If you’re not watching movies in the cinema, you’re not watching them the way the filmmaker intended. Or at least that’s what Ridley Scott says:
In my view, the only way to see a film remains the way the filmmaker intended: inside a large movie theater with great sound and pristine picture. Music and dialogue that doesn’t fully reproduce the soundtrack of the original loses an essential element for its appreciation. Simply put, the film loses its power.
This is an interesting perspective, and increasingly Western audiences are able to replicate, or at least approach, movie theater quality picture and sound at home. At least, that’s the potential. But how do we really watch our movies?
Most often, I’m watching a movie after work late at night in a small room next to my bedroom. I have a Visio 32 inch TV with built-in speakers, hooked up to an LG streaming blu-ray player. Down in my basement I have a home theater — a 50 inch DLP and 5.1 surround system — but it’s not even connected. Just the TV and an HD-DVD player. Why? Because the LG upstairs is the one that streams Netflix, it’s the one I use the most, so why would I put it way down in the basement when I never watch stuff down there? As a matter of pixels, it’s unlikely that I will even notice a difference on my little TV between DVD and blu-ray, so the LG player’s peak functionality is never harnessed. I’d be just as well off with a Coby DVD player and a Roku box. The harsh reality is that most of my viewing is done in an impromptu manner and in terrible circumstances. The additional pain of schlepping way downstairs simply isn’t worth it (and who will listen for the kids?). I suspect that this is the case for many Americans. Heck, lots of us are watching movies on iPads, for crying out loud.
How do you watch your movies? Do you watch movies under different circumstances than TV? The worst of it is that I agree with Ridley Scott entirely — there is added magic when you watch a movie under theater circumstances. Perhaps this has something to do with taking entertainment seriously; when your content is immediately accessible anywhere, you just don’t respect it as much. But when you take time to prepare yourself for a movie watching experience, you walk into the theater with a set of expectations as well as a level of commitment to the event that you don’t give at home.