Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What NOT to Do When Reviewing Movies

Doesn't a movie review look easy to write? All you need to do is watch a movie, see what makes it tick, see what makes it bad, and then summarize everything. All you need is a trusty computer and you're all set.

Critiquing, however, is far more complicated than simply pointing out a movie's faults and high points. There are actually things that you should avoid doing. Take note of a few of these things below:

* Don't just summarize the story. Many amateur critics make the mistake of taking up all their writing space just talking about the movie's plot, what happened, who went where, and who went off with who. Make a difference by actually analyzing characters, seeing what makes the plot special, and perhaps even seeing how you could have improved on the plot.
* On the other hand, don't just pick the movie apart. Strike a good balance between summarizing the movie and critiquing it. Many amateur critics also make the mistake of diving right into the heart of the criticism by blasting a movie to bits, or praising it down to its very molecules. Remember, you have readers, and as much as they want to hear what you think of the movie, they also want to know what the movie is about.
* Avoid lambasting a movie while providing no reason to do so. Why don't you like the script? Why is the plot thin enough to burn down with one lighted match? Why isn't the acting good enough for your tastes? Provide a reason, other than, “Because I say so,” or even worse, “Just because.” You are a critic, not a petty, armchair analyst.
*Always be balanced in your review. You could be watching the worst movie on the planet, but there might be some good points (if there aren't any, no matter how hard you look, then you will need to say so). On the other hand, you could be watching the next big flick, but there will surely be some low points. Don't neglect either side of the good/bad divide.

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