erik lundegaard

Friday July 22, 2022

#TheSnyderCult

Zack Snyder is the Donald Trump of moviedom. Everything about him is horrible but somehow he has legions of rabid fans demanding more horribleness and attacking anyone who gets in the way. Snyder doesn't destroy lives the way Trump does, he just destroys culture. Twice I picked films he directed as the worst movie of the year (“Sucker Punch” in 2011, “Batman v. Superman” in 2016), and it was just the two because I wasn't making “worst of” lists in 2009 (for “Watchmen”) and 2007 (for “300”).

He so botched the much-anticipated “Justice League” movie that Warners took it away from him and gave it to “Avengers” director Joss Whedon to finish. He did more than finish it, he kind of remade it, and it was a bit oil and water (OK, it was very oil and water), but my immediate thought was, “Well, it's better than 'Batman v. Superman.'” Anyway, that seemed the end of it. 

In another time, it would've been. 

In our awful time, we kept hearing from Snyder's legions of fans. They showed up on social media, hashtag-ready, demanding a #ReleaseOfTheSnyderCut, and incessently attacking anyone who disagreed. Apparently they threatened people. Apparently they threatened lives.

Eventually it worked. Warners gave Snyder the money ($100 million?) to finish his version of “Justice League,” it premiered on HBO last year, four hours long, and with his name at the top of the title. He got top billing: “Zack Snyder's Justice League.” But it was considered better than the oil-and-water-version: 71% to 39% via Roten Tomatoes.

Except now Rolling Stone has just published an investigative piece indicating that the Zackbrats, the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut cult, might not have been as organic as it claimed. Snyder might have orchestrated it. With bots.

I wish I could tell you more about it but the article is under a pay wall. Good for them. I mean, I'd pay for the article, or even a physical copy of the magazine if I knew where to buy one, but I don't need another subscription. I'm inundanted as is.

So I'm relying on a website called slashfilm that has summed it up. Some key lines:

The article by Tatiana Siegel (with additional reporting from Adam Rawnsley) reveals that Warner Bros. was so suspicious of the “organic” fan movement that was somehow coordinated with military precision that they hired outside cyber security firms to investigate their legitimacy and found that at least 13% of the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut warriors were bots or fake accounts. Rolling Stone also consulted with social media tracking firms and they came to the same conclusion: not all the Snyder Cut accounts were fake, but there are a whole lot more fake accounts than is standard for this kind of movement. (Daily active spam accounts on Twitter usually track at around 5%, for comparison.)

Zack doesn't come off well. With each attack, he'd claim ignorance, inability to control fans, etc., but, as slashfilm writes:

It just so happens they're always mad at the exact people who stood in his way between “Batman V Superman” and the release of the Zack Snyder Cut of “Justice League.” These are executives who nobody knew before this movement yet everybody sure seemed to know to target at the same time.

Apparently some Snyder cultists still want him to return to the DCEU and fix everything, or “300”-ize everything, but that ship might've sailed. He's over at Netflix now—which is having its own problems, of course. He made an “Army of the Dead” movie (67%), which is appropriate, and has been announced as the director of another adaptation of Ayn Rand's “The Fountainhead,” which is even more appropriate. It's two of my least-favorite things in one package. Can a reboot of “Triumph of the Will” be far behind? 

Posted at 08:57 AM on Friday July 22, 2022 in category Movies  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard

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