When I was younger the big screen was held as the epitome of the entertainment industry. There were popular television shows but if you really wanted your name in lights the cinema and the great red carpet premieres were the ultimate goal. Movie actors had a lot more credence than their small screen counter parts and the cinema was a treat for all the senses.
One of the first movies I remember going to see was Jurassic Park. (Yes the first one. Yes I am dino cups being sold in McDonalds years old). I’ll never forget the rumbling of those almighty notes as the park itself is first revealed. I still get goosebumps when I see it. I’ll also not forget being accidentally smacked in the jaw when the T-Rex burst out of its damn cage! (Too soon for spoilers?). It was a completely immersive experience you wouldn’t find in your living room with the television. Going to the cinema was an event. The smell of popcorn, the advertisements for the latest movies and the ridiculously expensive snacks all made for a great night out. The love of cinema continued for me with the release of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I was obsessed with the movies and Return of the King was one of the few I had went more than once to see. The only other exception to that was the Truman show which I saw five times. The quirky premise was unusual for the time. It was before reality TV became common place. Coupled with the beautiful Philip Glass soundtrack and the island setting, it was a cinematic experience I opted for again and again. But I digress. My point is cinema was an exciting place.
Television isn’t without its merit. What the cinema offered in experience the television made up for by giving families, companions and friends a place to gather round. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my family gathered together to watch our favourite shows. When I first went to uni I was thrown into a hall with strangers but as soon as we put on the television and watched together we became friends. Where the cinema was an exciting out of town visitor the television was your constant companion. I often hear people talk of putting on their favourite shows for comfort as they fall asleep and I find that remarkable.
Which brings me to the modern day. Before the days of the disease which shall not be named, the cinema was already losing its grip on the collective imagination. Streaming services became common place and more and more people were opting to stay at home and watch their favourite shows. When cinemas closed for an extended time it seemed to be the final nail in the old girl’s coffin. The glorious cinematography of a Marvel movie is great but when there are shows and stories you can lose yourself in just as easily at home (the Loki series for instance) then it doesn’t seem the cinema is holding its worth any more. To me it seems that cinema is something of a bygone era now. The big movie releases are becoming a thing of the past and instead more focus and attention is being placed on the latest shows the streaming services have to offer. Maybe that’s just my experience. Maybe I’m just cynical. Maybe I should give our times of recovery more of a chance.
What are your thoughts? Do you think the cinema still has the same sway it used to? What are your favourite movies and shows? Let me know.
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