Over the festive period I went to watch the latest instalment of the Mission Impossible series, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. I had really enjoyed the first Mission Impossible film, not really liked the second one and didn't bother watching the third. There were 3 big factors in me wanting to see the latest film. The first is the fact that it was the first live-action film directed by Pixar alumni Brad Bird (who directed the likes of Ratatouille and The Incredibles); the second was that the film would be preceded by a 6 mins epilogue for The Dark Knight Rises (nana nana nana nana BATMAN!) and thirdly it was in IMAX.
I had never seen a film in an IMAX theatre before and was tres looking forward to it. As we took our seats a booming voice-over began to tell us that the screen was as big as an eight-storey building and that it was the "ultimate way to experience movies". The lights dimmed and the prologue began.
Now, imagine you are looking at an eight-storey building, on the first floor somebody is waving at you but on the sixth floor somebody is also waving at you, then suddenly someone pops up on the third floor too and then there is a polar bear on the eighth floor doing the macarena! That's what watching a film on IMAX is like. Whilst your are focusing on something your missing another thing.
I was not happy. "The Ultimate way to experience movies"??? Balderdash! It leads me to think, what is the best way to watch a movie?
Now I have watched a film on an IMAX screen and also on an iPod screen (I had The Godfather and The Godfather Part II on my iPod, because I am that cool) so I have experienced film at each ends of the size spectrum. Neither of these are the best because of the size worries. If it is too big it hurts (your eyes) but if it is too small you don't feel the full effect (of the film, obviously).
Watching a film on a normal sized screen in an Odeon/AMC type cinema is a great way to appreciate the actual movie, with its big-but-not-too-big screen and tip-top sound-system, but you always have the risk of the locational and clientele problems that can ruin your experience very quickly. These include scallys, kids, scally kids, scally parents with kids, people who use their phone, people who kick the back of your seat, sticky floors, sticky seats, popcorn-shrapnel and smelly people.
You could watch a film at an outside screen, which is lovely on a warm summer night. The problem is that England rarely has warm summer nights so you may only get to enjoy this type of cinema experience twice in your lifetime. Also, the probable audience-type shifts from scallys to merlot-swigging scensters, so beware.
Watching films on a laptop has the added bonus of mobility, so you can move your film around to fit your comfiest position, but it does raise the threat of an over-heated crotch.
Now we are through the looking glass. Home cinema. It has been developed and trumpeted for years and if you have the latest surround-sound and flat screen you have a cinema-esque experience. Plus no-one will be there that you don't want. Also, you can be pant-less and be accepted for that decision. Sorted, right? Wrong.
My flat-mate laid his hands on a DVD-enabled projector. My word. You get the best elements of home comfort (the none-pant element I discussed earlier) with a wider screen than any television (unless you are one of those numpty rappers/footballers/socialites who appear on Cribs with their ludicrous TV's, but they are dead inside so we win the long game). It is the best.
So there we have it, another important topic covered. What's next?
Politics, eh? What's that all about?