It’s a strange thing watching a movie. Nothing quite like it in the world in my opinion.
If it’s the cinema, I get a ticket in the middle of the row and the beginning of the back, so one of two rows up the steps but never all the way to the back. I get a hot dog and a drink, something similar to elderflower (we have a very middle-class cinema where I live, even have Gin and Tonic popcorn!). If available, though not in my local but in some, I will get onions on my hot dog, ketchup – then head into the cinema. I won’t deny I have usually eaten the hot dog before the ads start and while the ads are running I take note of any film I see which spikes my curiosity. Eventually, the film begins and I watch it intently.
If I am at home, I sit on my couch with a glass of ice cold water and usually a brand of popular crisps, known for being in a tube and stacking well. I don’t own many DVDs or BluRays so I usually choose a film or program from subscription services such as Netflix or NowTV or from the purchasing app available on my digital top box, BT TV. I live in a fibre optic area so I never need to worry about buffering so I just cosy down in a nest of blanket and pillows that I will have prepared around me and enjoy the film.
So when I actually watch the film or tv program – what am I looking out for?
When reviewing anything, these are the categories I am looking at….
This is how I see the film or tv show as a whole. A mix of all the individual parts that create the whole production. While a production can be lacking in specific parts, if it does well in others the entire project can be saved and still come out well. There have been a few films which have done badly in all critical ways, ending up coming out bloody brilliant! Regardless, the overall category is a true reflection of the piece in my opinion.
Let’s be honest, we have all seen a show or movie which, in a gentle term, is somewhat lacking in quality lacking! To be fair sometimes it can be made good due to terrible acting but for the most part, to keep the believability, interest and keeping the viewers involved and interested in the story, you need at least average acting.
Once in a while, regardless of the acting and ability of the actors, it doesn’t matter because the writers put them between a rock and a hard place – impossible to manoeuvre out of. Most teen coming-of-age movies fall at this point! (Not that all coming-of-age teen movies have oscar winning potential actors, but sometimes you have to honestly
It’s strange when you watch a film or show with a bad structure to the piece because you would think its the easiest thing to keep right. The dialogue is good, the sets are ready and the actors are hired, now just don’t mess it up by trying to pull a ‘Pulp Fiction’ style beginning by showing the end first or by getting to a conclusion without any real explanation. Though there is one thing that annoys me more than anything else…
I have very one specific pet-peeve of mine. The sudden appearance of a plot device that brings everything beautifully to a close without any warning or buildup. The sudden appearance of a plot or person or something that is exactly what’s needed to fix everything! It is in my opinion bad scriptwriting and treats the audience like they are idiots with the IQ only just less than that of a turnip.
The best pieces I have ever seen I have been humming it for weeks after. Disney are the experts at this, so much emotion and power in a note and hugely catchy! So if the music ain’t there, there is a big chance the film ain’t either. Usually, you need a full orchestra, doesn’t need to be the worlds greatest but at least get more than one guy and his guitar.
Props and Sets
We have all seen those movies. Somebody leans against the rock and it moves cause it’s actually polystyrene painted grey or they put something down hard and the wall shakes a little. Also, this includes outfits. Sometimes they are bang on perfect, brilliant outfits and influence real world fashion. Sometimes its green aliens in skimpy outfits asking Captain Kirk thinly veiled scandalous questions, bedroom eyes are something the clothing department never seems short of.
This is something only newer films can really be assessed on. In regards to film and picture projection, special effects and CGI is one of the newest breakthroughs. Avatar by James Cameron is the perfect example of great CGI. If done correctly it can build worlds and places that can barely be created in even the most incredibly imaginative minds. If done badly, it looks like weird and rubbery, as if they might bounce if they were dropped high enough (Think Dwayne Johnstone’s character in the Scorpion King).
Set up for Further Sequel
Gone are the days of original plot ideas and singular pieces, we now enjoy the days of expanded stories and real character development and the understanding that life doesn’t consist of one-off events, that people live on and explore more or that there is always a past to big events. A set up helps keeps the fans interested and their imaginations running (ask anybody who enjoys Game of Thrones, a good set up can get all sorts of ideas running) and acknowledgement of a decent history and back plot can keep the fans looking for clues and information that might give insight to that (ask anybody who enjoys the Magical World of JK Rowling, a good backstory can make the characters they previously loved hated and the characters they previous hated, loved). Build the world for your fans minds to explore and you will never be short of fans and if you doubt that ask George Lucas, 40 years later and Star Wars isn’t going anywhere.
So that’s it, that’s what I look for in the films and shows I love. Any other things you would look at that I haven’t mentioned? Drop me a comment below and I will catch my little thistles later! See you around!