300: Variety Takes on Film Critics’ Dismissal of Video Games

There is 300, the movie, which, in addition to generating terrific box office, is drawing the wrath of some film critics who see eerie parallels to U.S. foreign policy in the plot.

There is 300, the PSP game, which is drawing so-so reviews.

And then there is the controversy brewing over not so subtle bashing of the video game genre by film critics. No less a Hollywood authority than Variety tackles the subject in a column by Ben Fritz, who writes:

Reviews for “300” were across the board, but those who disliked it shared a derision that reveals at least as much about today’s film critics as it does their thoughts on the movie.

Fritz cites several major reviews to support his point, including that of L.A. Times film critic Kenneth Turan, who wrote, “Once the newness of ‘300’s’ look wears off, which it inevitably does, what we are left with is a videogame come to life.”

Fritz takes umbrage with similarly game-dismissive 300 reviews in USA Today and the New York Times:

For today’s movie critics, videogames are the new MTV musicvideo, a shorthand insult for any movie deemed too heavy on effects and visual panache at the expense of plot and coherence… In reality, videogame developers have created acclaimed works that span genres…

Stereotyping games as based on a brainless, violent subset is as fair as dismissing the art of moviemaking based on “Wild Hogs.” 

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