I know Tuesday is normally a review day, but my next review is being bumped to Wednesday, as it belongs to a new category of reviews here at Morgan on Media. It’s a category I’ve been wanting to add for quite a while — I mentioned it briefly as a concept back in my blog’s first anniversary post, and the second anniversary is now only two months away. But it took me a while to finalize how I wanted to approach the concept, and also what to call it (which is not as trivial an issue as one might think.) I also wanted to at least open on a strong note, with a film that would serve well as an example of what the category is about.
But things have finally fallen into place, so tomorrow shall see the debut of Movie Microscope.
So what is Movie Microscope? Well, normally when I review a movie, it’s a film that I haven’t seen before. I talk about what I liked and didn’t like, and my review tends to meander a bit over the various aspects of the film. Maybe once in a while I’ll focus on something in particular for an entire review, but it’s the exception, rather than the rule.
But although I absolutely enjoy watching movies that are new to me, I also enjoy watching movies again, and sometimes I’d like to talk about them. I have some categories that serve as outlets for this already, of course. Devil’s Advocate could be used to defend a movie that is often bashed — or bash a movie that is often defended. Version vs. Version can be used to highlight the differences between a version of a film I’ve seen, and another version that’s new to me, or the book. And, of course, Favorite Films exists explicitly to highlight my personal favorite films and give a large dose of insight on them. But sometimes films don’t quite work for any of those situations. Hence, another category, Movie Microscope.
With Movie Microscope, my intention is to look at a particular aspect of a film and bring it up as a discussion point. It could be anything about the film. Maybe it’s the innovative use of some form animation or special effect. Maybe it’s a point brought up by one of the characters. Maybe it’s how the film fits into its particular franchise. Whatever it is, though, it’s something that I feel is worth examining by itself.
Now, it’s possible you’re asking “Isn’t this just ‘Favorite Films Lite’?” And the answer is yes, in many ways it is. That’s how Movie Microscope actually saw its genesis — I wanted to highlight films that I was rewatching, or that I enjoyed, without having to have it be one of my favorite films. After all, a “favorite” film is one that I love, and which I feel holds up to being one of the best in its field; it is automatically and always a five-star film. But I don’t have to love a film, or think it’s a five-star film, to want to watch it again… and so I shouldn’t have to in order to write about it. Movie Microscope is open to films of all ratings. It will likely be filled primarily with 4-star films, given that I want to rewatch the films, but 3-star films are just as eligible, and under the right circumstances even a 2 or 1-star film could be included. Or, for that matter, a 5-star film. Because of this, unlike Favorite Films, Movie Microscope will include my rating at the bottom just like a normal review.
But the rating isn’t the only difference between Movie Microscope and Favorite Films. When I first thought of the idea, I thought of doing it in an identical format to Favorite Films; in-depth examination of the film’s creation process, legacy, and other trivia. But upon reflection, I decided this wasn’t how I wanted to handle it. I didn’t want Movie Microscope to be an exact clone of Favorite Films. Part of this is the sheer amount of work involved; yes, I’m admitting to being a bit lazy, but the fact of the matter is that the Favorite Films reviews are typically the longest articles I write (even a short one tends to be over 2000 words), and require a few days of preparation at minimum. Given that I’ve recently had to set up an automatic reminder to ensure I get back on track for posting Favorite Films reviews once a month, I didn’t want to put that level of effort into discussing a film unless it really warrants it.
But just because a film doesn’t need to have every aspect of its minutia examined doesn’t mean it’s not worth examining. Where Movie Microscope really differs from Favorite Films is that in a Movie Microscope article, I’ll only be looking at one or two discussion points. Rather than giving a broad overview of what makes the film great or a personal favorite, it’s a look at a particular aspect of that film. It will not, as a rule, involve hours of research, and I doubt it will often hit the heights of long-windedness of Favorite Films (which some of my time-limited readers may appreciate.) Favorite Films is the wide-angle lens. Movie Microscope is just what it says.
What’s more, there’s no hard and fast rule about what film is or isn’t eligible. Favorite Films are always films I love. Movie Microscope selections are just movies I choose to rewatch and talk about. As long as there is something interesting to talk about, it doesn’t matter if the film great or mediocre. In fact, there’s nothing precluding it from being a movie I’ve already discussed here before. There’s always been a small chance of a film I’ve given a regular review here eventually making it into Favorite Films; it hasn’t happened yet, but there are some candidates. It’ll probably happen someday. But Movie Microscope is open to everything. If I’ve reviewed it before, that’s OK. If I’ve given it a Favorite Films review, that’s also OK. Even if I’ve given it a Movie Microscope review before, a film is still eligible. Though I suspect it will take a long while before any film gets a second examination, the only criteria for Movie Microscope is that I think there is something worth talking about that hasn’t been discussed here before.
So how often will Movie Microscope happen? I don’t know. Favorite Films is a once-a-month deal, it’s possible Movie Microscope will settle into being the same. Right now I’m planning on winging it, though. We’ll just see how it goes. But the first entry, as stated above, is going up tomorrow. (It was actually going to be today, with the intro posted the same day, but an optical migraine limited my typing time. I apologize for making you wait.)
So tune in tomorrow, as we take a look at a film that features a group of people boldly going where a lot of people have gone before.