LGR – The Movies – PC Game Review

LGR – The Movies – PC Game Review


[Keyboard typing noises]
It’s summertime.
Or at least it is right here, right now.
When I’m recording this and that means
summer blockbuster movies.
You know, the giant, bombastic, over-budgeted, often overblown things that
are not very good at the end of the day, I mean,
some of them are, and so many of them are not.
You often come away from them thinking,
You know what? I could do it better!
Well, can you? Can you really? Well…
Today, we got a game that lets you put that to the test.
“The Movies,” developed by Lionhead Studios and published by Activision in 2005 for Windows PCs,
with a Mac version following suit a year later.
And yes, it’s from the same Lionhead responsible for the “Fable” and “Black & White” games,
so expect similar levels of snarky British humor.
“Your studio, your stars, your movies.”
Your greed, your failures, your fault. Because this is Hollywood, so don’t expect any handouts.
And yes, this is the Premiere DVD Edition of the game,
which came on a single DVD instead of multiple CDs.
Rather appropriate for a game about movies.
And inside the box, a DVD is exactly what you get,
alongside a bonus CD featuring extra game content and a nicely detailed manual.
It’s a solid reference, but thankfully “The Movies” features interactive tutorials as well,
if the walls of text are too much to absorb during your morning log snap.
And while we’re here, “The Movies” also got an expansion pack in 2006 called “Stunts & Effects,”
which added the ability to hire stuntmen and a slew of other enjoyable features.
I’ll be showing the game with this installed already, since there’s really no reason not to.
“The Movies” starts out with some movies,
which is good, because if it only featured static screens, I’d be skeptical of its qualifications.
The main menu then appears
and wastes no time in letting you know that, yes, this game features a main menu.
Don’t bother trying to go online because the service was shut down in 2008,
which is lame because it lets you do some neat stuff, like sharing movies and earning virtual currency.
Ugh, I can’t help but lament the crapload of games today that will suffer a similar fate soon enough.
Ah, sad state of the gaming industry aside, starting a new game can be accomplished in a few ways.
You can either start a normal game with all the simulation intact as intended,
start a normal game halfway through the campaign,
or start in Sandbox Mode,
which gives you a ton of cash and helpful cheats to let you fool around with movie making.
After this, you’ll be able to choose a logo for your company,
as well as name for both the studio and for yourself.
Be sure to choose something to stand the test of time,
because you’ll be playing from the years 1920 to 2020
and beyond, if you so desire.
In the beginning, you’ve got nothing but blank space,
but hey, in Tinseltown, that nothingness is unfettered opportunity, kid!
So quit slackin’, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and make somethin’ of yourself!
First thing’s first, you’ll need a place to do business
and your studio lot can be filled with a huge number of buildings
that let you do everything from hire actors
to entertain VIPs, to write scripts, to filming and editing motion pictures themselves.
No one ever leaves the studio,
and as far as you’re concerned, there’s nothing outside of these walls.
So make the best of it!
People will start cueing up outside your door, looking for work.
Everyone from potential janitors, to film crew members, to young actors looking for their big break.
Everyone comes with an existing set of skills and attributes,
that will make them more or less suited for any potential jobs.
So, although you can promote a janitor to lead actor right off the bat,
it’s probably gonna end as well as you would expect for hiring a janitor as a lead actor.
Now, once you’ve hired the required screenwriters, it’s time to come up with a script.
This can be done either by selecting a genre,
or by coming up with your own script entirely using the in-game editor.
And, man oh man, is this deceptively involved.
There are hundreds of props, scenes, sound effects, pieces of music, filters and camera angles to choose from
and if that’s not enough for you, then you can dive into Freeform Mode
and even mod the game with more content later on.
This is quite simply brilliant,
and is probably the best in-game movie editor I’ve used,
only overshadowed recently by GTA V’s Director Mode.
For a while, this was one of the easiest ways to make “machinima,”
or films made using in-engine video game assets.
And it’s a lot of fun.
There’s just nothing quite like taking a serious screenplay
and going all avant garde with it.
[random sound effects]
As soon as you’ve got a script, good or bad,
you can start filming on any sets you’ve constructed.
If you want, you can even watch the complete filming process,
or even get into the nitty-gritty of camera placement and background selection along the way.
Stunts are also an enjoyable part of this process, if you’ve got the appropriate expansion installed,
mainly because things can go horribly wrong.
Wonderfully, horribly wrong.
After filming wraps, you can take the film into post-production to fine-tune things
you can amp up the PR campaign to get the hype train rolling,
or you can just toss it out into theaters and see what happens.
Each movie has a chance to make or break your studio, depending on the risks taken and the choices made,
and with most of your success riding on critical reviews,
there’s nothing in the way of creative accounting or tax write-offs to save you here.
The way you manage all of this in “The Movies” is a bit unique.
Definitely a far cry from the ’90s PC games that inspired it, like “Hollywood Mogul”
and “Steven Spielberg’s Director’s Chair.”
Each building cuts away to show a blueprint underneath when you mouse over it.
But instead of clicking on menus or rooms directly,
you click and drag different context-sensitive objects and people into them.
This makes sense eventually, but it often lags and feels clunky,
even after a dozen hours of playing and getting used to it.
It doesn’t prevent me from enjoying the game at all,
but sometimes I’d just rather have a simple menu to perform simple tasks,
like adjusting salaries.
Instead of having to find the right building,
and opening it up and dragging an object onto a blueprint
and then navigating to it, it’s just little convoluted.
Speaking of buildings, you’re by no means limited to the starting ones.
If you begin your career in 1920, there are very few buildings to worry about.
But as the medium evolves and technology marches on,
you’ll find you need more and more to stay competitive.
Silent pictures are fine and dandy until that pesky “Jazz Singer” comes along and shows everyone the future.
Black and white is great until color shows up.
And static backdrops are fine until cameras and audiences progress enough to make the fakeness apparent.
Historical events also affect the industry as a whole,
which I think is fantastic, because it really takes it from being a silly sandbox
to something more believable.
Wars affect action movies.
The Great Depression affects comedies.
The Teenage Revolution affects romances, etc.
It’s all done in a very tongue and cheek way,
with radio DJs and newspapers
rattling off the latest news with a healthy dose of exaggeration and satire.
And there is no shortage of off-hand remarks and lampooning of the Hollywood lifestyle, too,
especially in regards to the stars you employ.
With each film you’ve produced, stars and directors will rise and fall in popularity
depending on how they do.
Not only that, but their self-image will depreciate
depending on everything from salary to the clothes they’re wearing.
So keep them entertained,
give them a makeover, give them their own trailer.
Heck, even build a clinic to provide pro bono plastic surgery, if you need to.
Just don’t bombard them with too much food or alcohol,
since eating disorders and alcoholism are a thing here,
and rehab takes away from valuable filming time.
But those things can also prevent them from throwing tantrums
and going off the deep end with attention seeking antics,
so a steady but cautious flow of vices is a good thing.
Industry award shows are another reason to keep them on the straight and narrow,
since they’ll please the people receiving them.
Providing you unlockable items
and granting your studio more prestige,
which helps attract more talent.
There’s a lot more, too, but you get the idea.
You make movies, you micromanage the crap out of your employees
and see what you can get away with in the cutthroat world of show business.
Man, “The Movies” is still such a good game.
I ended up playing this for far longer than I needed to for this review
simply because it stayed fresh after all these years
due to the open-ended gameplay and creative freedom it allows.
It’s a shame the online portion got shut down
and that no one is currently selling it digitally because
I’d love to recommend this as a purchase on GOG or Steam.
But still, it’s easy enough to find second-hand
and it seems to work just fine on my newer PCs on modern operating systems.
So, if you run across it, I’d say pick it up without hesitation.
Whether you like the business management tycoon game aspect,
or just want to mess around with making movies about evil chickens,
“The Movies” is a ton of fun and remains one of the best of its kind.
And if you enjoyed this video about a game about movies,
then perhaps you would enjoy my other videos about games about other topics.
This is LGR, and I do new videos every week
with new stuff arriving every Monday and Friday
and you can subscribe to be notified when those days happen, if you forget how weeks work.
And you can always Twitter me and Facebook me
and all that kinda social stuff as well for other things throughout the week.
And also Patreon, if you would like to become a patron,
see videos early and get some signed floppy disks and other cool perks.
And, as always, thank you very much for watching.

100 thoughts on “LGR – The Movies – PC Game Review”

  1. microsoft studios should do a Re-Release of this game For the PC Directly like for, windows 10 as well as for steam and gog, if they incorperate it with versions of this game for the xbox console as well, or maybe they can do a reboot of the game for pc and xbox that had More to do, or maybe both
    and i just had the idea that maybe if they did as part of the movies reboot, include features from the hollywood high game, where people write the script, and in the earlier hollywood high, it had text to speech, in a rebooted crossover that mixed the movies and hollywood high, if the hollywood high timeline followed the directions of the movies, then a lot of the atributes for both timelines would work for a perfect crossover, meaning the hollywood high characters could be ported over to become machinima versions on the movies

  2. I have trouble playing this on VirtualBox. It installs just fine but when I go to play it, it can't read the disc. The host CD drive is associated to the virtual disc drive but it just won't read it.

  3. whoa! Why was this review only made in 2015. The Movies "franchise" ended long before then. I remember being in high school when the website shut down and was super bummed.

  4. i know this video is a bit old now, but i was looking around for a fun sim to play and found this somewhere and someone mentioned your review of it on reddit. its so cute that pushinguproses was in there! i was watching the video on low quality and i still recognised her right away! what a likeness! i love your videos clint!

  5. MAN, I remember I used to frequent their website to watch the videos that players uploaded online! I enjoyed it all the way until the day they shut it down for good.

  6. I was a huge follower of the website back in the day. I would watch other peoples movies and submit my own. Didn't know it shut down, though. That's yet another website of my childhood gone to the void. I am sad now.

    Please remake this game whoever own the rights, or some indie genius pls make a spiritual remake ala Cities: Skyline. Include the sleazy aspects of movie making too, like corruption, and more scandals…. Sex scandals. I want to play a game where u can run a studio like either the "throw shit at the wall and see what sticks" Cannon films or like the old and sort of respectful MGM. A lot of potential there, and with a stronger movie editor with better graphics it could be a killer.

  7. I bought this second hand and it wouldn’t open. I tried reinstalling it with different compatibility settings and pretty much any opinion I can find on the matter from the web, but the game just won’t open. Which is weird because the star creator software that comes with it runs just fine. I guess Windows 10 doesn’t like used games.

  8. I see that Legend of the Crystal Skull game laying there… and now I want your opinion on the Nancy Drew games. XD

  9. How you gonna diss all the janitors that made the leap to lead actor like that Clint? Ain't you seen UHF?

  10. How the hell do you get this to run? I have a windows 8.1 64bit system
    I run this in compatibility mode Windows 98/ME and it just doesn't run

  11. I was a hardcore PC gamer from 1992 through 2007, when I swapped out for a mac for work reasons. Thank you for this awesome channel that dives into so many of my old favorites, including ones I'd totally forgotten about. It's a beautiful nostalgia bomb

  12. I still have this game but got a gaming rig that doesn't have a disc drive, so I'll have to get one. 😊 The 4 things that bugged me about this game, one was my actors aging so fast, by the time they got enough experience in making movies they were ready to retire. 😞 Two, there was never enough lot room for all of my set buildings. 😒 Three, no matter how hard i tried The game would not like my movies and some of my actors. 😩 I liked the music that you could use for ur movies though. 😊👍 Four, there weren't enough movie scenes to choose from in ur sets so you have to use the same ones over and over for all of ur movies. 😣 Overall I did enjoy making those little silly attempts at making movies. 😊😆

  13. I used to play this SO much! Edit: nope i used to play 3D movie maker, that was the shit back then.
    So much better than this.
    Aswell as Sim Copter

  14. This game was really awesome!!! For a young simmer and city builder it was so badass. I think i was even into windows movie maker around the time too so looking back it was amazing. I still have it on cd but i never got the expansion and i still regret it to this day. Im sure as an adult now i would know how to end a story without explosions but why live like that??

  15. What do Sicko, Ratatouille, and the first Transformers film have in common?

    They were all released during the same week in July 2007

  16. I don't know why but it becomes more and more laggy by time. my system is fresh enough……wtf?!?! the game is 14 years old and it seems my PC is not good enough???

  17. I remember playing this in ‘06. Fantastic game, loved making my own movies throughout the decades. Wish they made a 2nd game!

  18. Damn I chose the wrong time to watch this. One day ago and it would’ve been summer like he said at the start.

  19. The game pretty much cheats, no matter what you do you can never beat all the competition. This really needs a remake or spiritual successor at least

  20. It's toobad the music is copyrighted. I bought this game second hand and started posting my movies on youtube. Then they got claimed by the company that made the music for the game.

  21. I am pretty sure this is abandonware its on many sites that have dos box games… Not promoting piracy but if its abandoned no one left to claim the copyright.

  22. The biggest issue with this game was how it just flat out cut off the community wanting to mod and create new content. This did not stop people, but to this day I will never understand why the hell they were so opposed to giving the community tools to make new content. On top of this, if you didn't have the expansion, you didn't have the free camera at all, alongside A LOT of really good content that should have been there from day one.

    The "game" itself is alright, but let's be honest here- how many people actually bought this to play the simulation mode, and how many bought it for the custom movie creation mode?

    I will always say that Lionhead's zero-fucks-given attitude towards the community, is what killed a game with what could have been one of the greatest, and easiest creation tools ever made. I still own the game and the expansion, but unfortunately I can not actually install or play the thing due to my laptop lacking a DVD drive…so the fact that I can't even buy this game + expansion anywhere, is a shame- since despite it's limits, making movies in this game is just a ton of fun.

  23. I remember this game was shown on G4TV a whole lot when it came out. A bunch of the hosts loved this game and I really wanted it but never got around to getting it.

  24. Does anyone who still plays this game have an issue with it crashing at the first awards ceremony? And if so, do they have a workaround?

  25. According to its Prima Guide there is only one way to "win", but it's STILL a great game that can be open-ended, experimental, creative and managerial. I highly recommend it.

    Has anything ever been made since it's studio is defunct?

  26. Did you change the games in the background in the intro just to eff with us? I’m drunk and/or high and I can’t tell.

  27. I only played this game almost 10 years after it came out. Sadly I was disappointed because you couldn't make serious films, the editor was severely limited and everything was goofy.

  28. Oh man I remember making serial killer chicken movies in this game and laughing my ass off…man was it a fun game. The online service was great too,so many hilarious movies.

  29. Fun fact: The music for this game has been used in FX's TV show "Archer" during multiple scenes. One instance I remember is during that shrinking vessel inside the scientist's body episode. I had to rewind a few times and listen intently for it, but it's there. I believe the track is called: "All Out Action". Another one I remember from the soundtrack is "A Long Time Ago", a Godfather-esque track that was used for Archer's S03E08 for the one with the Italian President. Funny how that is the legacy of this game now.

  30. Loved this game but surprised to hear no reference to 3d movie maker on windows 95 i think because that was much more customizable than this one especially for when it was released

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