Film critics are refusing to review The New Mutants unless Disney provides safe ways for the critics to screen the film.
The A.V. Club, The Boston Globe, RogerEbert.com and IndieWire have all stated that they will not have any of their critics review the film so long as the only option is to attend a public screening, which remain a health hazard due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Most theaters allow the audience to remove their face masks to eat or drink concession items, which creates a health risk.
The AV Club’s film critic AA Dowd posted an essay explaining the site’s decision to not review the film, “Last week, we published an interview with scientific experts on the dangers of going to the movies now, during a pandemic that is in no way under control. They did not mince words: There’s a very good chance you could get sick. And that’s a risk The A.V. Club will not be taking to review a movie, any movie, even one that will satisfy our burning curiosity about a long-delayed comic-book blockbuster that sounds more like A Nightmare On Elm Street III: The Dream Warriors than First Class.
Dowd continued to further note, “We are, in fact, adopting the official policy of only reviewing films our writers can safely watch, whether in a socially distanced press screening or with a digital screener. And yes, that applies to all our writers, even those willing to take the risk for an assignment, because we’re not willing to monetize that risk, either.”
That is the same position being taken by IndieWire, The Boston Globe and RogerEbert.com
The proverbial perfect storm in this situation is the fact that Disney is not opening the film up for advance screenings. Typically, movie studios make their movies available ahead of time to reviewers so that the reviews can be in print by the time that the movie opens. The idea, naturally, being that movie-goers will want to see the film after reading the review.
However, if a studio is not sure that the reviews will be good (or if they are pretty sure that the reviews will be bad), then studios will not offer up advance screenings. That’s normally not a problem, except, of course, we are now in a pandemic. All of the sites appear willing to review the film in the future if it is available on Video On Demand or if Disney will provide alternate screening options, but for now, a number of film critics will be silent on The New Mutants.
The revised synopsis for The New Mutants can be found below.
In this terrifying, action-fueled film based on the MARVEL comic series, five young people who demonstrate special powers are brought to a secret institution to undergo treatments they are told will cure them of the dangers of their powers. Included are Danielle Moonstar aka Mirage (Blu Hunt), who creates illusions from other people’s fears; Rahne Sinclair (Maisie Williams), who transforms into the werewolf Wolfsbane; Sam Guthrie (Charlie Heaton), who, as Cannonball, can fly at jet speeds protected by a force field; Roberto da Costa aka Sunspot (Henry Zaga), who absorbs and channels solar power; and Illyana Rasputin aka Magik (Anya Taylor-Joy). The younger sister of Colossus, Magik becomes encased in armor at will and wields a soulsword that amplifies her multiple superhuman and psychic abilities. Invited by Dr. Cecilia Reyes (Alice Braga) to share their stories about when their powers first manifested, the five “patients” come to understand that they are in a class of people called mutants, who have historically been marginalized and feared. As they relive their origin stories, their memories seem to turn into terrifying realities. Soon, they question what is real and what isn’t, and it becomes clear that the institution isn’t what it seems. Now the question is — why are they being held captive? And who is trying to destroy them? The tension and horror mount in this white-knuckle thrill ride directed by Josh Boone and co-written by Boone and Knate Lee.
Directed and co-written by Josh Boone, The New Mutants stars Maisie Williams as Rahne Sinclair/Wolfsbane, Anya Taylor-Joy as Illyana Rasputin/Magik, Charlie Heaton as Sam Guthrie/Cannonball, Henry Zaga as Roberto da Costa/Sunspot, Blu Hunt as Danielle Moonstar/Mirage and Alice Braga as Dr. Cecilia Reyes. The film arrives in theaters Aug. 28.