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The theme of a book or movie is closely related to mood and tone. Saving Private Ryan would be considered to have a strong anti-war theme. The book War of the Worlds has a few themes - the most obvious is the alien invasion theme. But there is also a more subtle theme running through the book - the idea of a technologically superior species or race conquering other, less advanced groups with no thought as to whether this is right or justified. Here the conquest by Europeans of the Americas is directly compared to the conquest by aliens of the human race.


This is perhaps the most entertaining and rewarding part of the review process. As you read the book or watch the movie or play, are you enjoying it or not? Notice that there is a difference between enjoying something and liking it later on. Some people find the harrowing initial scenes of Saving Private Ryan very unpleasant and sickening, but liked the movie immensely because of the message it conveyed and how this was done. Also your initial reactions aren’t always the ones that stay around.

As you’re reading or watching, if something you don’t like comes along, take a mental note of what it is, and if it’s easy to work out, why you didn’t like it. You can analyse this in more detail later on. As you put down the book or walk out of the theatre, think about what you would have done to improve the bits you didn’t like (if there were any bits you didn’t like).

Were there any actors or characters that you really enjoyed or hated? Notable performances are always worth mentioning in a review, whether they were notable for being really good or really bad!

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