Getting a bit of a late jump on the week as I usually like to have this out on Sunday. But these films required so much dissection and analysis that I simply couldn’t give them short shrift (or believe whatever you want about the delay). This time around we’ve got hobbits, orphans and nights at the museum.
Just remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they'll end up on the Tomatometer. Let's take a look at what This Rotten Week has to offer.
Rotten Watch Prediction
Any time you have a 300 (or so) page book you just have to turn that into an epic movie trilogy right? Leave no page unturned (expert pun) and extract every morsel of what-the-hell ever from Tolkien’s pages because that’s just what the dude would have wanted. You have to do it right? About a hundred pages per three hours in the ultimate effort to bring all of the Shire and Middle Earth and everywhere else to the big screen because after this there might not be anything else. Welcome to Peter Jackson’s world.
See the last hundred pages in the trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Point of full disclosure: I haven’t seen the first two pieces of this Hobbit puzzle. I’ve just had no interest. Just trying to be honest (for once). The idea of seeing another battle for Middle Earth play out on the big screen (when we basically know the ending) seemed a fool’s errand to me. And though I loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy, this whole affair rang as false. So I understand my own biases. Skewer me in the comments with your arrows and two damages as much as you see fit.
What I will say about the trailer and build up for the last piece of the Peter Jackson-love-Tolkien puzzle (Unexpected Journey-64%, Desolation of Smaug-74%) looks rather epic and a call back to Return of the King, full of the battle scenes and large scale-ness I’d come to imagine from the dudes as they ventured out of the Shire. Jackson is no stranger to the grandiose nature of the finale. This will be his last look at Middle Earth and he spared no expense. Whether it fully translates to critical love remains (a bit) to be seen as some folks have weighed in already. The first two flicks of The Hobbit came in as good-not-great and this last one is following suit. Critics have it at 70% through about fifty reviews. It won’t deviate too much from this path over the course of the week as I suspect a majority will see the epic nature of the affair while others will poke holes in the plot. Such is the fate of The Hobbit movies. They’re made for those who loved the source material with a few other positive folks trickling in around the margins. I suspect CinemaBlend readers are a big subgroup.
Rotten Watch Prediction
As long as I’m being honest this week (a first) I should say that technically I’ve seen Annie on Broadway in as much as I actually held a ticket, had that ticket punched at the door and sat in attendance at the performance. Though I should mention I spent most of the time scrolling through basketball scores and following my NBA fantasy team because I was bored out of my mind. (Little Rotten Week was dying to go so we went, she loved it despite her father’s clear intent on checking out).
What I saw on the stage and Hollywood’s remake have some differences. Check out the trailer for Annie
Man am I glad some critics rang in early on this one making my job pretty easy. This thing looks like a piece of garbage and it’s easy to see why. Annie is meant to be a down-on-her-luck orphan living in basic squalor before being rescued by Daddy Warbucks. Even in the brief time I watched the stage version I understood the idea behind getting out of the no tomorrow life and into something better. But are we really supposed to believe an orphanage is such a bad place with someone who looks like Cameron Diaz (because it is Cameron Diaz) running the joint and a bevy of healthy and lively young orphans dancing around without real care. Again, I understand we should suspend disbelief for a story like this, but director Will Gluck (Easy A-85%, Friends with Benefits-70%) looks like he missed the mark here.
Reimagining this thing in the present day doesn’t look like the problem. Instead it’s the hollow nature of the performance. Annie is "believable" when we think of her as coming from nothing. That isn’t the case and critics are skewering this disaster with one person calling it a "toxic mess". Probably enough said and I doubt the course of the week pulls this thing from the gutter. Good news, I’ll never have to check back in to another Annie performance.
Rotten Watch Prediction
Because museums are generally tedious places that offer little upside in entertainment mostly because you need to walk around all quiet pretending to be interested in stationary objects from the past, I welcome any opportunity to turn these bastions of boring into something more. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean all of the displays coming to life. That is of course farfetched. Maybe just something like a bunch of tvs with the game on and a bar. Like a sports bar. Turn all museums into sports bars. There you go. I solved the museum problem.
See another way to spice up life in these places in the trailer for Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
It’s always amazed me the casting for these flicks. The ensemble’s carried a bunch of big names and faces for silly movies about folks running around a museum at night. Guys like Ben Stiller, Robin Williams (RIP), Ricky Gervais, Ben Kingsley and more show up to get peed on by a monkey and other nonsense that isn’t really worth even discussing. That the first two flicks were met in lukewarm fashion by critics (Night at the Museum-44% and Battle of the Smithsonian-44%) matters not when it’s raking in the bucks at the box office. The first two movies grossed somewhere in the range of one billion (yup) dollars in theaters. So Shawn Levy (who directed the first two along with meh work like This is Where I Leave You-42% and The Internship-34%) is back again in a story about the whole gang going to another museum to do whatever. Who cares.
Look, I get why these flicks are made. They earn a ton of money for everyone involved. And I get why so many big names would get on board. After all, like I said, they make a ton of money for everyone involved. But it doesn’t mean we have to celebrate them. Even if the critical response for this latest might end up a bit stronger than the previous two. But I don’t think it’ll be by much. Now my museums-turn-sports bar idea? That thing is something everyone would get on board for.
This poll is no longer available.
First off we had Exodus: Gods and Kings (Predicted: 43% Actual: 28%). I’ve been writing this column for a long time. So when I check on the status of a post and I see upwards of 70 reader comments at the bottom of the page I know something is probably up. And I’ve been writing this long enough to know that those aren’t going to be 70 comments with themes like "Man you are so amazing. Please keep writing this fantastic column, we love you." Nah, the tenor was a bit different sparking a debate about race in film. Either way, I was close on how rough this flick looked, and actually went a little too high with the prediction. Sean O’Connell gave the movie three stars in
[[ ahref http exodus-gods-kings-66410.html reviews www.cinemablend.com ]] his review. He was in the minority though as, for the most part, critics took a dump on Ridley Scott’s latest "epic".
Meanwhile, Top Five (Predicted: 80% Actual: 89%) solidified the idea that Chris Rock can make his kind of film and translate his brand of humor to the big screen. It took a long time for the dude, but as he got real about his career and his career choices and put it to play in the script, this thing came out an overwhelming critical winner. Many who’ve followed Rock’s career have been waiting for exactly this kind of work. A way for him to finally show he can play both sides of the comedic fence, on stage and on the big screen.
We'll see you next time. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!
Doug began writing for CinemaBlend back when Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles actually existed. Since then he's been writing This Rotten Week, predicting RottenTomatoes scores for movies you don't even remember for the better part of a decade. He can be found re-watching The Office for the infinity time.
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