When you want to read a movie review, where do you go? New York Times? Roger and Ebert? Rotten Tomatoes? How about Film Totaal? Even though it isn’t the best-known movie review site on the web, it is definitely one of the best movie review sites in all of the Netherlands. Combining an exquisite user experience, tons of information and a vast movie database, interesting and useful top lists to peruse, very well-written and knowledgeable movie reviews, and an online community of fellow Dutch movie lovers, Film Totaal really is the total package.
In fact, for hundreds of thousands of users, Film Totaal is the go-to resource for movie news, reviews, discussion, and information. Could Film Totaal be the best movie review site for you? Well, the only way to find out for sure is to delve in and see everything that the site has to offer. And, since there is quite a bit that the site does have to offer, it’s probably best that we get right to it. So, without further ado, allow me to introduce you to one of the best movie review sites in the world, Film Totaal!
Film Totaal has an overall aesthetic that I think could be best characterized as “bold.” From the font choices to the layout to the color scheme. There may be no better word for this site. Whether it is the all-caps “Impact” font inspired type of the logo and site menu bar; the white, gray, black, and red theme of the site as a whole; or the neat and meticulously ordered and condensed layout in which content is presented, Film Totaal’s site design is somewhat stern and mechanical, but not at all uninviting. It’s somewhat reminiscent, actually, of old war propaganda posters.
Personally, I like this no-nonsense, economical approach to site design. It is something that you don’t see all too often these days, let alone when it comes to movie review sites. I have found that movie review and ratings site suffer from one of two common pitfalls: 1.) they try too hard to be playful (a la Rotten Tomatoes), which, when poorly executed can take away from the authority or credibility that a movie review site requires; or 2.) they try to jampack way too much content onto every page. Sites that fall into the latter camp are far more common than the former, and it seems as if it can be rather difficult to find a way to neatly organize and present a lot of information in a cohesive and well-paced fashion.
But Film Totaal does just that. As a versatile and vast site that combines a great deal of features, a ton of information, and many different types of content, not for one second do I feel lost or confused as I browse this movie review and rating site. In fact, from the second that I landed on the site’s homepage, figuring out how to browse everything it had to offer was almost like second nature. Now, that is how you know you have an intuitive site on your hands.
The top of the homepage presents 3 horizontal bars. The top one (red) features the site’s logo in the center while also housing a hamburger dropdown menu – this will be your north star while browsing the rest of the site, it contains all of the main sections (and subsections) of the site and can be expanded or collapsed at will. The middle is the official site menu bar, and it is black. Here, you can jump to any section of the site with ease – choose between news, movies on TV, reviews, cinema agenda, releases, trailers, top lists, DVD/Blu Ray, or forum. The 3rd horizontal bar is gray and empty; it serves as a clever way to visually separate the menus from the content of the homepage.
The site proceeds in a very logical fashion from there. Scrolling down, in order, you will encounter 2 news sections … the first clearly labeled movie news, the second, celebrities. There is a 3rd news section, too, which switches up the layout a bit so as to keep the site from becoming too static. This presents a background color change (from white to gray) and features prominently the site’s most popular news story with a few other most-read articles listed beside it.
Keep scrolling down and find that the next section of the homepage introduces a black background. This is where you can peruse featured videos (movie trailers, interviews, etc.). Below that, you’ll find a “movies on TV” portion of the site, followed by a section of reviews and then of top lists, keeping in line with the alternating color pattern of the rest of the site. Film Totaal’s site design is easily in the running for the best movie review site design that I have ever seen. I greatly appreciate how logical, organized, and concise it is. The fact that each section of the homepage is a 1:1 preview into each section in the site menu bar is the kind of thing that makes the OCD side of my personality very happy.
Oh, and did I mention that as you browse the site, you are followed by a giant “plus” button in the bottom right-hand corner? Simply click this to immediately review the movie you are looking at, add it to your watchlist, or rate it. God, I love the way this site is designed … but I’ll stop Stanning now, I promise.
Content and Features
Film Totaal, in addition to being one of the best movie review sites on the web, is many things. It is a multifaceted site – a hybrid site of various elements. On one level, yes, it is a movie review site. Film Totaal has a staff of movie reviewers, from what I can gather, who provide insightful, thoughtful, and fair reviews. These professionals, though, aren’t the ones who decide the official Film Totaal rating of the movie, though. That, my friends, would be you.
Therefore, Film Totaal is not just arguably the best movie review site in the Netherlands, it is also one of the best movie rating sites, too. How interactive you are on this site is totally up to you. If you prefer, Film Totaal can just be a resource for movie reviews and movie news. But if you are in need of a tightknit online community of movie lovers, well, Film Totaal can be that as well. Every film, for instance, can be commented on, and the forum is a great place to discuss your favorite movies with likeminded Dutch people.
My only real complaint with Film Totaal is that it outsources some of its workload to IMDb. Whereas other movie review sites go through the trouble of providing in-depth and informative actor and filmmaker profiles, adding to a rich database of movies and actors, Film Totaal is somewhat lacking in this department. Viewing an actor’s profile, for example, will only reveal a list of the other movies that they are in (at least the ones that are already on Film Totaal). Instead of providing anything more, the site simply links you to that actor’s IMDb page instead. This is an uncharacteristically lazy move from a movie review site that is, otherwise, so fastidious.
Additional features include an extensive and regularly updated news section, interesting and useful top lists, trailers. a movie release schedule, a TV guide of when movies are to air on cable or public television, and even a way to access movie times in theaters all across the Netherlands.
Mobile and Desktop Experience
There is not a Film Totaal mobile app, but that’s okay. The movie review site is very mobile friendly, offering an excellently optimized site, ready for any device. Be prepared to be subjected to a few ads, as is to be expected. Overall, though, the mobile experience of Film Totaal is nearly as good as the desktop one.
Even though Film Totaal has no mobile app and it could stand to improve its actor and filmmaker profile pages a bit, it is still, without a doubt, one of the best movie review sites on the web today. If you value high-quality movie reviews and an active, friendly online community, this is the site for you