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I think that the 'effect' of a movie varies, can be either good or bad, depending on many factors such as what sort of move is it? What is it about? How is it made/shot? How does it effect/impact its audience and who the audience is? and so on.
Film-making is ultimately both an art and yet, a technology-- and like all technology, it is pimarily neutral, and its how we 'use' it that matters.
If a film is "good" it will have an emotional impact on the viewer. When we watch a good film, we are moved by the film to feel real emotions and to believe that we have had a real experience.
"Bad" movies fail to move us, fail to present real experiences for us, and present instead a series of images and sounds that have little or no emotional impact.
At least that's one way to distinguish between good and bad films.
In recent years I've come to appreciate movies that do not simply repeat the same tired old formulas. I pretty much discount any movie that includes a car chase from the list of movies worth watching. So many movies are based on plots that we've seen over and over again that's it's a challenge to watch anything you haven't already seen--they change the titles and the actors, but everything else stays the same.
Even a bad movie can have something good come of it. It really depends. For example, I was reading a review about a movie geared at children that was considered so bad that it made hardly any sales in its opening weekend. Yet all the buzz about “the worst movie ever” gave the movie a kind of cult following, and it began to generate sales from people mocking it and others who just wanted to see how bad it was.
It depends on how the viewer takes it. Good people always see the positive even in bad things but bad people will always try to search for bad.
A movie that is well made is like any great drama: there is a connection with the human spirit. Often movies make great impressions upon people and are unforgettable to them. Who has not seen Gone With the Wind and been affected in some way? Or, the original Wuthering Heights with Merle Oberon and Sir Laurence Olivier? Other films have inspired people to keep trying or to reach out to someone, etc. The director King Vidor said that the movie lens is "akin to the human consciousness"; that is, it presents the process of realizing truths of reality.
The tremendous influence of film is obvious as it is not uncommon for children to re-enact a movie in their own ways with other children, playing the roles of their favorite character in the film. How many children tried to fly like Peter Pan and Mary Poppins when those films of the same names were popular? Darth Vader and Luke SkyWalker captured the imaginations of the next generation, too.
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