Critiquing the Critics, part I

In the months I’ve spent unemployed since September, I honestly wanted to spend time at the gym and playing guitar.  What ended up happening was I discovered a lot of very fun websites.  I’ve also discovered that I have a weakness for video reviews of movies and video games.  This started when a friend told me about a 70-minute The Phantom Menace review.  Well, I looked for it on You Tube, and found a 30-minute review.  Thinking I found what my friend was talking about, I watched it, liked it, and kept watching.  I later found out that the Episode I review about which I was told was by a different person, so I found that one and subsequently melted in awe.  Further searching for these kinds of videos led to another discovery of a guy in glasses complaining about kid’s movies.  Genius.

I’ve been following these three sites for a while, now, and have decided to share my thoughts on them.  I will discuss each individually in three separate posts (so to avoid what I like to call dangit-Braden-why-are-your-posts-so-long-all-the-time-ism).  Also in each, I’ll share some videos and rank certain aspects of what they do:

MR. PLINKETT (Red Letter Media)

Critiquing Skill: 10/10
Humor Quality: 9/10
Production Quality: 10/10
Frequency of Updates: 1/10

You might have heard of this guy, recently.  He did the 70-minute Star Wars: Episode I review, and then followed that up with a 90-minute Episode II review.  Mr. Plinkett is a character played by Mike Stoklasa of the website  Apparently that site has a lot of other stuff on it besides Plinkett, but I’ve not cared enough to check it out (plus I don’t want to risk seeing Stoklasa doing the Plinkett voice on screen, it would just ruin my life).  Stoklasa explained that the character is done because he can’t really talk as in-depth about science fiction movies in his normal voice without sounding like a complete tool, so he does Plinkett to make it more “palatable.”

As you might be able to tell by the numbers up there, I don’t think there’s much bad that can be said about him, unless you take issue with the . . . *ahem* rape and serial killer jokes.  Okay, so his humor might upset some people, and I certainly won’t knock them for being put off.  But if we put that to the side just for now, please let me submit that this guy is one of the best analyzers of film and storytelling I’ve ever heard.  He makes it so easy to want to dismiss him as a total moron with the inappropriate jokes and the creepy voice, or a worthless geek who takes his sci-fi movies too seriously, but if you pay attention to what he says, you’ll be amazed at the insight he provides.  There are certain things that make a good movie good, such as respecting the intelligence of the audience, constructing a coherent story, developing interesting characters, etc.  There are tricks that movie makers do to draw in audiences (which can be used for good or evil) that we don’t always catch.  Plinkett points them all out, and one feels like a smarter viewer of movies after watching one of his reviews (again, once/if you can get past the voice). On top of all of that, he’s got some very well-scripted acting parts, as well as decent actresses performing in his videos.  Nothing feels awkward or forced.  Keep that in mind when you realize he only does a new review once every several months.  They’re such large-scale productions that he needs time.  This makes them worth watching many times, but it’s hard to follow his site like I do other sites.

While the Star Wars reviews are his most celebrated, and I’ve heard his Star Trek reviews are equally as good (I’m waiting to watch those movies before I see his reviews; they’re in queue), I hold a special place in my heart for his review of the disgustingly over-praised Avatar.  Plus it’s a LOT shorter than the Star Wars reviews (only 20 minutes), so it’s easier to take in.  Enjoy:


Explanation of scored categories:

Critiquing Skill:  How insightful are they?  Can they provide objective support for why they say something is bad or good?  Are their issues with a particular film based out of misunderstandings, a lack of paying attention?  Or are they based out of something genuine?
Humor Quality: How funny are they?  Most, if not all, internet video critics attempt at some form of humor.  Are their jokes cringe-worthy and cliche, or are they genuinely funny?
Production Quality: How good is their editing?  How do they handle their segments vs. clips from the movie, etc?  If there is added dramatization or acting involved, is it any good?
Frequency of Updates: An entertaining site is one you can visit fairly regularly and have something new to see on most visits.  How do they fare?


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