I’ve been wanting to write something about the theater viewing experience for a while now as I’ve seen more and more negative videos and posts about it. I wanna give my thoughts and personal feelings about why I believe the theater is and always will be the best possible way to view a film. So let me take you back.
In my biography, I say that the first film I saw in theaters was Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Say what you will about the quality of that film, I personally love it and that is in large part due to the experience. Imagine yourself as me in 1999. I was born in 1996 so I was almost 3 years old when this film came out and I still remember what it felt like to have my mom take me to the AMC near my house and introduce me to this new world of a big screen, big speakers and a dark cinema that allowed me to immerse myself into this world and from then on I haven’t looked back. I absolutely love going to the theater, sitting down, relaxing and stuffing my face with candy and just for 2 hours, have no other worries in the world.
Some of my most memorable times in life have been seeing certain movies in theaters. I remember seeing The Dark Knight Rises opening day and just being blown away. I saw the original Guardians of the Galaxy on the Thursday night prescreening and it feels great to know that I was able to see it before anyone else. Quite possibly my favorite theater experience was seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens in IMAX opening night and just the atmosphere and the awe of this brand new adventure in this universe. You’re never gonna get that same feeling sitting at home watching the movie on Netflix or Blu-Ray.
Now, I wanna say, I’m certainly not bashing Netflix or Blu-Ray or any other form of home media. I personally love these. I have a really extravagant Blu-Ray collection and have Netflix, Hulu, have had Amazon and love these different services. Netflix has plenty of original films that I love the idea of being able to watch them there whenever I deem fit. That being said, there’s something that truly bothers me about the internet generation of filmgoers and that’s illegal streaming.
Ever since the internet became prominent in our lives, movies have been uploaded and downloaded like candy. More often then not, people will just torrent this films or stream them off a website and basically steal these movies. This has always bothered me. Let me use an example. Imagine you are in high school or college and you’re the person in class who put the work in and studied or did the project and someone got ahold of these notes of yours or project and put them up for anyone to take instead of putting the work in, in this case the money you’d pay at the theater. How would that make you feel if you were doing all these work and then people were just taking the cheap way out. I’d be pretty pissed off. Filmmakers are creating these adventures and works of art not just to have some guy get ahold of the film file and upload it to some streaming website. They do it so that the filmgoers can experience it in the way they intend it to be seen, a movie theater! Movie prices have gotten out of hand a little but you’re also paying for an exclusive viewing of the film in an experience like no other. Maybe it’s the aspiring filmmaker in me. If I’m putting in hard work and time to give people something they can enjoy and become immersed in. So, I’ll be damned if somebody is gonna put that movie out there and have people see it for free and illegally. Filmmakers don’t do this as a service but this is their jobs. You don’t go to a restaurant and steal food. The same thing should be said about Film.
The other thing I’m always hearing is that “TVs are getting progressively better so why don’t I just stay home and watch it on my home theater?” I have a home theater system and a really nice Samsung TV that makes my Blu-Ray’s pop. I love that I can enjoy movies like this at the comfort of my home but home theaters are never going to rival the theater. Unless you can pour thousands of dollars into mastering your sound and picture, you’re always going to be getting lesser of an experience then just paying the 12 dollars. You can’t control the environment at home unless you live deep in the middle of nowhere and at least more likely than not in a dark theater, you’ll have a more enjoyable experience and immersive experience.
Movie theaters aren’t going anywhere. They’re the premiere way to watch films and always will be. Of course, home entertainment will keep getting better and I hope it does. I love watching movies at home but I’ll never ever grow tired of getting to the theater, finding the best seat in the house and stuffing my face with candy as the 25 minutes of previews come on and I settle in for the ride that’s about to begin. I love the movie theater and always will and will never take it for granted.