Well, that went against expectations.
Over Easter, I took the kids to see the latest Aardman film, Pirates! - Band of Misfits. It got a very high 91% approval rating at Rottentomatoes from British and Australian critics; I liked Wallace and Gromit in their movie and TV outings; what could go wrong?
I thought it was pretty awful. Somehow, the jokes were obvious but just not laugh-out-loud, or even charmingly witty. You virtually had to be an adult to get most of them, but even then, they just came across as a bit, I don't know, trying too hard? Certainly, you could tell from the increasing restlessness of the younger members of the audience that the film was just not hitting that target at all. My kids said afterwards that it was only so-so. At least it gave me an opportunity to talk about Charles Darwin and evolution, but a springboard for some mild education is not why one goes to see an Aardman film.
Then today, my wife had hired Johnny English Reborn on DVD for the night (it's school holidays still). I knew it got so-so reviews (38% on Rottentomatoes) and (I now know) made an embarrassing $8,000,000 at the US cinema. (It made more than that in Australia alone.)
Yet we enjoyed it a lot. It's a well crafted, good looking movie with just the right mix of witty satire of James Bond and outright silliness, all without the excessive crudeness of the Austin Powers movies.
Strange how expectations can be upended.