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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old December 29th, 2003, 07:22 PM   #16
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It's a shame the "youngsters" here haven't had the same movie-going experience as us old fogies.

Like Boyd said, I remember the old "experience" and miss it--people getting dressed up since going to the movies was more of an "event." The movie theaters themselves were built in a more impressive fashion...usually with low lights shooting up the sides of the building and lots of twinkling lights in the front. Often, there'd be the big search lights out front whenever a new movie premiered.

But the biggest thing was walking into the massive theater itself and seeing the lights shooting up on a huge...and I mean HUGE...curtain (screens were MASSIVE back then), the rest of the theater dark since there was enough glow from the curtain to find your seat. Then, seeing that huge curtain slowly open, and the "Previews" begin (not commercials) was part of the thrill of being there.

Also, it seemed to me that "people" weren't such a distraction then. I personally think it was because of the upholstery on the chairs (sound absorbing velveteen) and the high, high ceiling (maybe 60 feet or more) that caused sounds to dissipate in all directions, making the whole place seem more quiet. Plus, there was more elbow room back then. They weren't squeezing you in like an airliner.

Now you have warehouses sliced up into lots of tiny theaters that, although "slick" inside...still are warehouses, and tiny, and not really what you'd call an "experience."
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Old December 29th, 2003, 08:39 PM   #17
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I'm 31 and I remember the "old" days of movie theaters...ok, maybe the tail end of it all. I remember Star Wars being this experience...kids at school talked about it all year. Does anyone remember the buzz when Empire Strikes Back came out? The year prior everyone said, "Darth Vader is Luke's father" - it was such a huge thing. There's something to be said for so many people talking about one little part of a movie...now, no one knows anything worth talking about. I know its a small thing, but it was fun talking about stuff back them. Things just don't buzz like that nowadays....or maybe they do?

I think we need some togetherness out there people! To much options...it's crazy.

Murph
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Old December 29th, 2003, 08:51 PM   #18
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Along those lines...the thing I remember before the first "Batman" movie was released was the "bat signal" suddenly showing up on billboards everywhere. No title, no dates, no other text at all...just the bat signal. I remember things buzzing then.

"Star Wars" was definitely THE defining movie experience for me back then. The only movie theaters I had access to were in the nearest "big city"...and I couldn't find anyone that wanted to drive that distance to go see it. Everyone said they didn't like SF movies...and for good reason back then. Special effects hadn't come of age yet. The only space movie I remember being impressed by prior to "Star Wars" was "2001: A Space Odyssey"...but not many people in my neck of the woods liked that sort of film. So, I went to see it alone...in an almost empty HUGE theater...and was blown away. Two weeks later word had gotten around, so when I tried to go back to see it, I couldn't get in.
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Old December 30th, 2003, 09:26 AM   #19
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<<<-- Originally posted by John Locke : Special effects hadn't come of age yet. The only space movie I remember being impressed by prior to "Star Wars" was "2001: A Space Odyssey"-->>>

Well John, I think you could actually argue that special effects for sci-fi films did "come of age" in 1968 with the release of Kubrick's "2001". I just watched the widescreen DVD of this movie last week, having not seen it for a number of years, and have to say that it completely blew me away. What a fantastic movie that was certainly way ahead of its time. I think it still has a futuristic look, and it certainly defined what we still expect in space epics. Now this doesn't detract from Star Wars in any way, another brilliant film, and Lucas defined another look for the genre where things were more beaten up, like a war movie.

I remember seeing 2001 when it came out (to date myself, I was a freshman in college). It was actually released as a Cinerama movie (although that was only a marketing ploy, it was filmed in regular 70mm Super Panavision) and I saw it at Martin Cinerama in St. Louis. Now Cinerama is another whole topic in itself, and it's really from the era where going to the movies was a big event. Of course, not unlike today, Hollywood was desperate to gain some market share back from TV. I saw all the Cinerama movies in the 50's and 60's and remember waiting in long lines to get into the theatres.

There's a terrific website that chronicles the history of widescreen movies, The American Widescreen Museum - it's worth spending some time browsing there. I find the Cinerama section especially interesting myself.

But just to bring this around ever so slightly to the topic of commericals at movies, I think that Star Wars was a turning point in the marketing of junk related to a movie, where revenue from toys and other stuff approached or even exceeded what the film itself made. And maybe I'm alone in this opinion, but I think it's really unfortunate that George Lucas felt the need to "improve" the original movie and re-release it with digital effects. His original was a great work of art and an inspiration. But now he seems to just churn out typical Hollywood commercialism. I really have little respect for him anymore, although his saving grace might be the trailblazing he's doing with digital shooting and presentation.
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Old December 30th, 2003, 09:51 AM   #20
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I wholeheartly agree with you regarding games and toys. Guess what? I've put my money where my mouth is - I stopped playing video games over 10 years ago! Hear that Hollywood? I'm watching the movies you make, but not playing the stupid games.

Let's start a "no associated games" campaign for films!

Murph
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Old December 30th, 2003, 10:03 AM   #21
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You guys are really showing your ages now...having graduated from "old" to "old curmudgeon." ;)

No argument that 2001 Space Odyssey is a wonderful film. I love everything Kubrick made...especially Barry Lyndon. But I think we all would recognize that Star Wars was much more of an "event" than 2001...and the "event" aspect was every bit as fetching as the actual film.

As for commercials at the theater...I have to admit something. Every year I buy the Clio awards compilation because I love well-made commercials. There. I've said it. It's out in the open. No flaming please.
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Old December 30th, 2003, 12:02 PM   #22
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I agree. While 2001 was most definitley ahead of it's time not only in the sfx department but in the political overtones Star Wars blew it away in terms of being a cinematic event.

I found 2001 to be just plain boring and have never been a big fan of Kubrick. Maybe it's my age? I'm 33.

Although I enjoy a few of his films, most of them I find unwatchable. They just don't get my attention. :(
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