iPhone users stranded in the middle of nowhere by Apple's dire new Maps app have had a lot of time on their hands to play with Siri, the device's talking assistant. And they've discovered that as part of her iOS6 upgrade, Siri's gained the ability to review movies. Sort of.
iOS6's Siri actually has a bunch of new movie-related functions. She can tell you what movies are currently out in theaters, or opening this weekend, or give you a list of local showtimes. As noted by The Verge, she can also explain what specific movies are about, though only in certain cases, mostly stories involving computers or robots. At the right, you see what she has to say about "Star Wars" ("It's about a couple of really nice robots who get mixed up in a silly intergalactic war"). I was sort of surprised to see that Siri is so fond of C3PO and R2D2 since they're droids, and that's her competition, but I guess it's nice she's such an impartial critic.
Other assessments include this pithy take on J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" —
"It's about a space ship run by an assistant named 'Computer.' A terrific actor, by the way."
— and a very artificial intelligence-centric spin on Ridley Scott's "Alien":
"It's the story of a valiant scientific officer named Ash who's searching for the truth. But the people with him won't let him do his job."
It's cute (or maybe just a wee bit ominous) that Siri takes a technology-first view of sci-fi movies ("Siri, how long before you merge with Skynet and start the Judgment Day War?"). And the ability to call up movies, theaters, and showtimes instantly is actually a great new feature. But on the whole, Siri's about as good a film critic as she is a navigator when you take away her Google Maps. If she's going to seriously challenge human critics, she'd better broaden her movie knowledge base, even in the realm of science-fiction; as of now, she's got no opinion about "Metropolis," "Forbidden Planet," "Silent Running," "A.I. Artificial Intelligence," and "The Day the Earth Stood Still" — not to mention every movie in history that doesn't involve robots and wasn't made by her buddies at Pixar. Maybe Apple can send Siri to grad school and get her a Master's in cinema studies before iOS7. Lord knows they can afford it. While she's there, she can even brush up on her cartography.
Read more of "Siri's Strange Movie Reviews: It's Tough Being a Nut."