Reviewing Movies Is Good Until It’s Not
I am a professional reviewer. I do this as part of my bigger job as a writer. As such, I have seen a lot of movies, watched a lot of theory about movies, learned a lot of stuff about storytelling as an art form. I spent a good half a year reading TV Tropes articles until my brain was sludge.
And I love my job.
Doing this, getting to do this, knowing that I get paid—in a way—to watch movies, is a dream come true. Something I’ve been wanting to do for years and years.
But, in my job, like all jobs, there are aspects that are less appealing.
Like the “Reuse Problem.”
So Many Movies, So Few New Stories
A lot of critics/reviewers I’ve watched claim there is no such thing as a new story idea. And I would agree. There is not. But, there are so many stories that deal with the same ideas, concepts, and use them in the same way, that burnout is going to happen.
Sure, it’s a pretentious statement to make. But, because genre fiction, especially in the science fiction and fantasy world, have so many tropes and clichés, a lot of films can feel like they were cobbled together from spare parts.
The “one good idea tacked onto a proven plot” style of filmmaking is rampant.
And it’s a problem for movie reviewers like me.
And, in the long term, fans like all of you.
Movies Are Made For You–They Exist For You
Movies are art—not just a product for consumption.
Sure, not all films need to be masterpieces, but the fantastic leaves a gap. Demanding more and more quality media to satiate a viewer again. And, when you have a literal job based around looking for stand-outs, most movies become less.
Remembering to have fun, can become a problem.
We got into science fiction and fantasy because it gave us an escape, a sense of belonging. A place that was ours. I did too. But, long enough spent on ripping apart movies, and there’s such a thing as being too clinical. Even if it is my job, there’s no excuse for sucking all the fun out of something that is meant to be fun.
I must give excellent movies their spotlight and due—but no critic, reviewer, or analyst, should ever tell you that what you enjoy is wrong.
That’s not our place. It’s not my place.
Never forget that, no matter how convincing a review might be.
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