Cinema is currently going through a little bit of a superhero kind of phase, so I will put this in a way that is easy to understand. The Cinema Experience’s worst enemy, its most hated opponent, is this daunting, evil, corrupted thing that you are using right now: THE INTERNET. Cooked up in some lab in the late 1990’s, with the initial intention to ‘help’ people, it has now defeated the cinema experience in many, many, many battles over the years. Using an array of hideous weapons like, spoilers, pesky little things that ruin film’s plot lines before you have even stepped foot into the cinema, can be found littered through the web. Take Star Wars: The Force Awakens, people were so desperately trying to avoid spoilers that they had to just stop using social media as a form of defense (Jack and I both doing so) with #NoStarWarsSpoilers trending during the film’s release. Why is this kind precaution taking place? It shouldn’t be, but it is.
However, a new threat has just taken a turn to the dark side after it was touched by the demonic hands of the internet. Trailers. Trailers for films have been around since the dawn of cinema, but just recently, as the internet has boomed and sites like YouTube and social media can be used as key marketing tools for films, trailers are no longer ways of teasing you for what to expect, getting you excited enough to go see it in the theatre. No, they’re now ways of showing the most iconic shots of the films, giving you the condensed version of the story and letting you know what is going to happen and when. So what’s the point of even going to see it?
Any kind of subversiveness you would have had in the film next year will be completely tarnished, human beings are smart enough to connect the dots, realising subconsciously that a moment from the trailer hasn't come yet. Cinematic experience, ruined. Jaws won’t become a classic. Thank god that wasn’t the case, but unfortunately it is a sad reality many films face today. They’re being ruined before they’re being seen.
Let’s talk about a positive for a second, The Hateful Eight, or more specifically, the 70mm Roadshow Release of The Hateful Eight. What an event. This is the cinema experience at its purest. Well, apart from the fact that the screenplay got leaked online and Quentin Tarantino nearly quit making the film. I got the chance to watch the Hateful Eight twice in this Roadshow release and each time was just marvelous and by far the best cinema experience I’ve ever had; overture, intermission, program book and played in 70mm! How could it get better?
Now, when you’re talking about the cinematic experience, it’s sort of inevitable that Film vs. Digital is going to get brought up at some point. Personally, I like the look of film aesthetically more than digital, but really if I'm being honest, digital can look just as good, if not better in some cases. Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman, The Revenant, Gravity) shoots stunning images on the Arri Alexa, which is a digital camera. Most audience members don’t really care, and they shouldn’t. If the story is great, it shouldn't matter what it was shot on. One thing I can not deny though is the superiority that film projection has over digital, there is a certain euphoria associated with hearing reels of film run through a projector at 24 frames per second, seeing the grain, the colours, the little scratch marks and cigarette burns as the industry calls them (thanks Tyler Durden).
Film and going to the cinema to be transported to another world has been apart of every single culture around the globe for generations. And it should continue to be. This article isn’t going to do anything to change the direction the film industry is going, the decision is ultimately your own. The technological wave is distorting the importance of the cinematic experience, the art form, the pastime, the storytelling event of sitting in a room with completely unknown people and going on a journey with them. Hopefully this article will help you remember the importance or appreciate cinema in a new light. Continue to love film. I sure do. Thanks for reading.