An above average tycoon game, but nothing truly spectacular.
The Movies is essentially two products in one. The first product is the tycoon portion of the game where you are the head of a movie studio, and your goal is to become the best of the best by managing your directors, actors, and hiring new crew, janitors, extras, script writers, etc. You also have to manage your studio of course, by placing new sets and other features on your studio lot. Dealing with your actors and directors is a lot like playing The Sims, as they have needs that they expect to be met. Unfortunately they tend to let their personal needs get in the way when you're shooting films, and you often have to drop them at the local bar, or restaurant to lower their stress. This can really drag a movie's shooting on as the actors\directors whine between scenes and just leave the set if they're not getting their way, you can force them to complete a scene but it doesn't come out as well and this brings your score down. I wouldn't have a problem with this micromanaging if there was any logic behind it, but I suppose it wouldn't be very challenging if the actors pretended to be in a good mood for the entire shooting of a film. I found this part of the game to be fairly tedious, however.
The second product of The Movies is the hyped movie making tool. The movie making tool is good enough to pass off as satisfactory, but it's extremely limited. You have to choose from a selection of pre-designed scenes for every set, and you have to place actors, extras, etc, on pre-placed mannequins who are performing specific actions. You also can't decide where the camera is placed, which is a lot bigger of a problem than some might think for this hampers creativity. Personally, I found the movie making tool to be too limited to be fun to tinker with, but I've seen many enjoy it, so...
The graphics are as good as they need to be. The tycoon portion of the game is a typical isometric perspective allowing you to survey the studio lot. The movie maker and movie player are of course more "down to earth" allowing you to effectively design your dream film (*cough*), and view it.
The audio is satisfactory. The voices can be irritating since in-movie voices are pre-recorded gibberish and the actors repeat the same line over and over. Fortunately the other bits of voice acting are in English, and are superb. I found the radio personalities that occasionally pop up over the course of the game (depending on the era) to be fairly entertaining, and well acted. The music is so-so, some of it is good, some of it is bad, but none of it is truly spectacular, or truly awful.
I liked The Movies. It's an addictive tycoon game, despite the simplified movie maker product that was bundled with the game. Could it have been better? Yes, a more powerful movie maker could have been possible, or at least a larger variety of scenes to choose from. Fortunately the game comes with a large variety of sets, costumes, etc. making the game offer enough variety. This title is a great addition to any tycoon game fan's collection but Movie designers be warned: You have to earn the Custom Script Writing Office in the full game before you can design your own films in that portion, or the sandbox mode.