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Mark Kermode | 11:22 UK time, Friday, 18 September 2009

Whether you're watching the latest bazillion dollar epic or a tuppence ha'penny George Romero tribute flick, is it the money that makes a movie money?

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I'm surprised you didn't mention Heaven's Gate which essentially started the public's interest in how much a film cost to make, but as you often say, trust the tale and not the teller. Who cares how much the film cost?

    That being said, I do believe in the principle that a limited budget generally does produce a more interesting result, particularly with horror and also comedy: Monty Python never would've come up with the coconut gag if they could've afforded more horses on the Holy Grail. Part of the charm of Withnail & I is the fact that they had no money to work with. It's not the only reason it's a great film but it's certainly one of them. The more money you throw at a concept, the less interesting it is (see Evan Almighty).

  • Comment number 2.

    You're right again. El Mariachi an alright film considering it was made for seven grand, but the story of the film is over shadowed by the tale of Robert Rodriguez going out to mexico to shoot it for seven grand. Heck he even wrote a book about... which is pretty good... actually better than the film.
    Clerks comes along and you know from the images that its low budget but the writing is good enough for you to accept it as a good film.
    I shudder to think how much Transformers was made for. How many decent film makers could have funded a film with that.

    As long as a film is good who gives a crap what the figures are.

  • Comment number 3.

    Doc,

    Absolutely agree...Titanic is RUBBISH. Complete and utter overrated tripe. It's the film I despise the most. Clearly the ILM boys did a pretty magnificent job with the CGI - presumably where a large chunk of the gargantuan budget went - but that's the only positive thing I have to say about it. I was praying for The Dark Knight to knock it off the box office throne.

    I kind of concur that budgets shouldn't define the quality of a production. However, what about all the countless occasions in motion picture history where lack of funding (or production complications) have led to some genius artistic improvisation, thus resulting in some of the most indelible celluloid moments? One of the most obvious examples that springs to mind comes from the film that I love the most: Jaws. Shark seldom seen? More barrels?

    Surely The Exorcist contains iconic material that was initially spawned by budget constraints?

  • Comment number 4.

    I think there is a certain level of snobbery to it really. The so proudly self proclaimed film buffs might love a little film made in a village in the middle of nowhere for no money at all and call it 'powerful' and 'tender' etc etc, where as it may well be a huge pile of overblown tosh (not to rule out little independent films of course, just an example).
    How much do you think Bad Taste or Eraserhead cost to make i wonder, 2 of my favorite films of all time.
    I think the growing instances of controversy in sport where people are caught cheating in various ways is beginning to also show in how capitalized cinema is becoming. Whereas sport is becoming a profit driven commercial superpower (see F1 and football), cinema is following a similar trend (see Transformers 2)

  • Comment number 5.

    Totally agree Mark. Although on the flipside I think we've all sat in the pub and said "wow, what an amazing film on such a low budget" i.e. Blair Witch Project.
    Small point, you may wish to proof read your captions that precede each blog entry. On the caption above we read, 'Whether your watching the latest bazillion dollar epic...' - the obvious error is the use of 'your'. This should of course be 'you're' as in 'you are' - as a Dr you may want to disassociate yourself with such lapses ;-)
    Regards, Will.

  • Comment number 6.

    Just a quick question for Dr Mark, which may actually be against the very spirit of this particular blog.

    You've mentioned a low budget film you love (The Evil Dead) and one you dislike (31 North 62 East). You've also mentioned a big budget film you hate (Titanic).

    You may already have spotted where this is going - you've missed one from your list.

    Which is your favourite big budget blockbuster? Perhaps you've never said of a film that you enjoyed it for being value for money, but when was the last time you watched a film after hearing it cost a ridiculously astronomical amount and thought nonetheless that it was money well spent?

    Steve W

  • Comment number 7.

    Hello Dr. K,

    you're right again... but!

    This "budget-knowledge" you speak of is only a tiny facet of a much bigger problem, I feel, which is that in this Age of Internet, thanks to the rapid growth of available information, we can already know "too much" of any movie we are interested in. From Tarantino's infinite movie-references to the whole production history of Avatar, the people who are interested in a film or filmmaker can easily look up every little detail - therefore creating an image of the film in their heads long before the thing hits the cinemas. How little does one need to know about a film to really love it? Sometimes, even a simple trailer can give too much away. I know, I know, it's easy to avoid that stuff, but I feel some movies were a bit... easier to enjoy when all this sort of trivia was less commonly available.

    Don't get me wrong, I really dig Wikipedia and all those things, (wouldn't have it any other way) but they can and do lessen some story-experiences, especially of those movies (and Books for that matter) that are plot-driven...

    The best films for me in recent times have been those that took me by surprise - the ones I had heard nothing of, beforehand. And that doesn't happen very often these days. Spoilers are everywhere.

  • Comment number 8.

    It's a bit like when you tell someone how much you like their new shirt and they proceed to tell you what a bargain it was at $5.oo (Canadian Dollars about 3 pounds I think) Are you supposed to like the shirt more because it was cheap?

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi Dr K

    I think what you've highlighted goes without saying, doesn't it? One of my favourite films is Gregory's Girl, which cost less than £200,000 back in 1981. Billy Elliot was hardly a big budget movie yet look at what that film achieved. In my opinion, the only ingredients needed to make a good film are a good script, good actors, a director with vision and good communication skills, and a dedicated film crew.

    The problem today is the demand for CGI from an audience that seems to be saying, "As long as it looks good, then that's okay". I guess it could be argued that Independence Day set this new standard with a film exploiting the latest visual effects but offering nothing else. This of course has been follow by a series of other films catering for a LCD audience: Titanic, Armageddon, Deep Impact, The Day After Tomorrow, Transformers 1 and 2, etc, etc. And the new 2012 film will surely be much of the same.

  • Comment number 10.

    Whilst I agree completely, don't forget a large part of your criticism of Tropic Thunder; that once a comedy (such as it) gets involved with too much money, the ha-ha tends t'drain away.

    I think that this is a valid point, but not a hard and fast rule. Not that you made out it WAS such a rule...I just wanted to undermine you a touch.

    I also want t'let you know how gratifying it was to send an email to the Mayo show today, only to have you review the film in question - Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 3D - expressing EXACTLY the same views.

    Not that your way is always right, I often disagree with you. But there's an odd sense of validation, agreeing so much with someone in a position of power over other peoples' evenings out.

    Well, not power. Don't take that t'heart.

  • Comment number 11.

    I like to use the list of countries by military expenditure page on Wikipedia to compare with film budgets.

    I was listening to an NPR podcast from the US and a lady who'd been to Toronto was full of praise for Up in the Air, Precious and A Serious Man. Seen any of those? They're generating Oscar buzz inevitably and she said that the number of nominees for an award has been increased from 5 to 10 this year, which I hadn't heard, in a year when studios are releasing less films. Interesting, good move I think. Also the Coen Brothers are back working with their usual cinematographer for A Serious Man, who took a break for Burn After Reading which might explain why I didn't like that one. Hopefully the new film will be worth the money.

  • Comment number 12.

    It often seems like, the bigger the budget, the less interest is shown in the basics like script and character. Hollywood has reverted to the early days of cinema and is drawing in punters based purely on spectacle. Narrative film-making is almost dead in Hollywood, which is why, when a great, engaging story comes along, everyone is blown away by it. Which goes some way to explaining the (overblown) success of Slumdog Millionaire.

  • Comment number 13.

    @EstonianFilmFan: I completely sympathise. I think I've explained this in a past comment, but I've been practising avoiding hype to make the movie-going experience fresher and less preconception-addled. It worked with Watchmen, and I hope it'll work with Avatar.

    @Mark: Totally agree. Ultimately, discussions on a movie's budget are just a talking-point amongst critics and general naysayers in the media.

  • Comment number 14.

    It really all started to go wrong for me with Star Wars and the launch of Movie related merchandising. I often feel that the marketing had eclipsed the film making. Call me old fashioned but when I go see a film I want be engrossed in the story. I don't want to know how much it cost or what the star had for breakfast on the day I went to the theatre. There is such a thing as too much information.

  • Comment number 15.

    I saw Colin. People ask me "did it look like it cost £45?"
    I have no response to that.
    It's a good, solid zombie flick and has a better ending fifteen minutes before the proper end.

  • Comment number 16.

    Surely when they start harping on about their budget it's a marketing ploy when they're insecure about the story? We're not sure about how it plays, but look at the figures.

    If they say, 'And we did it for peanuts,' you know they either actually saying, 'It looks cheap, but that's because it was, forgive us that' or 'Look what we did with so little money, come, be amazed.'
    If they say, 'And it cost a gazillion dollars,' they're actually saying, 'Come see it for the circus and the kitchen sink we threw at it, the story is secondary.'

    Story, story, story first... the budget is the film-makers business not mine.

  • Comment number 17.

    Is it any surprise that there is an interest a film's budget when the 'success' of a film is so often measured in financial terms?

    It is the objective measure of box office takings that is used to chart films week after week.

    But then where would we be without the 'box office top ten' starting the show every week?

  • Comment number 18.

    I think you have to review a film on its merit and not on its cost but cost is a major factor in film making, a small micro budget film often means you have to compromise and often be much more inivitive when it comes to the film makeing process. A lot comes down to the crew you have on a film. Layer Cake is a prime example of a well made film make on a small budget (£4 million) and it feels like all the money is seen on the screen and the film feels muc bigger than its budget. Big budget films have been around for a massive amount of time with Gone with the Wind and Cleopatra but with todays big budget films it does feel that the money is being thrown for the wrong reasons, not often to increase the quality of the film, but to allow it to hit its release date so it can make more money even though the quality will probably be compromised.

  • Comment number 19.

    Trouble is: the more they spend on a movie, the more they need to make back, and so the accountancy mentality demands it be ironed out to the blandest, safest, most anodyne level possible, with no individuality or character, so as to appeal to the broadest possible spectrum; and since the audience for cool whizzy CGI monsters and giant exploding robots is sadly far greater than the audience for character, story, narrative and dialogue, that's where the accountancy mentality demands that the movie is targeted. The last times they spent huge amounts of money on quirky character stuff and clever-clever comedy, they ended up with Hudson Hawk which (sadly) no-one went to see.

    Cameron can get away with it because he's big and powerful enough with a fairly solid track record AND at heart is a filmmaker rather than an accountant, a bean counter. Michael Bay isn't. Titanic isn't a bad film - the trouble is that the romantic sludge element of the first hour is there solely to give you some emotional attachment so that you care about something when the iceberg shows up. But it doesn't work (unless you're a teenage girl) so you're left bored rigid with the drippy DiCaprio/Winslet stuff and openly hoping the ship starts sinking soon.

  • Comment number 20.

    I know it sounds a little weird but I remember after seeing Bruce Almighty I asked "How on Earth did that cost $100m" because I had seen it mentioned in an advertisement about it being a $100m movie".

    That said, budget doesn't bother me that much but I do get the impression, particularly with sci-fi movies that a lower budget movie is probably going to be a more cohesive and interesting film that is less bogged down with CGI spectaculars to promote Red Bull and a line of toys. Not always but I would take Sunshine, Cloverfield and District 9 over the big budget but ultimately hollow and dull I am Legend.

  • Comment number 21.

    I remember saying that Star Trek was value for money cause I had read and read that it had cost a staggering amount of money that JJ Abrams had got for it, and that the FX were 'pumped with money'. so when I saw the film it confirmed to me that the money had been spent well as the SFX were indeed the best i had seen in a film, plus the film on a whole was pretty good, compared to the last Star trek effort.
    I guess when you talk about good films made on a budget, you can talk about Helen again, or even Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs which has cost the least of his movies, and is probably still his best.

  • Comment number 22.

    Hi Mark, a bit off topic but I've heard around that you dislike some of the films considered classics such as The Deer Hunter, Once Upon a Time in America, Titanic and Schindler's List. I'm sure we would like to hear your opinions on each of these and why you don't like them

  • Comment number 23.

    We all know about the horrors of a completely shallow headlining blockbuster's budget running madly out of control at the expense of any and all dramatic integrity - Star Wars, Transformers, that hideous Roland Emerich epic (I forget the date), so there's enough people here to voice that disgust. But I'm gonna stick up for when a big production gets it just right.

    Ridley Scott's Gladiator is a case where the big studio system throws everything at the screen but gets it right because everyone on board was trying to write the best film possible. The 3 disc edition has a really good documentary explaining that even though the film was being written by a committee of sorts, that they were genuinely trying to iron out emotional inconsistentcies with the tone of the plot. And in a production fraught with difficulties like Oliver Reed's death, not just the writers but the producers too had to work hard to save the film's last act with the disappearance of a vital character. Here the return n the investment was definitely a positive motivator.

    I should add however, that in support of the less-money-hones-creativity argument, they did in fact run out of cash in Gladiator, and so instead of getting to shoot the flamboyant ending where Russell Crowe leads a rebellion to take back Rome, they opted to make the film more personal by shifting the focus onto Maximus' visions of an afterlife, returning to his family. In short the film is far better for it, and it's proof that the big studio system CAN work, when everyone including the moneymen care about the basics too. The film rightly won Best Picture.

  • Comment number 24.

    Isn't the bottom line that many of these big budget filmmakers have forgotten how to tell stories. It all goes back to the first Star Trek film where a lot of money thrown on CGI was seen as compensation for a weak script.
    Plus, there are just lousy filmmakers about, who have managed to climb to the top of the greasy pole, given too much money, and allowed to overindulge, so they can xxx their own 'look at how big this is' egos - all exterior, no interior. Compare Pirates 2 to The Dark Knight.

  • Comment number 25.

    "The fact is TITANIC is rubbish movie..."
    Technically speaking, that's actually your opinion (though I concur with it to an extent). I don't know if it could be strictly defined as a "Fact." Though your opinions are so good sometimes, it's hard to tell ;)!

  • Comment number 26.

    Don't get me started on Star Wars! Another subject spawned by this debate of cost and value for money is the hype machine that accompanies certain films nowadays that have the studio backing usually - e.g. miramax and Inglourious Basterds, Watchmen, transformers and the 'bay phenomena'! Abrams did the whole hype for Cloverfield very cleverly and the film wasn't great at all! And I felt truely gyped by Snyder's watchmen!

  • Comment number 27.

    Interesting argument but I am going to disagree somewhat with the Dr. You cannot compare huge blockbusters with tons of investment on the same par to low key independents. The reason why we tend to get so disappointed with large budgeted films is because we know, at the back of our minds, it cost "x" so our expectations are relatively high when compared to lets say a National Lottery / BBC funded indie film. Lets be honest here how many people have stacked their DVD shelves with indie films, quirky films or films that cost under £200k. Go to anyone's house and check out their DVD collection and I bet you will not be surprised to find at least more than half the movies cost more than £20m. Why is that - well it is because on average they tend to be better than the ones that cost less than £200k. Budgets do not guarantee quality but most quality films have had decent budgets.

  • Comment number 28.

    I think you're right. The cost SHOULDN'T matter. The problem is that so many film makers have an obsession with putting the money up there on screen. It reminds me of the 17th century concept of 'conspicuous consumption' in the royal court (James I was obsessed with it). Basically the more STUFF you can put on display, especially expensive stuff, the better the king you are.

    In this scenario, I see George Lucas as a geeky James I. He seems to have an uncontrollable desire to 'fill' the screen, with effects, with gribblies, with stupid floppy characters that everyone hates. I don't need a director to 'show me the money' in this revolting way.

    Look at Blade Runner, you never once stop to think 'wow, what must this have cost!' Because the plot and dialogue are so strong that it doesn't matter.

    Conversely, a little independant thing like The Descent. Cost next to nothing, but you wouldn't know it, because your brain doesn't dare lose focus in case it's assaulted by a subterranean monster-type-thing.

    If movies cared less about their bank balances the world would be a better place. But perhaps I state the obvious.

  • Comment number 29.

    On the side of films that have been improved by their small budget another example is Primer. Made for $7,000 and all the better for it because as a result the film has a down to earth, rough, realistic look to it and in particular the time machines, instead of being flashy, do quite literally look like they could be made in you garage which is all essential to making what happens in the film so easy to buy in to and so compelling.

  • Comment number 30.

    I make films and every time somebody asked me what the Budget was I tell them to mind their own business! I don't go around asking people how much their wages are, or the annual turnover of their business. Just watch the film and if you like it - fine, if you don't like it - better luck next time.

  • Comment number 31.

    a good director and production designer should be able to make a cheaply made film look sophisticated and interesting if they want to, like with most things its not how much you've got but what you do with it that matters. You can have the biggest budget in movie history but its rather pointless if all you can do with it is put in more exploding robots (in slow motion, from a billion different angles with a really massive fireball). With some films you really wonder what they managed to spend it all on, really good CGI is now industry standard ect, i wonder if it's come down to getting just the right colour of green for the second tree on the left?

  • Comment number 32.

    Stories about (independant) films that cost barely any money to make, yet make back tons of money or gather a huge fan-base is encouraging for young film-makers because there's always the chance that one of those guys will make a small film that will become a hit.

  • Comment number 33.

    I took my daughter to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and they showed the trailer for Avatar. I can tell it will be a typical James Cameron affair. Lots of clever visuals and short on depth and character. What really offends me is promoting it to kids. The extended lets shoot up the willowly alien looking things riding the lizards sequence in the trailer made me want to cover my kids eyes. Is Avatar meant to be a kids movie it is surely not in the same class as raining meatballs for pete's sake? Many of the millions of dollars spent on a studio film is for marketing I think that is why we cheer on low budget films that gather wide attention they are competing with a well oiled juggernaught.

  • Comment number 34.

    In principle I agree. Surely, though, in a lot of cases there is a feel to a low budget film- an aesthetic which makes up part of your appreciation of the experience? Last House on the Left looks cheap- and it is exactly that which makes up the anguish in it. You know the filmmakers dont have to please a mainstream audience, and so, terrifyingly, they can go to whatever extremes and brutally kill any character. In the same way, Psycho shocked because a star was killed off. Stars mean bigger budget, and bigger budget mean that the audience expected the formula of mainstream-thriller format.

    Budget contributes to how a film looks, and also therefore to the expectations you have while watching it. It is part of the moviegoing experience...

  • Comment number 35.

    A little wisdom from Latt Blithely, co-founder of Asylum production company- who specialise in cash-in straight-to-DVD 'mockbusters' such as Snakes on a Train, Transmorphers and The Da Vinci Treasure:

    "Our War of the Worlds cost half a million: Spielberg's cost 250 million. With both movies you are going to be entertained. Are you going to be 500 times more entertained by the Spielberg version? Probably not."

    Taken from Empire

  • Comment number 36.

    I tend to agree Mark. However, I think that knowing about the production can be an exciting and interesting element to the story of a film. I always feel that a movie should stand on its own and be capable of entertaining me with its running time alone. Its a tricky stance to take on films though as it is very hard to see a movie now that you don't have a vested interest in or a semblance of knowledge about in the first place. The trailers are difficult to get away from, and sometime even the title can give away too much of the concept.

    I'm the type of person who rewatches films almost pretending to myself I haven't seen them before. I tend to use Alien as an example an awful lot, but when I rewatch it I have to pretend like I don't know what the Alien is like or what happens next. But as I said, with a title like that, you're definately signposting the content before its actually in front of you.

    As I work in Games Production, I have a keen interest in the backstory and development process. Knowing about the production and seeing the concept art, production notes and the toils that take place on a movie set only heighten my ability to enjoy a film on repeat viewings, and in actual fact, probably more than I would if I was just rewatching the film alone.

    I think perhaps the money is not the issue. If an audience can appreciate the effort or work that has gone into making a film, it can genuinely add value. Preferrably I'd want to see a film blind to begin with though.

  • Comment number 37.

    bingo, i've hated the bragging by some film makers that their film was made on the cheap. my ticket has no discount at all. i want to see something that wasn't done in a half assed way. been a pet peeve of mine for years now.

  • Comment number 38.

    @aihyah - very good point! i think this also ties in with the so called 3d revolution, i dont have to pay more for a ticket because a 2d film cost umteem million more to make than another one so why do i have to for a 3d film? it's scandalous! Also there have been other advances in film technology over the years i didnt have to pay extra for surround sound, digital projectors ect.

  • Comment number 39.

    Referring to my previous comment on big budget filmmakers I'd like to revise my view.

    I recently watched Ed Wood on DVD and realized to my horror that I had a DVD of one of Ed Wood's films, featured in the movie - The Bride of the Monster. I watched it again. 67 minutes of the most appalling, turgid dross I've ever sat through. Had he had a multimillion dollar budget would he have made a better movie...? I doubt it.

    As for the 1979 Star Trek, I remember now that it was Robert Wise who directed it, the same man who made The Haunting, one of my favorite film of all time. Mind you, I read in his interview that he admitted there were problems in the production with an unfinished script and a rushed release date...perhaps shades of Quantum. But I've never seen the director cut of Star Trek, so...?

  • Comment number 40.

    I can't help but disagree somewhat. While I agree that the cost of a film shouldn't interfere with one's enjoyment of it, it undeniably has the potential to have an impact on what you'll think of it. Of course nobody says 'that was good value for money' with regards to a film's budget but it's something that can easily enter discussions about it.

    It's also something that will affect your preconceptions of a film prior to its release: if you'd been told, before seeing any trailers, that Crank had cost $80 million instead of the $12 million it did cost, you would no doubt have expected a different film, not to mention had a different opinion of it upon its release.

    I'm not saying that a critic should always take the specific budget of a film into account when evaluating it, but it's a basic factor in shaping your conceptualisation of a film and the way you'll approach it in a critical way. This is because it's something the public will also do: we may not know the exact costs of Transformers and Slumdog Millionaire but it's not difficult to categorise the former as super-high-budget and the latter as medium-to-low budget, and again, this will have a rough effect on the way the audience receives the film.

    It's also a little disingenuous to claim that the story of Evil Dead proves that having a very low budget is of no consequence to a film's popularity or status in film history. Clerks, as you of course know, was famously shot for very little money using maxed out credit cards etc. - do people remember this in favour of the quality and impressiveness of the finished film? No, but nor do they ignore it: the film's background is tied into the very experience of watching the film itself. Knowing that we're watching a film that cost so little to make adds flavour and depth to our understanding of the significance of the film (and with hindsight in particular, understanding its success and the ensuing career of Kevin Smith gives us greater context in which to appreciate it).

  • Comment number 41.

    i Don't care much for boasting about vulgar 200 million dollar movies etc. But i do think low budget movies should advertise that they're low budget. For me budget doesn't matter if the film is good or not, but sometimes hearing about the struggle to get a film made due to lack of cash can add an extra dimension to the movie, making it extra special.

    For example

    * With Romero's 'Dawn of The Dead' money was so tight, they had to shoot in the shopping mall over night, and clear away all the fake blood and gore before the shops reopened.

    * 'Aguirre Wrath of God' was so set on saving costs that the cast and crew had to live uncomfortably close together in tents in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in Peru. Causing such a pressure cooker for the infamous Herzog/Kinski rows

    * To get those shots of a deserted London in 28 Days Later, a group of runners had to sweet talk, blag, charm countless of taxi drivers/ hungover revellers etc. to wait a few minutes, and not walk into shot so they could get the vital scenes they needed.

    I LOVE these stories, and they make the films in question extra special for me. I don't see low budget as just meaning, not much cash. Often i read low budget as meaning rich in ideas, authenticity and resourcefullness,

  • Comment number 42.

    Sorry, sorry, sorry if I post on this topic again...a little off topic but why, why, why, why....haven't they released Jacques Tournier's The Night of the Demon on DVD yet in the UK? A truly great horror move. Yet they release such garbage as Killer Shark vs Giant Octopus...something that belongs in illegal download-land, saving the enviroment from having to be polluted by having such rubbish distributed on DVD.

    Being a lover of great horror, surely you could put a word, or a stake, in the right ear...oh wise one.

  • Comment number 43.

    I think I agree on the basic point, that the budget is unimportant, but it's not totally irrelevant, for three reasons (that I can think of).

    some directors will be influenced by the budget (or lack of it) for better or worse, and it will impact on the creative vision of the film. The Monty Python coconut horses has already been mentioned. Alternatively, there are some directors, who, while not wishing to knock their talents, need a large budget to get the fullest effect. I'm thinking of things like Brazil and Alien, where the director creates a whole different world, with a different look and atmosphere, which would presumably cost a fair bit to make.
    I don't know enough in depth to say which auteurs (probably a bit unfair to limit it to directors) have been creative on a tight budget, and which ones have proven themselves capable of great things with a large budget, but terrible without, but surely, if the purpose of a review is to inform the viewer, this is relevant?

    Secondly, the lack of a budget forces the director to concentrate on the small things - the script, the acting, and so on. I watch a fair few blockbusters, but I'm not sure when the last time was when I saw a new big-budget action film with interesting characters and a plot where I actually cared about the outcome. (It may well be the second X-men film.) It makes sense to a certain extent - any time a director gets their hands on big budget CGI and large-scale casts, chances are it'll be one of about half-a-dozen times in their career they have all that to look after, so they may well neglect the basics to concentrate on the 'difficult stuff' so to speak.

    Finally, there may be times on a low-budget film when the director, writer or an actor does some brilliant things, but are hampered by the budget. In that case it's probably fair for the reviewer to mention this, and recoomed that the viewer not necessarily see this film, but watch out for the name in future.

    All of this seems a bit long winded, but maybe sometimes it is relevant to bring the budget into a review?

 

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