Again, pasted form my old site. Here are my theories on movies and what makes a good one.
Here are my rough, off the top of my head (from 2007 or earlier) criteria for a good movie (this is the “grain of salt” you should take my recommendations with):
Technically well done
-No Boom Shadows in the shot. No bad edits. Well photographed. Carefully made.
Ex: “Phantom Menace” totally aced this category for me. It broke ground. It was Beautiful. It seemed technically flawless to me. Nevertheless, it disappointed me on almost Every other criteria and I didn’t like the movie. I Certainly did NOT wait 20 years to find out that Yoda was Obi-Wan’s master only in a remote sense of the term.
-And if there is a bad guy, we establish that he is a bad guy and he gets what is coming to him. I sometimes call this whole criteria “The Batman Principle.” Not because of the films, but because of the premise of Batman’s origin in his first comic book appearance. I confess I have not read a comic in a long time, but I have read about 100 or so of them as a kid.
Ex: I have to say that “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” accomplished this because not only did the Emperor get killed, but he got killed by Darth Vader, his primary victim, and Darth converted back to good. I know there must be another good example, but I can’t think of one. I’ll have to put it on my list of things to do for this page.
-Happy endings are best, but a well-justified ending in non-negotiable. The ending must make some sense because everything you have seen has been orchestrated and if it was not orchestrated to culminate in the ending that you are seeing, then it was either: 1) poorly orchestrated (written, edited), or 2) the ending was just stupid (poorly written mostly, or it could not be properly shot for budgetary reasons, but if you couldn’t do it right, then you shouldn’t have said that you did it right and taken $6 plus 3 hours of my life. And releasing a film and asking me to make such an investment presupposes your claim that the movie will be worthwhile. If the trailer (commercial) was done properly, then you should be able to tell what they have to offer. Misleading trailers are a pet peeve of mine).
-This is intimately tied to the above ending stuff, but if you want me to go watch your stuff after you hooked me with your trailer, then you better have had an accurate trailer and also have done a good job of telling a story.
There will be more later, but for now, this will have to do. I may even change it after I go through my notes, etc.
The Genie can’t go back in the bottle
I just saw The Muppets (2011) and I have to add this one. If you want to break a convention like the 4th wall, having characters talk to the camera, or having the characters address the audience via the camera, then you can’t have them forget that they did that later on. The Muppets had a line something like “This is going to be a short movie.” I don’t think this was an aside. The movie went on as a regular movie and then they made another conscious reference to making a movie again. This jumping back and forth was stupid.
The movie would have been much better had they planned to make a Movie instead of do a show, and then given us a trailer at the end which accurately depicted the movie we just watched. That would have been much better and could have been AWESOME!