In the age of Blu-Ray, instant I-tunes downloads and in-home theatre systems, it is common for people to question the future for cinemas. Are they are a sunset industry? Will people choose to stay at home and watch the latest releases on their 3D TVs in future? Well, I definitely won’t be, and this is why.
There is nothing like the big screen experience. Even the smell (popcorn, sugary soft drinks and best not to question what else…) evokes strong feelings in me. I love nothing more than settling into a comfy seat in an excellent cinema (state of the art sound and projectors are a must), and enjoying the latest offering from Hollywood or beyond with likeminded punters. The lights go down, the cell phone goes off (yes people, turning cell phones off in a cinema is a MUST not an option), and I disappear into another world for two hours. Bliss.
At home, there is always the possibility of interruption or distraction. So easy for your eye to catch something in the corner reminding you ‘oh, I really must remember to do the washing later’ – or some such minor trivia. Or the phone could ring. Or the cat could vomit on the rug. Anything could interrupt you. At the movies – not so much. Sure, there are risks of people around you doing stupid things – or committing the cardinal movie sin of talking during a movie (yes, Dad, I am talking about you!) – but for the most part the audience who have shelled out significant moolah for the privilege will be as focused as you are on the main event.
Having an audience enjoying the same thing at the same time also adds to the enjoyment. I still remember the entire audience at the Wellington Reading cinema cracking up laughing during one of the new (and not so cool) Star Wars films when the wee Maori kid described Anakin to Temuera Morrison as ‘hey bro, some guy at the door wants to see ya’. Or equally the whole theatre tearing up as Keisha Castle-Hughes read her school speech about her grandfather during Whale Rider (yes, I saw you all wiping away tears as you walked out – don’t try and pretend you didn’t). The collective experience can be a delight.
These days we have a range of cinema experiences to choose from. There are some lovely new boutique cinemas around (Matakana Cinemas and their amazing chandeliers are ace if you are up that way, and the new Monterey Cinemas in Howick are equally awesome), as well as some great old school cinemas brought into the new age (the Capitol in Dominion Road being a personal fave of mine). Plus you have the many multiplexes that range in quality (seriously though, the best one so far is the new Hoyts at The Base in Hamilton – yes, something worth going to Hamilton for!). There is also the flashypants Gold Class or La Premiere options at Event and Hoyts. Worth it for something a bit special – or when you know the movie will be crap so want to make it better by eating cake during it (ahem….Twilight).
Finally, there is that big screen buzz. That feeling you (well, I assume it is not just me…but I have been known to be a bit odd when it comes to films) get of emerging into another world when you come out of a really good film. It makes you look at everything differently, and heightens your senses. Well, it could be that, or getting high from the popcorn smell. Who knows really…but it is worth the ticket price in this punter’s view.