One of my motivations for writing reviews is to show things from a perspective that doesn’t get brought up very often. At first, I went in thinking I’d do both things I liked and hated, but then I realized: it’s actually more fun to either defend things that most people are indifferent to or hate or promote artists that are relatively obscure in the public eye. Besides, there are so many angry online critics out there that the schtick’s gotten old. Still, there are quite a few things that I have particular antipathy towards, so I may as well compile them here.
- Atlas Shrugged: Judging it solely on its merits as a novel, it’s essentially a narcissist’s poorly written revenge fantasy against the world, where rationality means blindly trusting in some magic metal and that most people will sit through 60 page speeches without falling asleep. The fact that people consider something so unrealistic a meaningful political statement would be hilarious if some of those people weren’t actually in charge of nations.
- Metroid: Other M: The game’s infamy has already been well documented, so I’ll just sum it up as one of the most badass women in video games being reduced to a whiny, useless anime waifu. On the plus side, it’s also become an iconic example of how not to write a video game story, and serves as a counterargument to the idea of the creator’s original vision being something sacred and inviolable.
- Torchwood: It’s a breakthrough in homosexual representation with the entire cast being casually pansexual. And it has a potentially interesting message about how powerless humanity really is in the face of the wider universe through deconstructing the secret agent genre. All this is wasted on an unlikable, incompetent cast. Seriously, the Season 1 finale has the Torchwood crew nearly doom the world by committing mutiny against their leader and opening a dangerous dimensional rift for no reason, and somehow, they’re all forgiven and keep their jobs.
- Pokemon Origins: People love it because it’s a faithful adaptation of the original Pokemon games’ story. Except it’s a completely soulless, paint-by-numbers rendition of a story that was considered mediocre even at the time, and even its supposed faithfulness is betrayed by Red’s bullshit main character powers. For all the original anime’s faults, at least you never doubted that Ash cared about his Pokemon, whereas Red seems to treat his goals like a mere checklist. It’s one of the laziest examples of nostalgia bait there is.
- Hearthstone: For normalizing the concept of needing to either pay hundreds of hours or hundreds of dollars before you can start having fun. The time or money spent on these free-to-play games could instead go towards many more productive things, like better video games that you only have to pay for once.
- Toy Story 3: It’s not bad on its own merits, but it doesn’t do things much different from Toy Story 2 or The Brave Little Toaster, and comes off as emotionally manipulative nostalgia bait. Which makes it all the worse when people exalt this movie as the finest animation has to offer and dismiss anyone who criticizes it as a troll. I mean, it’s important to have dissenting views, or else critics may as well just be advertisers.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Again, not the worst thing out there, and I actually like Homura quite a bit, but it primarily comes off as a clever deconstruction to those who haven’t actually read or watched many fairy tales or magical girls. Seriously, the Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Andersen, for instance, have plenty of stories that are just as dark and morbid relative to their Disney counterparts. Heck, the Full Moon wo Sagashite manga already beat Madoka to the punch in disguising a grim story about death in cutesy idol singer clothes. Also, the non-Homura characters are pretty underdeveloped considering the magical girl genre is driven by compelling characters and relationships.
- The Social Network: For having one of the most insipid, objectifying portrayals of an Asian woman character I’ve ever seen. Imagine a tabletop RPG where all the white guys get cool, awesome characters, while the only character available to you has no role other than being the white guys’ fetish toy. And you’re supposedly the voice of a generation. Yeah, I know Asian fetishism isn’t exclusive to this movie, but after seeing so many awesome Asian women on screen and in real life, it was an unpleasant reminder of how Hollywood still sees us.
- The Literary Canon: Honestly, classic literature fans are some of their worst advocates. I’m confident that saying that you need to read specific dead white male literature in order to be purer than the common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd does more to turn people away from classic literature than anything else (other than English class making reading into the most boring chore ever). Which is a shame, because many of the classics really are worth reading on their own merits. Perhaps classicists could take a cue from the Jane Austen fanbase in making those books actually sound fun.