Topic: Is Filmmaking completely subjective?

Here is a question I have been asking myself since I saw a nostalgia critic video titled "when are critics wrong", where he explains that movies are subjective and the critic simply offers another point of view, however I'm pretty sure there are some objective technical aspects to it, otherwise, why do we try to improve our visual storytelling skills?
I feel like I don't know alot about the subject and would like to hear what some of you think about this.

Re: Is Filmmaking completely subjective?

I had an art professor in college who used to say "there is no such thing as bad art, some of it just looks like crap."
Personally, I think the intent of a work of art is subjective, but technique is not.

Have you ever experienced a work of art (painting, song, movie, etc.) that you could respect, but not enjoy?
How about one that was extremely well executed, but delivered a message that you disagree with?
Or the opposite?
Which is worse?
What if a work of art relies solely on it's intent, and no technique whatsoever?
What if a work of art consists of offensive (to you) intent, and is of poor technique on top of it?
Which offends you more, the intent or the poor technique?

Technique can be quantified using "principles" of art, some universal across mediums, others specific to a particular medium.
In film, for example, we can look at many aspects which must be referred to many different media. What are the aesthetic principles of two dimensional copmosition? Photography? Acting? Music? Story? Montage? etc.

Most reviewers focus on story and acting, because most casual viewers focus on these things. To the non-analytical viewer, all those other aspects wash over the subconscious, and do their part unnoticed.

As far as acting, what we currently consider good acting is also the style of our time. Look back to the German expressionist films, and they are bizarre and strange by today's standards, as is the snappy dialogue of 1940s screwball comedies. But are they bad acting? What about the Star Wars prequel trilogy?

Re: Is Filmmaking completely subjective?

It's a question I have been asking myself for quite some time. The key to making a great, critically pleasing film, is one that has all the right ingredients, such as good script writing, good acting and a protagonist that is developed enough for you to care about them. Critics are not likely to like a film  that fails to perfect this formula effectively, whilst a casual audience member might be more willing to look over a lot of these, if not notice its flaws at all.

I think generally speaking, great movies are objectively great, but whether that movie is liked is up to the eye of the beholder. There are definitely movies that are objectively bad, that are not meant for critics, but just like it is the other way around, that does not mean that the film is not at least enjoyable.

For example, Armageddon is a really really dumb movie. How is it harder to train astronauts to learn how to drill, than it is to train drillers to be astronauts? It's an objectively bad movie, but one that I am willing to overlook for being downright entertaining. There's clearly passion put into the project, and is so much more honest about what it is than Michael Bay's later filmography, and it doesn't pretend to be for critics.

And then there are, I am going to admit, some pretty boring, by the numbers movies that just so happen to have good character development, good writing and good acting, that will get all the Oscar buzz. That's an objectively good movie, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't rather watch a dumb little escapism, if I feel like it.

Sometimes, however it isn't always as black and white, and critics do sometimes derail movies that a lot of people enjoy, and that might actually be a pretty well made movie. Sometimes, you have to remember that these critics will watch hundreds of movies a year, and when they see the same clichés for the umpteenth time, they're going to get sick of it, even if a casual moviegoer probably won't notice it, and will probably just enjoy it anyway.

So, in summary, I'd say that film is generally pretty objective, when it comes to its quality, but if it is enjoyable, and worth watching is very subjective!

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