I’m going to preface this by saying that I have yet to see Alex Proyas’s latest film ‘Gods of Egypt‘ and have loved much of his previous work. ‘The Crow’ and ‘Dark City’ are two of my favorite films and ‘I, Robot’ was extremely well done. There’s a reason I started by saying how much I loved his past work because his reaction to critics of his most recent film has left many a little bitter on how he is handling negative reviews. Not only has Proyas gone on the record of how he really feels about this negative criticism, but his entire rant seems to put down both professional film reviewers as well as general audiences who just didn’t like the movie.
It all started on his Facebook page:
NOTHING CONFIRMS RAMPANT STUPIDITY FASTER…
Than reading reviews of my own movies. I usually try to avoid the experience – but this one takes the cake. Often, to my great amusement, a critic will mention my past films in glowing terms, when at the time those same films were savaged, as if to highlight the critic’s flawed belief of my descent into mediocrity.
Apparently anyone who doesn’t doesn’t actually like his movies are all sheep and following one another. Of course, he doesn’t state who initially has the review that everyone follows.
You see, my dear fellow FBookers, I have rarely gotten great reviews… on any of my movies, apart from those by reviewers who think for themselves and make up their own opinions. Sadly those type of reviewers are nearly all dead.
He does make one valid point when he says:
Good reviews often come many years after the movie has opened.
I can see his point here. Oftentimes reviewers only have a few days after seeing the movie to get their opinions up before a wide screen release to have it be timely. Thoughts on a movie can change over time as the memory marinates and evolves. Trying to avoid spoilers in a review can also force details to be held back.
Proyas does seem to take one major complaint that has been cropping up about the film to heart:
I guess I have the knack of rubbing reviewers the wrong way – always have. This time of course they have bigger axes to grind – they can rip into my movie while trying to make their mainly pale asses look so politically correct by screaming “white-wash!!!” like the deranged idiots they all are. They fail to understand, or chose to pretend to not understand what this movie is, so as to serve some bizarre consensus of opinion which has nothing to do with the movie at all.
In an ever increasingly connected world where audiences are global and people want accuracy, this is a complaint that we’ve seen crop up more often. Is it justified? That is hard to say. With Hollywood’s long history of whitewashing the world, any filmmaker who has grown up in the industry could do the same thing but as more movies are being called out on it, you would think casting a film that is set in another country might make you think twice.
Additionally, according to Proyas, reviewers and film critics the world over are on our way out due to technology that has been around for decades.
That’s ok, this modern age of texting will probably make them go the way of the dinosaur or the newspaper shortly – don’t movie-goers text their friends with what they thought of a movie? Seems most critics spend their time trying to work out what most people will want to hear. How do you do that? Why these days it is so easy… just surf the net to read other reviews or what bloggers are saying – no matter how misguided an opinion of a movie might be before it actually comes out.
While I’m sure that some reviewers out there pander to their audiences, the majority would think of that as a disservice and want to get their own thoughts out there. Their view on a film is why people keep reading their reviews.
Of course, if you ask Proyas, it doesn’t appear that anyone who does reviews has an original opinion in the first place:
Lock a critic in a room with a movie no one has even seen and they will not know what to make of it. Because contrary to what a critic should probably be they have no personal taste or opinion, because they are basing their views on the status quo. None of them are brave enough to say “well I like it” if it goes against consensus.
It isn’t just critics on websites or magazines that he has a problem with but apparently audiences as well. Even if someone is miffed at a slight on a review do you really want to turn your entire fan base against you? Apparently some people do:
Therefore they are less than worthless. Now that anyone can post their opinion about anything from a movie to a pair of shoes to a hamburger, what value do they have – nothing. Roger Ebert wasn’t bad. He was a true film lover at least, a failed film-maker, which gave him a great deal of insight. His passion for film was contagious and he shared this with his fans. He loved films and his contribution to cinema as a result was positive.
Now we have a pack of diseased vultures pecking at the bones of a dying carcass. Trying to peck to the rhythm of the consensus. I applaud any film-goer who values their own opinion enough to not base it on what the pack-mentality say is good or bad.
As I mentioned above, I haven’t seen ‘Gods of Egypt’ yet and I have loved what Proyas has done in the past. Will this negativity towards my passion of analyzing film turn me against the movie when I eventually see it? I doubt it. Good or bad filmmaking speaks for itself. However, if I don’t like the movie I wonder if Proyas will feel that I’m just another “diseased vulture” that is “pecking at the bones of a dying carcass.”
What are your thoughts of film critics and Proyas’s opinion of them? Has he gone out of line or is the entire film review community in league against him while just copying from one another? Share your thoughts below!