Roger Ebert Mistakes

I personally tend to read Roger Ebert’s reviews. He is quick and to the point, and I respect that style of writing. However, he also has made some mistakes that I view as a little annoying so I wrote this article to explore a few. This article may contain spoilers in regards to the films Ebert was reviewing.

Predator

Roger Ebert seems to have missed one of the fundamental details of the film Predator in that he thinks the alien has come to Earth to live or some such. The alien, really, has actually come to Earth to hunt humans in the same way humans hunt animals in Africa. The film makes this pretty clear, and it seems to me to be a better idea for an aggressive but intelligent alien coming to earth.

Pitch Black

One of the main criticisms Roger Ebert made of the movie Pitch Black was that the creatures in the movie evolved to function only in dark conditions on a planet that was constantly lit by the sun for vast stretches of time. Ebert viewed this as going against Darwinian principles. However, Ebert is ultimately wrong in that for predators the sun is not a direct source of energy and thus, if the sun is debilitating, it may make sense to burrow. An example of this is the Desert Trilling Frog of Australia, a predatory frog that burrows in the desert and comes out at the vibrations of the rains. Given that there are molecular structures that are vulnerable to light, it may very well be the case that the organisms of the movie Pitch Black made a lot more sense than Ebert realizes.

Silent Hill

While Roger Ebert’s review of the film is fine, he goes off on a tangent about brain activity and games. He argues that when a child plays a video game, their mind lights up on a scan for a while before going basically dead. He then presumes this applies across the spectrum. The issue is that he does not seem to realize that this is the case with all learning. Once a task is learned, we need not expend as much energy learning it again. This can apply to anything from movies to novels. Furthermore, if a video game was complex and difficult it would require constant learning and so the brain would remain lit for longer as it attempted to comprehend.

Bad Boys II

Roger Ebert’s review of Bad Boys 2 particularly criticized a comedic scene in which the two main characters confronted an adolescent who was going to take one of their daughters on a date. Ebert was particularly negative about the scene and the aggressive actions of the father and his friend. However, the film Meet the Parents is essentially the very same concept all the way through and he gave that film three stars out of four.

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