What Even is A Movie?

To answer this question we must consider the 4 elements to measure film by (as decided by me):
  1. Entertainment Value
  2. Story Writing
  3. Cinematography
  4. Chemical X

Entertainment Value

The movie industry has its roots in the captivation of mass audiences. Before televisions were as commonly found in homes as fridges, the general public needed to be lured out of their place of residence into cinemas and their attention retained throughout the duration of the film. The product they were sold was entertainment and they were to be served what they paid for. Democratization of film watching and making resulted in less of a cost for a finished product to be made or consumed, so it is now more acceptable to create movies that'll only appeal to a select niche audience. 

One must note that it is and always has been difficult to preempt how different audiences will react to a film. I will always laugh at the depiction of Jesus as a vampire hunter while others might never care. I could find solace in being sucked into a fatal ghost hunting ordeal from the safety of my couch while the film maker's intention was to scare me. Either way, whether frightened, anxious, mad or hopeful I am being entertained. 

Muddy as a film may be, a boring one is punishable by death. The antithesis of entertainment is not negative emotions, it's boredom. 

Story Writing

Does the plot come across as a group project that was begun with enough time to complete, forgotten about and then scrapped together 8 hours prior to the submission deadline by 9 contributors, on a Redbull buzz, who communicate via grunts and sound effects to conserve time? Does the dialogue make you want to repeat what your ears have just been graced with like a child born in 2014 listening to a 90s RnB classic? Ideally the answers to these questions should be no and yes respectively. But in all honesty the reverse doesn't break a film. If there is an understanding that something is supposed to happen, a quest to make it happen and an aftermath then you have a movie. A start, middle and an end within that runtime.

Writing is where a film is not only conceptualized but then sequentially elevated. If you have bad story writing then what you have is a movie. If you have great story writing then you have a great movie. The greatness of the movie is directly proportional to the greatness of the story. 


Removing a camera from the movie experience is simply not possible. As mentioned in a previous article (Thomas Edison and TikTok: A Theory), the limitations of technology are the limitations of depictions experienced in cinema. A movie is to be experienced by visual and sound. To capitalize on these mediums when making a movie is to recognize what you are making. This is not a play (no offence to plays), this is not a radio drama (much respect to all the radio dramas), this is a movie. Distinctly distinguishable by its use of optics and audio. The more appropriate the use of these mediums the better the film experience, whether intentional or otherwise.

Chemical X

That extra special something. It is either there or not there. I personally am drawn to meticulously crafted 'brain-children'. Knowing that this glorious work was fabricated from end to end, including but not limited to atmosphere, backstory, chain of events etc. by a person making use of their creative liberties. I love seeing intention. I also however, cannot deny the blessing of stones falling where they have and resulting in something that is so great simply by chance. This is the beauty of film, it can comfortably exist on or between either extremes and simply belong. 

Thomas Edison and TikTok: A Theory