Like many folks, I don't go to the movies nearly as much as I used to. Big screen high-definition TVs, DVD players, Blu-ray players, and surround-sound systems, along with the cheap availability of titles on disc and streamed over the net now means that the movies comes to me when I want them, and on my own terms (also, my popcorn is better and cheaper!). However, over the holidays I went to see the Avatar, the James Cameron CGI space-fest. But rather than go see it in standard 2D, I opted for a 3D showing because I wanted something extra. While 3D is interesting (you could say it adds a new dimension to the movie going experience), will 3D make me go to the cinema more?
Answer: No, not unless movie theaters start taking my needs more seriously.
See, for years I like many others put up with being herded into a large, grotty room, crammed into small, uncomfortable seats that put me far too close to others to watch films because I had no choice. That's not the case any more. I now have a choice. Sure, I might have to wait a few months for a movie to released on DVD, Blu-ray or be available for streaming, but as long as I can wait, I'm OK.
I'm really not happy with the theater experience. Ever see those "don't buy pirated DVD" warnings at the beginning of some films. They highlight all that's crappy about pirated DVDs - the rustling of papers, the guy getting up to go to the toilet, people's heads being in the way. Well, that's the movie going experience. In fact, that's better than your average movie theater experience because there you almost always have some annoying kid kicking the back of your seat, and the the floor is on the way to being as bad as a taxi cab floor.
And remember, you're paying a lot for that "pirate movie" experience.
The RealD 3D experience is a interesting one. The glasses don't really work right if you already wear glasses, the experience can give you nausea, and movie makers still employ cheap 3D tricks that made me cringe back in the day of Jaws 3-D. But it's still interesting, worthwhile technology.
Problem is, the technology is being undermined by the movie theaters. The problem comes down to one factor - trying to cram too many people into a room.
Here's just a small list of things that need too change:
- Seats need better spacing all round.
- Seats that are too close to the screen are useless for 3D.
- Same goes for seats at the sides.
- Can we ease off on the 3D trailers a bit? After 25 minutes I was starting to feel 3D-lash.
Problem is that fewer people in a theater means lower takings, so the chances of this happening is small.
Roll on 3D TV.