Reviews of Into the Storm — what’s really worthwhile?

1795619_804260082939136_704160700300821178_nAs usual with Richard Armitage’s upcoming projects, I experienced a point of “now I know enough about this film until I see it” with Into the Storm and just started stockpiling the many professional reviews I saw on Twitter and Google alerts and a bunch of the fan ones as well. With a few dozen links to click on, what should be prioritized? There are venues I respect, where the review interests me because I have a history with the publication, or I’m likely to be familiar with the reviewer, and there are some fans whose opinions I really respect because I feel I “know” and trust them. But what to read was kind of a hard puzzle to solve this time around.

I had to ignore a lot of the fan discussion last week because so much of it was angsty, and I have enough of that in my real life around things I have some influence on. I don’t need to look for it in fandom or in an industry where I am an outsider customer and at best a tiny cog in an earnings machine that constantly marginalizes women in general and those in my demographic in particular. And, although I read with interest four predictions last week about how this film was going to do, I didn’t post them because (a) I didn’t want to add to the tension and (b) there was no way this film was going to lose money even if it did poorly in the U.S.; I’m delighted, though, that the numbers seem to be proving all but one of those predictions to have been too pessimistic.

I love to read criticism, I should say, in case you haven’t noticed that, but I quickly became impatient with most of the reviews I read after seeing the film. Let’s admit it — advance reviews, which mostly address the question “to see or not to see” weren’t directed at me, anyway, as I was going to see it no matter what. But it seemed to me that only a tiny proportion of reviewers found anything interesting to say about the film — and as I found several interesting things to think about, and I’m not a professional reviewer, I ended up thinking a lot of it was just lazy.

Here’s a selection. It does not claim to be comprehensive. Also, please don’t take this taxonomy as “what I agreed with or what I didn’t” — I did publish my own review, so you can draw your own conclusions about that.

Missed the point: Moralistic

Several reviewers essentially chose to complain about the genre of the film and to suggest that Hollywood shouldn’t use disaster films for entertainment. Maybe not, but audiences want to see those films. And yes — even people who have experienced tornadoes sometimes like (or don’t like) to see them. People are much more complex than reviewers seem to suggest.

Missed the point: Thought the film was supposed to be epic theater

Several reviewers dinged the film for being too focused on the effects at the expense of dramatic interest. It is a film about a tornado, an entity that can’t speak.

Reviewers who got ridiculously carried away with their own language

Too stunned by visual effects to say anything meaningful

Praised the visual effects but didn’t have anything to say or were overwhelmed by effects or didn’t like prioritization of effects. To me, if all you have to say is that the effects are good (whether that’s a positive or negative for you), then you are under some obligation to explain why. None of that here, though, whether positive or negative about the effects.

Worthwhile press or website reviews

  • New York Times — brief, but asks an interesting question about tornadoes and J.M.W. Turner.
  • New York Post — accepts the premises of the film and enjoys them. As does Fox News. As does Gorgon Reviews, though the reviewer seems confused about a joke toward the end of the film. As does HitFix.
  • Film Journal International — falls into several of the pitfalls above, but raises the question, at least, of the moralism of the film itself (although I think what the author says is mistaken — the moral point of the “comic element,” if there is one, seems to be to show that you can do everything wrong and still survive a tornado through sheer dumb luck).
  • AndersonVision — Disarmingly honest.
  • — addresses the political issues around climate change ignored in most of the press.
  • Washington Post — comments on the science.

Worthwhile Richard Armitage fan reviews

~ by Servetus on August 10, 2014.

6 Responses to “Reviews of Into the Storm — what’s really worthwhile?”

  1. I will be writing my own now with input from spouse–hopefully you will find it worthwhile (you get the POV of a couple of professional videographers here along with a former newspaper writer . . .) 😉


  2. I’m sure I will; the number one prerequisite for me is that the reviewer take the film seriously on its own terms, for what it is. There are reviews in the worthwhile column that i disagree with. But the reviewer was willing to at least buy into the film enough to take it seriously.


  3. Thanks Serv! 🙂 I appreciate the link-love and I’m glad you liked my review.


  4. Thanks for posting the link to my review. Glad you liked it.


    • well, liking it and agreeing with it were two different things, but in your and Abby’s case I did both 🙂


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