Updated: Dec 1, 2022
Movies are a great pastime and a brilliant source of knowledge. They are not just a sequence of scenes; but an intricate, beautiful mix of emotions and audiovisual brilliance. Here are a few tips and things to pay attention to while you are on your next cinematic experience. Note that these are merely personal opinions and may differ from person to person.
Cinema is a time-consuming endeavor; therefore, it is required to know that the movie you are going to watch is not a waste of time. A movie on average spans for 1:30 hours but also can shoot up to 3-4 hours in some cases, so it is required to have some preparation to watch a movie. The first thing you should do is have a look at the reviews and the trailers or any preview content that is there for the particular movie. The best places to get reviews and ratings are IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes which are the universal constants on how good a movie is, but also can be misleading in rare cases.
I have personally avoided watching many movies due to bad reviews but have been coerced by friends to watch and have enjoyed them with certain guilt. Another important thing is having some background information about the movie, not applicable to all movies, but knowing which movies are inspired by true events and movies based on popular fiction like comics and long-running movie series can be helpful. But, make sure you do not spoil yourself trying to look for too much of information. The background information is needed because there are some instances in plots that you may not understand, for instance, if you start to watch ‘Spiderman: No Way Home’ without a prior knowledge of the other ‘Spiderman’ movies, the movie may not make sense and certain special moments in it may not seem special to you. Netflix is cool, but when you watch a good movie in a cinema, it is an otherworldly experience, so I would recommend the latter.
People may think when a movie is presented to you it should be just…Lights! Camera! Action!, but it is much more than that. Cinematography is the art of motion pictures; it is what determines how pleasing the movie is, and gives you the chance to immerse in the movie. The viewpoint of the movie is a simple word for cinematography which is based on countless components such as the angle of the camera, the lighting, transitions from one scene to another, and even the blend of colors in a certain scene, be it a sunset or a cold, rainy evening. A few movie suggestions where you can experience brilliant cinematography is ‘The Batman’ which is still at the cinemas, so try your best to watch it. Another personal favorite when it comes to brilliant cinematography is Wes Anderson’s ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ which uses symmetry in its shots to make it look visually pleasing.
“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”, is an iconic line I got out of a movie that I tend to live on and think about every day. This line was delivered by Harvey Dent in ‘The Dark Knight’ of the 'Batman' trilogy who indeed went on to become the villain, showing the certain irony in the statement. Something I understand now after all these years of watching movies is that, the plot is driven by the dialogue, and not action. Have subtitles on for movies even if it is in English because you may miss important dialogue when clouded by brilliant action sequences or stunning VFX. Dialogue is important as it can bring some light-hearted moments even in the darkest movies and also give lessons to your life to feel inspired. A few movies that I recommend you watch which are driven by dialogue are, ‘The Godfather’, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, ‘Seven’, directed by David Fincher, and finally ‘The Dark Knight’ a Christopher Nolan film.
Music and sound
The final piece in the puzzle, the adhesive that binds all the cinematic components together is the music and sound used in the movie. The emotions of the movie and how the movie flows are very much dependent on the audio of the movie. It gives the kick and also the feeling of the genre it needs. This concept is best experienced in horror and thriller movies in how the suspense is built based on the spine-tingling sounds that captivate your auditory senses. Music is also important to give scenes the overall emotions they require. Movies with music composed by Hans Zimmer and John Williams are the best examples of great sound, such as ‘Interstellar’, ‘Jaws’, and ‘Pirates of The Caribbean’.
How the script is presented to you, the raw emotions are inflicted by the great acting. Actors who you can follow to have a great movie-watching experience are Leonardo Di Caprio, Morgan Freeman, Christian Bale, and Robert De Niro to name a few.
A great movie is adjudged not by the brilliance in this component individually, but by the fusion between these components to create a masterpiece.
So, these are the main factors that make a movie great.