Sullivan’s ever-quaint strand of conservatism sees no reason to fear changes in our movie-watching habits:
I’ve effectively stopped “going to” the movies, because TVs are as good, if not as giant, and because I don’t like crowds, can stop the movie at home to take a pee or grab some munchies, and rewind parts I didn’t quite catch.
And I think all the publicity and promotion for movies would be more productive if reviews came out and potential viewers could all watch it the same night. Movie theaters would go the way of books in a Tablet world. They’d be for purists, nostalgics and those who need the big movie event experience. But increasingly, with HD and 3D TVs competing, you need an Imax to really get the full benefits of physical scale.
Perhaps I’m one of those silly purists, but this sort of attitude petrifies me. The whole point and value of the cinema for me is its psychological impact. The best analogy I can draw upon is, as a student, reading for the sake of one’s studies. Sure, doing it in your room is most comfortable insofar as there’s no closing time and no travelling to do, and you can drink tea and eat simultaneously or even play music. But that also means it’s Distraction Central. Libraries, in contrast, put you in a frame of mind called Work Mode. You sit up straight and know you’re supposed to be focusing, and productivity soars accordingly.
The cinema is exactly the same. I don’t want to be able to pause and rewind and head off to piss or get another drink. Nor do I want to slouch around on the sofa. The number one way to enjoy a movie is to know that, when you enter that cinema, everything else is left at the door until the film is over. Your senses inevitably heighten. It’s a distractionless haven where the magic happens and for two hours nothing else matters. To sacrifice that privilege – that space – would be an indescribable loss to the art form. Please do your bit to keep cinemas alive.