Once again, Peter Molyneux oversees another magnificently original gaming idea. Unfortunately, much like the original Black and White, the finished article fails to live up to the enormous potential.
The Movies is a simulation game set in Hollywood which (for the majority of the time) plays like a mix between The Sims and a classical tycoon game (such as theme park). Your duty is to control all the factors involved in movie making; hiring and caring for actors and directors (as well as other peripheral staff such as scriptwriters and janitors), building and maintaining sets, and generally making sure everything runs smoothly. Although this part of the game is reasonably entertaining (if you're into tycoon-like games), it quickly become repetitive and eventually painfully tedious. This is an enormous shame because it overshadows the most exciting and innovative feature of the game: the ability to write and direct your own script.
Using the Custom Script Office, gamers can choose from a large variety of scenes to build up a unique film of their choice. This is undoubtedly the most exciting part of The Movies game and it is definitely fun making the first few films. Unfortunately it is not quite the finished article is could (or should?) have been. For example, it can be quite a difficult task finding any two scenes that even fit coherently together, let alone the ones you wanted for your story. The add on pack Stunts and Effects improves on the situation by allowing freeform control of the camera, but there are still placement issues for the actors (in one scene you might want your actor to walk up to a ringing phone and pick it up, but then you find that all other available telephone scenes show the actor sitting down). Overall, The Movies is a truly brilliant idea, and can be real fun, but is also tedious and frustrating in equal portions.