My guess is that anyone reading this just flat-out loves movies. That said, I want to bring up an issue I’ve been kicking around the old noggin…and it just so happens to be about our little vice. To start this off, I’d like to bring up a situation that most of you have probably experienced and can relate to.
Oh boy! Now that’s a theater!!
We’ve all had this happen to us right? We see a trailer for an upcoming film and wait patiently for it. Then opening night (or when ever you get around to see it) we pay good money for (what we believe will be) a good movie. It’s fair to say that the theater itself (mostly the size of the screen…see above) can be very hypnotizing. Once the movie is over, we’re so elated with the whole experience that we rave about the film, write our reviews and probably quote lines from it for the next few days after. Then it happens. We want to see it again but decide to wait for its release on Blu-ray or DVD. Until that time comes we build up the movie, forgive some of the short-comings in light of the overall feeling we had leaving the theaters. Then months later this “great movie” is available for home viewing.
Now fast forward to any given “New Release Tuesday” where we take our hard-earned money and (should you feel the movie was worth it in the first place) plunk down 20+ bucks for your own personal copy of the movie. Boy, it’s like Christmas, only it happens more frequently (WIN)…and sometimes there’s a coupon for a few dollars off. “I can’t lose” you say to yourself at the register (or before clicking “Checkout” from some online retailer). Whatever length of time that occurs from the time of purchase to the inaugural play on your media device, you’re awaiting that private viewing in the comfort of your own domicile. Then it happens, the film you are watching is not the film you remember and you feel like some of the “magic” is lost and that bit which, to you, made the film extraordinary is nowhere to be found. Pity really.
One thing I will have to point out is the undeniable fact that some experiences just can’t be replicated. For instance, if you go back and watch The Sixth Sense again, you probably can’t forget that Bruce Willis is in fact, dead. No matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to watch it like you did for the first time. Second thing, the more obvious one I’d wager, is that very few people can replicate an 85 foot screen in their home. So to watch something like Avatar at home is almost a diluted experience that will pale in every way possible when it is released for home viewing.
Regardless of the setting in which you first saw the film (e.g. dark theater with no people talking or texting during the feature) I can’t tell you how many films I just loved in the theater and was shocked how unimpressed I was with them at home. Certain elements greatly impact the second viewing and do so to contribute to a less than favorable second viewing. Unfortunately, for about 70% of my experiences, the home viewing left me disappointed. The factors (be it the plot, the pacing, or anything the list of successful steps to cinematic greatness) are irrelevant but it simply goes back to me holding that anything I see on the Big Screen as the be-all, end-all way to experience the film. Maybe that’s just the personal stigma I have to break myself of, but I still think there’s always going to be something lost in the transition between the big screen and small screen.
Very much not a theater…
My list of films that have disappointed after home viewing range from films that actually are really are disappointing, all the way to current Oscar nominees. It’s almost like no matter what critical (or personal) acclaim begets the film in question, watching it at home leaves me luke-warm. What gets me is that films like Inglurious Basterds had me thinking it was one of the finest movies I’d ever seen while exiting the theater, only to discover it wasn’t quite as thrilling as I remembered it (but I still really love it). So far the only remedy I have found for this is to simply wait out the theatrical release and buying or renting the movie when it is released to own…but where’s the fun in that??
16 Blocks, District 9, Daddy Day Care are some films I really enjoyed in the theater but later found to be a let down when viewing them at home. So with that said, I ask you all…What films did you find simply don’t live up the theater? How many films can you recall that don’t fare well seeing it a second time? Am I the only one thinking this way??