As we all know, the trouble with criticism is that it is all too arbitrary. People make mistakes all of the time! How can I trust a critic who describes The Chronicles of Riddick as a white-knuckle thrill trip without a consistent, strictly structured system of defining and assigning value to art? So we spend our adult lives honing our taste, comparing it to the work of this critic and that, measuring agreement against dissent until we’ve discovered a group of like-minded people we can trust. But who has the time, anyway? Who has it in them to watch a poor movie by accident? Life is already full of uncertainty; who has it in them to watch a bad film by accident?
Bunkerpop has added some short rationality to this namby-pamby film-crit game to appease the ever-more vociferous “facts, not feelings” brigade. We’re experimenting with a new method of evaluating film franchises. Each edition is assigned a numerical rating between 1 and 5, which is then added together and split to provide a single aggregate score that can be readily compared across series. Finally, a curious viewer may decide based on the numbers rather than considering a thousand nuances of preference.
Pirates of the Caribbean
The Plot: The first Pirates film is an example of Hollywood’s blockbuster machine in full swing, producing beautiful playgrounds for a still-adored Johnny Depp to ham it up in. The series died a slow, agonizing death in America for the next decade and a half, but overseas ticket sales continued reviving the body. It wasn’t all horrible in Dead Man’s Chest! Bill Nighy played Davy Jones (3) as an octopus! At World’s End, sunk more time into Captain Jack Sparrow’s background when his present is considerably more amusing and went all-in on the very foolish mythology that would only grow in complication over the subsequent films. That’s a two on the scale. In their lack of inventiveness and appeal, On Stranger Tides and Dead Men Tell No Tales may very well be the same film. one and one.
The Lowdown: With Jason Bourne, Doug Liman offered America the James Bond we desperately needed, a tough-guy alternative to 007’s refined U.K. propriety. Liman’s film tapped into all of the big-budget pleasure centers, blending drum-tight one-liners and daring stunts with the more interesting mystery of this amnesiac’s true nature. It gets a five, though Paul Greengrass will never achieve that delicate alchemy of sneaky audience-playing and intentional character depiction. In his novels Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum, he explores the world of Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum (2 and 3). He put a bigger focus on kinetics for the sake of kinetics and could not make self-evident spectacle work, making Bourne a more unsavory character than we knew him to be. With The Bourne Legacy, the executives wanted to blow it all up by erasing Damon, replacing him with Jeremy Renner, and introducing a new sci-fi angle. Giving Jason Bourne, or any Jason for that matter, superpowers turned out to be gilding the lily, and the series was renewed for a second season. Bringing back Bourne and Greengrass restored normalcy, yet the mediocrity that used to be considered normal has slid into a lower tone. Jason Bourne was as drab and apparent as its title, enlisting Alicia Vikander in a thankless part while putting Damon through his paces once more. At a 1, a yawn.