Each film reviewed on this site is assigned either one or two ratings. If a single rating is given, it is intended to indicate both the film's artistic and entertainment values. If two ratings are given, the first indicates the film's artistic value and the second its entertainment value.

This distinction is made as many films are entertaining despite having limited aesthetic worth. A film need not be a work of art to be enjoyable, a fact frequently overlooked by those who regard film as an artistic medium. Two ratings have, consequently, been assigned to any film whose entertainment value exceeds its artistic merit. The various Ray Harryhausen Sinbad movies, for example, are juvenile and have almost no artistic worth. They are, nevertheless, wonderfully entertaining. I would not be doing justice to such films if I failed to acknowledge their enjoyableness, nor would it be honest of me to claim for them an aesthetic quality they lack. In such cases, it is, therefore, necessary to assign separate ratings to the relevant film's artistic and entertainment values.

In no case, however, will a film be assigned a higher artistic than entertainment rating. The viewer who is entertained by a film savors the experience of watching it, and to whatever degree a film fails to engage the viewer, to that degree, the viewer will not savor its beauty. The artistic value of a film being limited by its capacity to engage the viewer, its aesthetic merit cannot be greater than its entertainment value.

Artistic and entertainment values have been indicated with a scale of one to five stars. The values of these ratings are:

* : Terrible; no redeeming qualities / completely boring
* ½ : Very bad
* * : Bad / watchable
* * ½ : Below average
* * * : Mediocre / enjoyable
* * * ½ : Above average
* * * * : Good / very enjoyable
* * * * ½ : Very good, but not quite a masterpiece
* * * * * : A masterpiece / enthralling

Ratings are generally averages. A brilliantly acted but poorly directed film may, therefore, be given the same rating, three stars, for example, as would a film that is mediocre in both regards. Specific criticisms will be given in the reviews and will hopefully clarify the reasons a film has been assigned a particular rating or ratings.

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Aesthetic Principles

© 2004 movierapture@hotmail.com Keith Allen. All rights reserved.
Revised 2005