Saturday, October 2, 2010

On Long Movies and Home Video

NOTE: Some of you may have noticed that, when I tell stories about other people on here, I'm very vague on details as to who the people are. The reason I do that is because my job is to relate stories, not embarrass people I know or have known. This blog is public, and I don't think anyone wants his or her name and a story from his/her life put online for all the world to see, so I respect them and (I'm guessing) their wishes, whether they are/were a friend, an enemy, or otherwise. I realize I didn't always do that in my Facebook notes, but I really should have. Still with me? Then, here we go.
I've referred to this story more than once on this blog, but here it is anyway: Back on Christmas Day 2001, two people--not saying who, only because this blog is public--went to see The Fellowship of the Ring with me in theaters. I was expecting it to be good, but, to this day, I consider it the worst experience I've had in a theater. It wasn't the people that I went with; one of them even said he/she didn't care for the movie, either. There were some other factors, though. We arrived so early at the cinema--I'm guessing it was to beat the crowds--that we had to sit on a bench in the hallway and wait for the workers to finish cleaning the theater's floor. After we got into the theater and sat down, the screen was showing nothing but slightly flickering white. It wasn't the flickering that bothered me; it was just boring to look at, although one of the people I went with joked, "This is the short film before the movie; it's called Polar Bear in a Snow Storm!" We were subjected to the normal advertising and trailers, and, as I've said, the actual movie was longer than most if not all I'd seen before, whether in theaters or on video.
Other people had their criticisms of Fellowship, like how it wasn't true to the book or how it didn't have an end, neither of which bothered me. In fact, after getting other long movies on DVD, I've realized that maybe I would have enjoyed it if I hadn't watched in a theater.
Let me explain what I mean: Many successful movies are better on the big screen than on the small screen. I can still remember loving The Incredibles in the theater and hating the same movie on DVD. The problem I usually have is that, no matter how enjoyable a movie is, I can't sit still long enough to watch one that's at least 2 1/2 hours--sometimes even shorter than that--in one sitting. With a DVD (or even a VHS tape, for that matter) it's possible to stop in the middle of it and resume watching it later. Theaters don't and never have had that option, though.
This whole "watch a movie in parts" thing is not just some hypothetical situation. I've done it more than once, and I started doing it before even starting this blog. Some films I've done just that with--I won't list every single one--include: Harry Potter 2-5, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, multiple Star Trek flicks, Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight. Those sound like movies I would like, right? Well, I did like them! In fact, I own every single one on that list, and all of them except for Batman Begins were bought after I'd already seen them.
Now, as I said, there are times when seeing a movie in a theater makes it better. I still lament about not seeing Spider-Man 2, my favorite film of all time, in theaters. I imagine it probably would have been great. There are some films that are made for--by that, I mean, only good on--the big screen. Conversely, I love Daddy Day Care, but I don't feel like I missed out by not seeing it at the cinema. Why? It's not that it's not a good film; it's actually quite cute and funny. It's only because it's a family comedy, not a special effects-laden blockbuster.
Of course, that's just my opinion. If you like watching long movies in the theater, then, go for it! There's nothing wrong with doing it that way; it's just not the way I prefer to do it. You understand, right?

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