Books : reviews

Eric (2) Williams.
How to View and Appreciate Great Movies.
Great Courses. 2018

rating : 3.5 : worth reading
review : 12 June 2020

A renowned professional filmmaker introduces the creative and analytical tools you need to enhance your enjoyment and viewing experience for any film.

This is the course guidebook that accompanies the 24 lecture “Great Course” of the same name. It is essentially an abbreviated transcript of each lecture, a few pictures, and some related reading (I watched the lectures, which is what I am reviewing here, and am using the book simply as an aide-memoire.)

The course gives an inside view of many of the features of film and film-making – covering techniques of sound and music, editing, set design, special effects, and concepts of genre, themes, and character. By using these insights, we should be able to better appreciate the movies we watch. Or maybe appreciate why some are so bad?

One peculiarity of the lectures (and pictures in the book) is the use of clunky video-game like recreations of the movie scenes being described, rather than still or clips. I assume this is for copyright purposes, but it does severely detract from the message being delivered. However, the delivery is a lot more fluid, and I daresay theatrical, than many of the lecturers on these courses manage. I learned a lot about movie making.