Reviews have been around since anyone who has had an opinion feels the need to express it. If social media has taught us anything, it’s that people don’t mind expressing their opinion. When it comes to reviews of entertainment, including movies, TV show and video games, they can be invaluable to some people. You don’t want to rush out and see a movie everyone thinks is bad or pay $60 for a game that isn’t worth your hard-earned cash. However, this kind of raises an issue that bugs me a little. Do reviews have to matter so much?
What I mean by that is, do we as individuals with are own opinions have to put so much stock in what others think? Yes, some review entertainment as a profession and one would assume they have a professional advantage over how to convey why they like or dislike something. However, reviewers are the same as us: people with opinions. I am in no way trying to knock anyone who writes or records their opinion in the entertainment industry. I’m just trying to say we as people with our own opinions need to trust enough in ourselves to form our own
I fully admit that one of my favorite animated films is Tom and Jerry: The Movie, which hold an 18% on Rotten Tomatoes, and you know what, that’s cool. I still like the movie and its okay it doesn’t have the best reviews. I wish more people were open to this, but that’s not the world we live in.
When Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice finally debuted in theatres last March, it was met with scathing reviews. It currently holds a 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes despite still taking in a lot of money at the box office. On my social media channel, I saw a lot of people echoing these reviews in the face of their followers, more or less relishing that the movie was poorly received, whether they saw it or not. However, I also saw a few people who liked the movies or thought it wasn’t so bad. It was interesting to see, in the face of such poor critical reception that some people were willing to voice their opinion.
This is something I find particularly interesting given the reception of last year’s Fantastic Four reboot. Not only did the film have terrible reviews, which were also echoed through social media, but it did very poorly at the box office. It shows that super hero films, regardless of the genre’s current popularity does not make any film immune to a box office bomb. It can be argued that Batman and Superman’s popularity superseded any review that said the movie was bad, but it’s certainly not guaranteed.
It’s not just about reviews influencing our opinion, however, but what the purpose of a review itself. Gamers is well-known for holding reviews to an extremely high regard. This can lead to some unfortunate events. The recently released Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is one of the highest rated games of the year so far, but despite this, gamers were furious over a single review from the Washington Post. The review scored it four out of ten, which also knocked its Metacritic rating from 94 to 93. Fans were outraged, and there is even a petition online asking for Metacritic to remove the review. Keep in mind that this is in the face of dozens of perfect scores and more that glowing reviews.
This is a phenomena known as “hate out of ten.” The idea is gaming scores are so commonly high in general that anything eight or below is considered bad instead of good or averages. The higher profile the game, the more likely a low score will be controversial. Having a high score is seen as a status simple or easy justification on buying into a game’s hype, and nothing can take the wind out of your sails faster than a seemingly low score.
It’s also important to note is that critical acclaim does not equate to sales success, similar to how poor reviews don’t lead to failure. An example of this the game Okami on PS2, which holds a score of 93 on Metacritic did not sell well and in part led to the closure of its developer Clover Studios.
The point is, reviews are not a beacon of success or a shroud of failure. They are not meant to justify our entertainment decisions or allow us to troll others online for having the “superior” view. Reviews are the opinion of individuals, nothing more, nothing less. They are not represent fact and logic. We all have a voice, and it is completely alright to express our opinions, but we should not hold others to accept or relay our opinions. There is a vast world of entertainment out there, and not everything will be for everyone. We all have different opinions, and that is perfectly okay.