When I decided I was going to review movies. I realized that I would need a system. A short hand for how I would score movies I saw. That way I could give a 1-10 score within a few minutes of finishing it. It was obviously not meant to replace the critical thinking needed for reviewing. Just a tool to make my job easier.
It also serves as a good way to remember how I felt about a movie, while I was watching it. Because I can’t always write reviews within the week, or even the month I saw it.
Note that these are not a be-all, end-all method of reviewing, and some movies can be good even if they do not fit any of the categories. Though…I have never found one that does…but anything possible right?
Also these reviews are made specifically for movies. They sorta work for television series, but are not formed for that purpose.
Okay, well time to delve into my method.
Hopefully, no madness to it. Fingers crossed.
“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” -Winston Churchill
For each of the qualities that the movie has, it gets a point. Ten points in all. Quite an easy system really.
- The movie is clever and smart.
I hate dumb movies, our culture is already filled to the brim with stupid, shameless stuff. Honey Boo Boo, Jersey Shore, TMZ, and the Twilight movies already exist. We do not need more stuff like that. If a movie does not care about its plot or the logic of it, then why should we?
- The viewer experiences the emotion or tone that was intended by the director.
If it is a comedy, I should feel uplifted, or happy. If it is an action movie, I should feel victorious or powerful. Movies that fail to deliver on what they are supposed to, makes you feel cheated or bored.
- The main characters are interesting, dynamic, and not stereotypical.
This rule only applies to the main characters, stock characters have their purposes. But the main ones need to be good enough written to be people, not characters. It is hard to care about them if they are generic.
- The movie is not a remake, prequel, sequel, or a mid-quell. If it is one, it needs to be better than the original.
This one is strictly a product of this day and age. Companies are quick to make these, because they are supposedly guaranteed to make money. The movie must be better than the original for its existence to be warranted. At the very least, it must continue the story.
- Engaging and well paced. Basically stuff happens at a good pace.
I hate being bored. I hate it so much. Boring movies are no fun to watch. Plain and simple.
- Has a story worth telling.
Movies are art. Simple fact. But like all art, there are hacks. People who are in it for the money, ready to make things just for money. No creative spark to it. Any movie made this way, does not deserve to exist. I understand that people need to make a buck to live. I know that too well, but if you do not care about your story. Then it is not worth the time.
- Has a satisfying resolution.
This does not mean that the movie needs to have a happy ending. Far from it, I do not think enough movies have the nerve to end unhappily, or with some level of loss. A movies ending needs to feel like an ending. That the story is done. No cliff hangers. Except for some very certain movies, an open ended ending is still a resolution. The ending of Inception is a great example of how you can have an open-ended ending and still be good.
- General technical excellence. Camera angles are good, and the lighting is pleasing to look at.
Low budget movies get some level of forgiveness for it. But I do not want to get a headache well I am watching a movie.
- The movie does not have any plot holes in it.
This is partially just an extension of the first one. Movies need to be thought through and have internal logic. It does not have to follow real world rules, but it does have to follow its own rules.
- Not predictable, story does not follow a paint by numbers plot.
Spoofs, send ups and tributes do not count, they are meant to be that way. But other stories need to be unique, not just the same old thing. As I said before, I hate being bored.
So that is how I review movies. I thought that anyone who reads my reviews may want to know how I decide what I think the quality of a movie is.
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