Sunday, July 5, 2009

Progress, Profits and Predictabilities!

I have had this discussion with a few folks over the years, about the decline in going to the movies versus watching films of DVD. And I guess it is inevitable that now we have movies that go straight to DVD almost immediately and some that are made specifically for home viewing. (And I am not refering to the adult entertainment variety.)

But I recall as teenager, looking forward to a film's release, especially films like Star Wars, or Indiana Jones and actually waiting in line for hours to buy tickets to the very first showing! And many of these I saw more than once in the theaters. I think I saw "The Empire Strikes Back" a half a dozen times.

This had a lot to do the times I was living in and the limited technology. We waited in line because at the time, these films were on the cutting edge of technology and entertainment, as far as movies went. And we saw them many times, not just because they were good. but because we had no way of knowing if we would ever see them again? This was before the days of syndicated cable networks, Home Video,DVD's and now BlueRay.

Sadly, those days are gone, and I can't help but feel we as a society are a little more jaded than we used to be. Now before a film comes out we can download screen savers, trailers, photos, songs, and interviews on our computers and even our cell phones! We rent dvd's and the discs themselves have previews and commercials for other things. World has become way too accessible, and again as I have lamented we are not coming together as much in the real world as we once did.

Now you don't even have to go to a theater to catch the latest film, to keep up with the "in crowd" you can download a quick thumbs up or down from a website, to get the "411" and skip the movie all together. And you don't have to wait long before it is delivered to your door either on cable television or by Netflix in the mail. And further still you can "watch instantly" on your computer through down loadable streaming.

Money is still being made by the promoters, studios, and hopefully the actors and crews. But somehow it seems like the original magic has diminished quite a bit. I remember treating a trip to the theater as a big social event. Now it is something you do to kill time. Although I would imagine that for kids, it is still a prefered escape to get out of the house. But I am disturbed by how many of them are texting away on their cell phones in the theaters, which begs the question why did you go to movies in the first place?

Even in most households I would assume that "movie night" has become less of a thrill. People are so used to "multi-tasking", that television in and of itself is becoming just ambient background noise, while we "twitter away" or search on the web for other things! We have become a wee bit over sensitized. We are flooded now with a steady flow of visual and audio stimuli thanks in part to the great world wide web and the blazing advances in electronics technology!

I even think that Hollywood is getting a little too saturated and running out of things to make films about. I used to complain back in the day, " How many Police Academy movies do we really need?" And now I laugh, because for more than a while , they have been making movies based on some loveable TV shows going as far back as the 50's and 60's. With limited success I might add. They have done Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, Lost in Space and now I shudder because there is a Gilligans Island movie in the works! Oh the humanity!

Might as well make a "Happy Days" film! Wait, they did it was called "American Graffitti"! But seriously they made a few Gilligan films, that failed! Do we really need one more? Most of those classic television programs are great in a nostalgic sort of way. But please leave them alone and get back to work!

And it is not so much that I blame the machine or progress so much. Hollywood has been cranking out "B-movies" for ages. So it is par for the course to have 10 films come out every two weeks. With one being good and the other nine being questionable. It just seems that we are less entertained, and in some cases we are less motivated to watch films. And I would hate to live in a world where movies became either redundant or non-existent.

I also get into a rant about the excessive use of "CGI" and again I have nothing against the industry or the folks that do all the hard work to bring us such great special effects in films, I just don't think it excuses the writers, the directors or even the producers from delivering an entertaining story line or plot.

It is something I touched upon earlier about soundtracks, where music is relied upon too often to spice up the more boring moments of a film. Just because a blockbuster film has something blowing up every five minutes does not make it an exciting movie. We still need to have our minds and imaginations stimulated, not just our senses.

Some where we have traded in waiting in a movie line for a bottom line. But all is not lost, there are still some great movies being made, and there are still people like me who enjoy seeing a blockbuster movie with a packed audience to feel the energy and be part of the experience. And I hope for all future generations that never fades away. There is just nothing like seeing a great film on the big screen.

Although I will confess that having a large High Definition Flat Screen and a bodacious digital surround sound system is a close second at times. And I do love being able to watch my favorite films over and over again at my own leisure. Ah the times they are a changing! Pass the popcorn!

1 comment:

  1. I think gas prices haven't made it any more conducive to theater going either. There are still movies that are a must see on the big screen, don't you agree?