Award-winning film critic Roger Ebert, who celebrates his 60th birthday today, June 18th, has finally admitted that he is out of touch. In his recent review of “Scooby Doo” which appeared on the Chicago Sun Times web site, the thumbmaster freely admitted that, “Not only am I ill-prepared to review the movie, but I venture to guess that anyone who is not literally a member of a ‘Scooby-Doo’ fan club would be equally incapable…”
Most films from Hollywood are targeted toward males between the ages of 18-35, and it has been 25 years since Ebert was a part of that demographic. Yet the respected critic continues to render opinions on movies that are just not made for him. Scooby Doo skews to an even younger demographic, yet Ebert did offer a few opinions in his review. “I feel no sympathy with any of the characters, I am unable to judge whether the live action movie is a better idea than the all-cartoon TV approach, I am unable to generate the slightest interest in the plot, and I laughed not a single time, although I smiled more than once at the animated Scooby-Doo himself, an island of amusement in a wasteland of fecklessness.”
The “thumbinator,” as he is sometimes called, went on to lambaste virtually every aspect of Scooby Doo. In Ebert’s Scooby Doo review he said, “What I can say, I think, is that a movie like this should in some sense be accessible to a non-fan like myself. I realize every TV cartoon show has a cadre of fans who grew up with it, have seen every episode many times and are alert to the nuances of the movie adaptation,” said the 60 year-old. “If these people can’t walk into the movie cold and understand it and get something out of it, then the movie has failed except as an in-joke.”
FilmThreat.com’s own Ron Wells felt that Scooby Doo could have benefited from the use of mind-enhancing substances in the form of alcohol or illicit drugs. It’s not clear if Ebert considered using anything to prepare himself for “Doo.”
Ebert ends his piece by revealing, “I pray, dear readers, that you not send me mail explaining the genius of Scooby Doo and attacking me for being ill-prepared to write this review. I have already turned myself in. Not only am I ill-prepared to review the movie, but I venture to guess that anyone who is not literally a member of a Scooby Doo fan club would be equally incapable. This movie exists in a closed universe, and the rest of us are aliens. The Internet was invented so that you can find someone else’s review of Scooby Doo. Start surfing.”
Ebert is best known for popularizing the simplified binary review system — thumbs up/thumbs down — along with his former colleague, the late Gene Siskel.