Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Will 3d get me back into the cinema?

I’m not a very tolerant person. It doesn’t take much for me to get annoyed, although usually it is out of my control, and only for a short period of time. A few examples:

• French girl sitting behind us at the theatre, trying to translate The History Boys to her boyfriend whenever there wasn’t anyone actually talking at the time on stage.
• Polish girl sitting behind us at the theatre, whispering all the way through the first half of Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the theatre (they’d gone by the second half thank goodness)
• Two guys shouting at each other just in front of us at a concert at the Koko by The Go! Team. (This was a REALLY loud concert, but their piercing conversation cut through it like a car alarm in the next street).
• The girls in the cinema when we saw Let the Right One In, who had read the book and were comparing notes on what might be about to happen.
• A car alarm in the next street.
• The woman attempting to sing along to Belle and Sebastian really badly in Bath.
• The LG mobile phone belonging to a guy in the next team over in my office playing the first 3 notes of the theme to The Goodies exactly every 2 minutes to tell him he has a text message. Just one text message, but it needs to remind him about the fact every 2 minutes until he returns, the battery goes flat, or I remove the battery, as one time I had to open the message and it was something I really shouldn’t have seen (nothing filthy, just something work related I shouldn’t have known about). I had a quiet word, and he’s been a lot better about taking it with him when he goes to meetings now, as he is a nice person, and on discovering that I was sensitive to this particular noise, he agreed to consider my feelings and make my life more pleasant.
• Playing a game against someone who assumes you are as aware of the rules as they are, or even worse, against someone who’s played it so often they tell you to “put that question back and ask the next one – I know the answer to that one”.
• The blackberry belonging to a senior manager in my team, which make a submarine style sonar “ping” every time he receives an email. I’ve twice asked him politely to put it on vibrate, or change the setting so it doesn’t tell him in audible form what he should already know by seeing the email appear on his computer screen. Despite me telling him that this is the equivalent of someone scraping their fingers down a blackboard, he tells me that he doesn’t want to have to change the profile every time he comes into the office, so I am now threatening to raise a formal grievance against him, as he is deliberately causing me stress by his refusal to amend his behaviour. I’ll keep you updated on my progress... (I have nothing to lose here – he’s not my manager, and I’ve already exhausted his decent DVD collection – as the last one he lent me was so unpleasant I had to stop watching after about 10 minutes)
• The slightly translucent/light patch of the screen of one of the screens at the Clapham Picture house.
• And finally (in this list – I could go on all week) the 12 year old kid sitting in front of me in the crowded cinema in Brixton, watching Avatar.

In a sold out cinema, there is no escape, and the only thing worse than sitting behind a kid who was so enthralled by the wondrous visuals provided through his 3d specs that he had to talk to his mother, all the way through the film, would be sitting in front of them. Over two and a half hours this continued, and the worst thing was, that after some polite shushing from me, and some dirty looks from some of the others around us, I actually got mum’s attention and asked “can you not talk please, it’s really annoying” and mum’s attitude was that talking at the cinema was not only quite acceptable behaviour, but that I was a terrible person for not remembering what it was like to be 12 and going to the cinema and being excited about it. So I stabbed them both. (I didn’t – recent comments have made me realise that you aren’t allowed to make jokes of this nature on the internet. Poor Giles Coren.)

Terminator 4, Harry Potter 6, Transformers 2 – all would have looked good and sounded great in the cinema, but I quite happily waited till they came out on DVD, because my recent experience at the cinema has been so poor. In my house no-one kicks the seat, eats smelly/noisy food (whoever decided nachos were an appropriate cinema food should be forced to swim through them) or whispers in a way that they think is so quiet I won’t notice, but actually it means the person they are whispering to has to whisper “pardon” so they have to whisper the whole thing again, very slightly louder. It is probably worth noting that the picture quality, thanks to Blu Ray and the whizzy things modern televisions do to prevent motion strobing, which a cinema screen can’t do, is actually far more satisfactory in my lounge than in any cinema.

If the movie industry insists in keeping film watching a social experience (it isn’t – for the reasons I’ve already discussed) for the first 3 months of a film’s release, then I’ll wait, unless I’m really desperate. Seeing a film in 3d might make me more likely to want to see it at the cinema, although I won’t go out of my way for it on a normal film. Avatar looked good, but using 3d as a reason to get bums on seats makes me think it wouldn’t have managed to do so without the 3d. It’s a good film, don’t get me wrong, but with hindsight I’d have happily waited for the 2d DVD.

TV didn’t kill radio.
Talkies killed silent movies.
Colour mostly killed black and white
3d won’t kill 2d. Computer generated artificial depth and falling ash that you think you could reach out and touch, is no match for great storytelling and artistic cinematography.

The blue chick was pretty cute though.

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