Roger Ebert Analysis

An in-depth and constantly growing analysis of Roger Ebert as a film critic that focuses on his review styles, arguments and controversies. Roger Ebert really is a great film critic, and as with all great critics he often finds himself in controversies due to his style as well as the arguments he feels compelled to present.

Roger Ebert’s Review Style

Roger Ebert’s movie review style discussed in detail. Roger Ebert is without doubt one of the most popular, if not ‘the’ most popular film critic in our current era. The interesting thing about his review style is that while he mixes personal ratings with contextual and overall quality ratings.

Rating System

Originally, Ebert rated films by either giving a thumbs up or a thumbs down. However, since moving more to writing he rates movies in a star-based rating system out of four. As far as Ebert’s rating system is concerned any movie that scores equal to or below one and a half stars is a bad movie and anything equal to or above three and a half stars is a good movie. It is worth noting, though, that he contextualizes this based on expectancies of the film. A superhero film may receive four stars and not be that philosophically impressive, but just a great action film.


Roger Ebert definitely does have a bias towards Science Fiction films, which I suspect he would not deny if pressed. Any film that focuses on ideas and more advanced concepts is likely to get a higher score than . The core of this seems to be that Ebert is generous to films that are rich in imagination, even if other parts of the film are not so strong. This accounts for him giving high scores to films such as Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, The Cell and Prometheus. All three of these films received three and a half stars or above.


While he is a good reviewer, Ebert sometimes makes errors of reasoning that are part of an unfair criticism of films. The first example of this comes from his review of the film Pitch Black. In his review he argued that some of the organisms in the film violate Darwinian principles by only being active in the dark when the planet they live on is day for the vast majority of the time. However, there are examples where real organisms operate on similar principles such as the Desert Trilling Frog of Australia which comes out only when it rains in the Australian desert.

Roger Ebert’s Controversies

Video Games

The video game debate is one of the biggest controversies he is involved in, funnily enough.  This controversy basically came about as a result of him arguing that Video Games cannot be art. Naturally, highly emotional reactions followed and his blog was spammed. The bad part about it all was that Ebert actually has an interesting argument. Basically, he believes that art requires an author or authors to have control and as a result deliver some kind of message or point. As such, because the author of games is the player then games are not art in and of themself. An interesting argument.

Related posts: