Film reviews and the language of this blog

2009 November 27
tags: ,
by Joonas Mäkinen

The previous (two) blog entries are both put in the ‘suomi’ category as in the Finnish language. This post, on the other hand, is categorised as an English language entry. I will also have texts in Swedish (svenska) in the future, so, yes, this shall be a tri-lingual blog. It will be extremely fascinating to see how people cope with such a thing…

I’ll be posting a couple of film reviews in a while, namely of the motion pictures New Moon and Up. To avoid writing too much meta in the actual reviews, I’d like to point out some things concerning the function of films and film reviews.

A film review should be about the film and not the experience of watching it. Sure, some people may write what happened in the cinema or how they understand the plot of development of characters better because they’ve read the original book of which the film is simply an adaptation. The reader must, though, be able to navigate around this and also notice if the person who wrote the review seems to, for example, like the film for the reason that he or she is a fan of the franschise instead of writing about the actual merits. These kind of quirks are to be expected from gullible human writers such as me, so reader be warned!

A film itself should be an independent work of art unless really meant for something else, and that is, what I believe, expected from at least all big budget mainstream films released on the silver screen by large production companies. I’ll take the Max Payne movie as an example. The plot and the characters are based on a video game by the Finnish game development company Remedy. I loved the game, I was a fanboy (still am), but playing the game prior to watching the film should not be mandatory for enjoying it. The makers of the film have their own goals which do not have to match pleasing the fans. Knowing the ‘real’ Payne, the film aroused so much mockery in many viewers and, I admit, also in mine.

If the viewer can get more out of the world by reading a book, watching a television series or playing a video game beforehand, it is simply a good thing; it should not be required. That is also why it is redundant to tell a person who reviews a film to “read the book first”. The person might enjoy watching it more, but it has nothing to do with what is to be reviewed.