of tea then so be it. I just wish they'd turn some of my fave books into movies!!

CindyS said...

Kat - uh, oh. Falling asleep is not good! And uh, I'm thinking I couldn't handle the hate mail for a site like that!

Mary - Now see, you cut to the meat of the idea while I couldn't spit it out ;) And we went to see The Proposal tonight and we had a great time. While there, there was a preview for a Bruce Willis movie and let me tell you, you put BW in a movie and I'm there. The good news is it looks like a sci-fi/urban fantasy and that always rocks my boat!


Rowena said...

I agree with Mary, this was a great post. Made me think, I don't go anywhere near any of the movies that are professionally reviewed (in the newspapers and what not) because I just don't give a damn about lighting and depth of the storyline. All I care about is if it'll entertain the socks off of me and the movies that I love to look forward to and love to watch, everyone else hates anyway so I don't pay those reviews any mind.

As for the books, if I like the storyline of a book and I hear some great reviews from my trustworthy blogging friends then I'll definitely want to read it.