While critics are often known for being harsh in their reviews, audiences are becoming worse when it comes to the quality of a film, which raises the question: What’s wrong with just having a good time at the movies?
So often when we go to a movie, we have our own expectations for a film to the point that if they’re not met, we judge the film in an overly harsh fashion.
Whether it’s because of a poor actor, bad special effects or some lazy scripting, it seems as though we’ll find any reason to not enjoy it during its two-hour runtime.
But as moviegoers, the ones who fund the projects more often than the actual studios, we have an obligation to give most movies a chance in our reviews and try to see it from the perspective of entertainment value versus total quality.
One such example is the connotation behind the word “fun” when it comes to describing how a movie was. So often when we hear that word used, something in our brains tell us that while the movie had that entertainment value present, it was missing a lot of actual quality or was actually a really bad film.
Why is it that if someone describes a movie as fun, we automatically assume the movie was bad? The most recent entry into the hit sci-fi franchise, “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” received very mixed reviews from audiences and critics alike, while both sides described the film as a fun adventure.
But given the negative reception from fans, most took this “fun” attribute as a sign the film might have some enjoyable qualities, but overall is a real stinker. The reality is it’s unreasonable because while the film as a whole certainly was plenty flawed, it was not an inherently bad movie.
The fun atmosphere of the film is actually one of its better qualities because that’s exactly what audiences should get from a Han Solo-centered story. The character is known for his more comic presence in the original franchise, so therefore, it makes sense to have his own film turn out to be a fun thrill ride versus an overly dramatic work.
Even the critical consensus on review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes reads as: “A flawed yet fun and fast-paced space adventure, ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ should satisfy newcomers to the saga as well as longtime fans who check their expectations at the theater door.”
Another prime example is Universal’s first attempt in their own cinematic universe, 2017’s “The Mummy” starring Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella in the main villain role. Now that film was by no means a work of art, however, it was also not so atrocious one could not sit through it and not get some enjoyment from it.
The film had a sense of pure entertainment and adventure that, while its shifting tones certainly proved problematic in the end, it delivered plenty of fun to carry audiences through its 110-minute runtime, including a great comedic performance from supporting actor Jake Johnson and a sense of swashbuckling adventure.
The word fun never used to have such a negative connotation when it came to describing a movie, so why are we going back to using it as so? We used to describe all of the classic ‘80s titles including “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and the “Indiana Jones” franchise as fun and they all also received rave reviews from critics.
So rather than look at reviews from either side of the perspective, why not just sit through the movie and decide for yourself?
If we can keep the “Transformers” franchise alive out of irony or the claim of having “fun” with them, why can’t we actually use that word to describe films that are both generally fun and relatively solid pictures.
Both “The Mummy” and “Solo” went on to become notorious box office flops, losing nearly $100 million each and putting future plans for both franchises on hold.
Despite this, much of the derision still claimed they were both fun, which has only helped further spark this idea that because a film is fun, it’s also bad.
Let’s remember you don’t go to a movie to tear it apart or with the purpose to hate yourself, you do it to enjoy your time and…and…ah, what’s the word? Oh yeah, to have fun!