Monday, July 19, 2010

Viewing films in the Flesh

 New technology is bringing cinephiles away from their keyboards and into the theatres

In an age of illegal downloads and online DVD rentals, going out to view films seems rather pointless.
Nowadays experiencing art, especially film, is never further away than a click of a remote control or mouse pad. It may not seem like it, but art is slowly slipping from our hands. The public no longer appreciates the arts because they no longer experience it in the flesh.

Movies are readily available a few months after their initial release in theaters and the appeal of watching a film at home is obvious. Comfy pyjamas, cozy seating and no chair-kickers or crying babies are always a plus.

The reality is that the home environment does not contribute to exploring events directly in the flesh. The surrounding environment has distractions that interrupt the viewing experience. Phones, computers, friends and family cause frequent pauses throughout the movie and prevent the appreciation of the intricate artistic aesthetics of film.

But watching movies on the computer and at home may itself be a dying trend, especially with the use of 3-D effects, the newest craze in cinema. It gives viewers a sensational visual ride not found at home, whether to feel like they are riding a dragon with the Na’vi in Avatar or moving back to escape the grasp of Coraline’s evil button-eyed mother.

According to Variety, the film industry suffered a 5.6 per cent decline in ticket sales in 2005, losing approximately $400 million. But after the recent success of James Cameron’s Avatar, the end of 2009 saw a much better outcome. The Motion Picture Association of America stated that the ticket sales around the world rose 7.6 per cent in 2009. With the recent 3-D craze, film studios and theatres are drawing audiences from their homes and into theatres.

And when 3-D televisions become common in households, studios have found other options to keep cinephiles coming back for more. Two months ago, Variety published an article stating that a Korean company had added another dimension to the film experience. 4-D films in Korea use lasers, moving seats and 30 other physical special effects to amuse the viewers’ sight, sound, touch and smell. 4-D films sounds like the ultimate movie experience.

By attracting viewers back to the theatre, studios have allowed for the greater appreciation of the artistry of film. Downloading grainy bootleg films is destined to go out of style, because who wouldn’t want to see an Avatar sequel in 4-D?

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