Critical WordPress Theme

Screenshot of the Critical WordPress theme

Last month, I wrote a tutorial on custom taxonomies and how I used them to create a movie database. As an example, I created a custom child theme for that database.

After quite a few emails requesting it (and even a little begging), I decided to make the theme public.

Since I don’t like releasing my personal designs, I decided on a compromise — a starter theme. This theme is just the base layout. Most of the design elements have been left blank so that you can customize it to your heart’s content.

It is meant to be a starting point for your own custom design. Of course, you can use it as is.

What are the features of the Critical theme?

Since it’s a child theme of Hybrid, it makes use of all of its features.

  • It makes substantial use of the Get the Image script to load thumbnails on archive-type pages (including the home page). This is probably the most fun I’ve had with the image script since I started developing it in 2007, and it really highlights how cool the script is.
  • Integrates with the WP Post Ratings plugin to handle the ratings system.
  • Comes with an additional widget area called Utility: Header (on top of all of Hybrid’s preexisting widget areas).
  • It’s pretty much a blank slate, so you can put a personal touch to your site.

Download the theme

Note that you need to be running the latest version of Hybrid and WordPress 2.8+ for this theme to work correctly.


  1. Many

    Another great work, as usually 😀

    Starter theme are definitly a good thing 🙂

  2. The structure of Critical might also work as a book review site template using a full wordpress install. (compared to alternatives like Rob’s Now Reading Plugin as a sub-part of a wp install)

    Thanks Justin!

  3. As always, you’ve outdone yourself once again. Bravo, Justin!!!

  4. Excellent I have been looking for exactly this for a while now , what´s even better, it´s a Hybrid Child Theme which means perfect semantics and clean layout, I will give you a heads up when I have gone online…

    Thanks for your work!

  5. Michiel

    This is super stuff. I have been waiting for this!

  6. Nice Starter Theme. Thanks

  7. donna

    Thanks Justin! Looks like this could be the kick-starter I need to create a child theme that handles both a photo gallery and text-blog. Thank you for making it public, and I like that it’s a starter theme, not a completely designed theme – that makes us do some work and allows for lots of variation in the results.

  8. kuif75



    what is the best way to get the critical theme automated to get movie info and movie posters directly from the IMDB database (

  9. Thank you for this. I stole bits of it to make a ‘video blog’ site where people can just watch videos and rate them! Yay!

    1. Do you have a link to the video blog mentioned.

      1. In reply to David

  10. I’ve been hoping you’d release this. Thanks for all your hard work.
    Dumb question, is there anything about this theme that would NOT allow the use of a lightbox type plugin, like FancyBox, for when someone is on the actual post?

  11. Dumb Question answered. works like a charm.

  12. I think this theme can work for any product site. Would be great for webmasters who want to have a ‘review’ template for wordpress

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