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Criticwatch - Harry Potter and the Deathly Pete Hammond, Part Whatever

by Erik Childress

We are just a week away from Warner Bros. scoring their biggest critical success of the year with Horrible Bosses. Holding steady with a 73% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, the WB still managed to sneak in one more whore on the later ads in Maria Salas, who again proves her undying loyalty to the studio, giving them 5 quotes just this year. Hopefully this was her "totally hilarious" sendoff by the junket reps over there reportedly reevaluating their marketing tactics. They could have practically taken the week off in the rise up to the release of their final Harry Potter film.

Even the Chris Columbus entries ranked 80% & 83% respectively, and no Harry Potter film has sank below 78%. The 7th-point-2 feature in the series was even making a push for the fabled and almost unreachable 100% at RT. That is until the Australian not-so-super-duo of Andrew L. Urban & Louise Keller of Urban Cinefile posted their negative reviews and blew the curve. Not so surprising considering they haven't liked any of the David Yates entries (which is insane since they are the best IMHO) and their tastes generated this year to greater fare like Cars 2, Mr. Popper's Penguins and Sucker Punch. So, take their reviews with as much salt as you'd like.

Warner Bros. for only the second time this year, need not worry about wading through the negative write-ups to get to the positive ones. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 is currently the best reviewed wide release of 2011. 175 positive reviews out of 180 as of this write-up. It could even be an Oscar contender (though let's put that at 50/50 right now.) The quotes are there for the taking. Thankfully they chose not to go with Shawn Edwards, and Ben Lyons again as they did for Part I. But they did manage to sneak in a few of their ilk.

"Spectacular." - Bonnie Laufer
"Heart-stopping. Emotional." - Pat Collins
"Breathtaking. Explosive and astonishing." - Jeff Craig

Once again, the disembodied voice who reads press releases and the thoughts of his staff who actually see the movies, Jeff Craig, is out in front on the television ads. Seriously, anyone who has actually seen this guy or has a picture of him, please forward your info to us here at Criticwatch. This marks Jeff's 5th quote for Warner Bros. this year (out of 13) and the best thing we can say about it (other than it hopefully being his last for them) is that he used three adjectives we have never seen him use before. OK, so he once used "breathLESS" to describe Blade: Trinity, but props for his thesaurus purchase. What about that Pat Collins?

"Chris Rock’s funniest movie yet. A must-see laugh-out-loud comedy. Hilariously funny." (I Think I Love My Wife)
"The best Shrek yet. "(Shrek the Third)
"Uproariously funny! Even better than the first." (Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa)

Considering Pat Collins' history for propping up certain films as numero uno in some fashion, it is surprising he didn't go all out on his last chance to hype a Harry Potter film.

"The last Harry is the best Harry!" - Pat Collins

Oh, never mind. That appeared in the print ads this morning. "Spectacular," as Bonnie Laufer-occasionally-hypenated-Krebs might (and did) say. Not as spectacular as her loyalty to Warner Bros. Of her 17 quotes since 2007, 10 of them have been for the WB.

"Intense" (I Am Legend)
"Funny." (Valentine's Day)
"Hysterical" (The Hangover Part II)
"Willis and Morgan make a hilarious comedy duo." (Cop Out)
"Positively hilarious! A great movie for the holidays. "(Yes Man)
"Irresistible and charming. The perfect date movie." (No Reservations)
"The perfect date movie." (Life As We Know It)
"Two paws way up!" (Yogi Bear)
"A witty and wild ride." (Green Lantern)

Only one of those films generated a positive rating. Three of them ranked under 20% and another two were under 30%. Spectacular, Bonnie. So who cares if she liked Harry Potter? Wouldn't she have to be a gigantic idiot to pan it after THOSE recommendations? Speaking of gigantic idiots though, rounding out the worst part of WB's Harry Potter ads are the two Petes. Travers and Hammond, the Voldemort and Wormtail of the quote whore world find themselves on the same ad for the 7th time this year. Travers with his 32nd quote and Hammond with his 24th. This is only the 2nd Warner Bros. film Travers has liked in 2011 and the studio has both him on those ads both times as if this was something to celebrate.

"A triumphant conclusion to a decade of Pottermania." - Peter Travers
Hooray. Find me someone who isn't saying some variation of that in the positive reviews being circulated. This is not going to be TraversWatch today though. Oh no. Despite Warner Bros. being only the third major studio to use Travers on their ads (Universal & Paramount have used him 5 times between them), the usual criticism of Travers does not apply in this matter. But the usual Pete Hammond criticism absolutely does.

"The must-see movie event of 2011." - Pete Hammond

Who would argue with that? Destined to be the biggest grosser of the year. Already a strong candidate to be one of the best reviewed films of the year. One needed only to look at the film schedule back in January to label Harry Potter as such. This is one of the lessons Criticwatch has always tried to preach. Not everything is the greatest film ever. Not every film is a must-see. Hyperbole in moderation is fine, but not when you are just trying to outdo yourself.

"The perfect family film in every way." (Mars Needs Moms)
"A must-see movie that will have you talking long afterwards." (Trust)
"The first truly great movie in 2011." (In a Better World)

That's Pete Hammond just through part of April. He's already labeled a film that almost no families went to see a "perfect" film for them, followed it up with "a must-see" and then had the nerve to call Suzanne Bier's recently Oscar-ed film, the "FIRST??? truly great movie in 2011." So perfection and you-need-to-see-this only rank as "great" but not "truly great?" How can Hammond possibly follow that?

"The greatest animated triumph since Toy Story 3." (Rio)
"A hard driving adrenaline pumping blast that leaves everything else in its dust. The most spectacular and exhilarating action sequences the screen has seen in years. The best one yet." (Fast Five)

So we are now just through April. Hammond has thrown under the bus a whopping 10 months of animated films, including the "perfect" Mars Needs Moms to compare the colorfully lifeless Rio to one of the best concluding chapters of any series ever. Is that hyperbole on my part after I just granted similar praise upon the latest Harry Potter? Not even in the ballpark of Pete Hammond.

"A triumphant return to Narnia! It's magical and fun. Perfect for all ages." (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian)
"Ben Stiller is a riot. Chris Rock is in top form. Sasha Baron Cohen steals the show." (Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa)
"The funniest film of the year! The best comedy of the year!" (Shrek: The Final Chapter)
"A great time at the movies for everyone! Huge laughs, spectacular special effects and the pure animal magnetism of Steve Carell make this the summer movie comedy event that proves to be every bit as much fun as it's meant to be - times two!" (Evan Almighty)
"A 3-D experience like we've never seen onscreen before." (Step Up 3-D)
"A great story that takes us to places we've never been before." (Tron: Legacy)

"Bow down to the master and accept no substitutions. Star Wars, Batman and the others better watch out! This is the movie we've been waiting for! One of the year's most purely entertaining films." (Land of the Dead)
"The new year's most terrifying thriller. An absolute shocker in every way imaginable. The most electrifying thriller of the year… Is an absolute shocker in every way" (Hannibal Rising)
"Total excitement…Takes you to the edge and keeps you there all the way." (28 Weeks Later)
"Heart-pounding action! Total entertainment from start to finish!" (National Treasure: Book of Secrets)
"Strap yourself in for a blistering, super-charged ride. This time around the fast and furious action is simply off the charts!" (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift)
"What a movie! A genuine treasure trove of fun and high adventure, loaded with state-of-the-art visual effects that will simply blow you away! As good as gold." (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest)
"The most purely entertaining film of the summer. This one hits the jackpot as a sleek and stylish caper flick even Sinatra himself would have loved" (Ocean's Thirteen)

"Perfect summer entertainment, Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard have topped The DaVinci Code in every way imaginable! Movies don't get more exciting than this." (Angels and Demons)
"Spellbinding! Spectacular! Sensationally acted and brilliantly directed, this Potter tops them all!" (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)
"The Bourne Ultimatum is the best action film in decades. A two hour high-tech chase around the world that surpasses everything that's come before it, including Oscar-winning classics like The French Connection and Bullitt." (The Bourne Ultimatum)
"The biggest and best of the series. Sensational! Pure entertainment from start to finish." (High School Musical 3)
"They've saved the best 'X' for last. Awesome! This one's got it all - and then some! Great action, great actors, the greatest X-Men movie yet." (X-Men: The Last Stand)

We imagine Pete Hammond sitting down at a five-course meal. The appetizer is damn good. The soup and salad are even better. The steak is out of this world and then the dessert is the creamiest, tastiest, most colorfully delectable thing he has ever put in his mouth. Meanwhile, he is completely full of shit, desperate to get it out, only he does it the way Eric Cartman once proved was possible. Again, do not take into account that you might have sat at the same table at Sizzler and enjoyed the meal in your own way. You just have a more refined palette and a stomach that doesn't process everything into instant cinematic armageddon that needs to be smelled by the entire restaurant. Here is more Hammond from 2011. In order of his comments.

"A must see! A towering, unforgettable epic...Director Roland Joffe returns to the stirring tradition of his greatest films, The Killing Fields and The Mission." (There Be Dragons)
"A film you won't forget anytime soon. A terrific coming-of-age movie with an extraordinary and talented ensemble cast of hot new stars. It reminded me of classics like The Last Picture Show and American Graffiti." (Skateland)
"The best comedy of 2011...period. More laugh out loud moments...than any comedy in memory. This is the group everyone is going to want to hang with this summer." (Bridesmaids)
"The perfect summer movie. The best Pirates ever. (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides)
"A 3-D event." (Kung Fu Panda 2)
"This is a must-see with the ability to change hearts and minds." (A Better Life)
"Even better than the first." (Cars 2)
"The perfect summer comedy." (Larry Crowne)
"The must-see movie event of 2011." (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2)

Pete Hammond is criticism Cancer with no conceivable filter for what films are deserving of hyperbole and what is just another opportunity to get his name in the paper. Even if that is not his primary motivation, he is still just a shitty critic. Good ones love to bring attention to films they believe deserve it. But even the most slap-happy fanboy will tell you that not every sci-fi, fantasy, comic book horror sequel is worthy of a self-pleasuring slap. 32 of Hammond's 38 ratings for 2011 films are in the positive. Just looking at the numbers, yours truly has seen 28 of those films and would only recommend 11 to you, the reader. Now, do you look at that as me being overtly tough to please or Hammond as very easy to please? Rotten Tomatoes tells us that I agree with the consensus 72% of the time while Hammond does 64%. Even if I was to eventually recommend those ten other films that I haven't seen - a list that includes Hammond recommendations of Prom and Hop - that would still rank me 29% behind Hammond on what I am recommending to my readers.

Amongst the wide releases that Hammond had to dig deep down to not recommend to people were Arthur, Green Lantern, Sucker Punch, Your Highness, and Zookeeper. Of Hammond's 32 positives, 16 of them were panned by more than half of the critics who posted reviews at Rotten Tomatoes. One he referred to as "perfect." Another he compared to two of the best coming-of-age films ever made by most standards. A third he called the best in the series even though it's the worst reviewed of the lot. So who gives a shit if PETE HAMMOND thinks Harry Potter is "a must-see event?" What isn't to him?

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originally posted: 07/16/11 01:50:19
last updated: 10/19/18 00:35:46
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