It seems that I can barely start a blog post about Star Wars or Star Trek without thinking about the language I use. Usually, I like to remind people that it’s okay not to like a (or any) Star Wars or Star Trek title and it’s okay to like them. Like or dislike in any combination, it’s okay, no judgement.
So, I took note when Rave Reviews.org crunched some stats around the most divisive movies and had done by the decade.
“Divisive” in this case is defined as a split between the “critic” review and the “audience” review. Okay, I’m using quotes around those words because audiences are quite capable of being critical and critics belong to audiences too. Significantly, trolls can damage audience reviews on rating websites, though.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the 5th most divisive film in the four decades studied. As it happens, it’s also the film that made the most money – pocketing a cool $1.3 billion for the house of mouse.
The most divisive film is “Knock Down the House” which I’d never heard of, so division doesn’t necessarily mean publicity. This Netflix film managed to get 100% with criticals but only 18% with the general audience.
I don’t see a disproportionate number of sci-fi, fantasy or horror films in the research though. It’s not right to say, based on this research, that geeky films are more polarising.
Let’s take a close look and do it one decade at a time. Here we’ll see that E.T. scores highly (or poorly, depending on how you measure) for the 80s with the critics rating it 20 points higher than most audiences. Where the critics right?
We’ll also see Antz with a 40 point difference in the 90s. Does that animation count as an especially geeky title?
In Rave Reviews’ wrap up they point out that Hayao Miyazaki is the least divisive director; with both audiences and critics loving his work. It tends to be “crowd-pleasures” that score the biggest gap and Adam Shankman (Stuck On You, The Wedding Planner) coming out with the biggest differences.
Perhaps the geeky debates around Star Wars and Star Trek aren’t so bad after all. Imagine if people argued with passion whether The Wedding Planner was a big-budget attempt to take their dice away? Eew.
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