Remember when you were a little person? Everything was magical wasn’t it? In our tiny little minds there was no government, no tragedies, chocolate was our drug and playtime was our violence.
Remember your first trip(s) to the cinema? Oh the excitement and anticipation. Seeing those big, bold letters bolted on to the building outside, picking your sweets, then that delightful, exhilarating trot into another world – the dark auditorium where the magic happens…
Can you picture it? Feel it?
Well tough. It’s all gone now. The only ‘magic’ we currently experience is achieved by throwing on a pair of ridiculous looking glasses that wouldn’t look out of place post-cataract procedure. But 3D isn’t my main vendetta here. It’s the cinema experience as a whole. The twisted, pathological monster it’s now become.
Granted, we’re not kids any more (well …) so we won’t bolt out of bed in the morning, squealing with sheer delight at the mere thought of a trip to the pictures. But what went wrong? Why am I typing this?
Let me enlighten you.
I recently carted myself off (with a friend) to the local flicks to see Duncan Jones’ superb follow up to his fantastic debut Moon – Source Code. A thoroughly enjoyable film by all rights – bigger stars, bigger budget, a satisfying thrust into the mainstream for a hugely talented director.
My pre-supposed enjoyment, however, was tempered throughout by a cluster of nuisances, all of which have driven me to near nihilism on previous occasions, but nuisances I’m finally venting now.
When we were young, we didn’t have mobile phones. We didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, PCs, oh, and the Internet. Many years ago, people would simply watch the film, and enjoy it for what it was. I remember way back to 1989 when my Dad took me to see the first Batman film starring Michael Keaton. What made it for me, apart from the coolness of the film of course, was the audience reaction. That damned fantastic, electric atmosphere.
Picture the scene: Jack Nicholson’s villainous Jack Napier is suddenly confronted by Batman in the Axis Chemical Factory amidst a police raid. ‘Jesus!’, a stunned Jack exclaims as he is hoisted off his feet by the Dark Knight. ‘Let him go, or I’ll do Gordon!’ bellows a nearby henchman, holding Commissioner Gordon at gunpoint. Batman reluctantly returns Jack to his feet. Dusting off his coat and regaining his composure, Jack, as wolfishly as only Jack Nicholson can, eyes Batman up and down, calmly remarking ‘nice outfit’. This instantly cracks up the whole cinema – a collective whoop exploding up into the auditorium; as it did when Jack purrs out ‘wait ’til they get a loada me’; as it did when we’re first introduced to the Batwing; when The Joker pulls out his comically long pistol.
THAT is cinema.
THIS. NOW, for want of a better word, isn’t.
Back in the cinema, looking forward to Source Code, I’m forced to involuntarily trawl through twenty minutes of visual toxic waste; a Clockwork Orange-esque brainwashing barrage of meaningless adverts peppered with ball-breakingly unfunny gags, pretentious pretty people swanning around like they don’t have to pay council tax or unreasonably inflated car insurance and pornographic shots of products we’ll simply. Never. Buy. Oh yes, and those chunder-inducing Orange adverts. Adverts that can’t have been devised by actual humans – sentient beings with a sense of humour. No, more than likely, these shockingly awful promotional shorts were a punishment clause devised by God’s legal team in the small print for The Ten Commandments, to be invoked at a time when the zeitgeist inevitably disappeared up its own backside and was ripe for a religious spanking (i.e. right now):
In the event any of the aformentioned are broken, offended indirectly, or cleverly mocked by The Simpsons, and when my solicitors advise accordingly, please initiate Project Orange. I can’t be arsed invoking Armageddon – Direct Line has deep pockets.
P.S. Break N-Dubz out of exile some time in the early 21st Century – the humans would’ve easily broken all ten by then and will require further damnation.
Not-so-divine-intervention aside, I can forgive … tolerate a little muted chat amongst patrons whilst we trawl through the crud to get to the feature. But then the film arrives, and people start to … talk. Hang on, did I waddle into the wrong place? I can’t recall seeing any pubs nearby, or for that matter, restaurants. Not only do people take it upon themselves to flap their ignorant mouths throughout the film, provoking a homicidal distraction (for me, anyway), they also see fit to bring in enough foodstuffs and beverages to comfortably feed Peckham. Nachos for Christ’s sake. What were they thinking? And the bloody popcorn. Seemingly bottomless skips full of noisy, crackling clusters of evil. Food shouldn’t just be quiet, it shouldn’t be there.
Mobile phones. Yes, we all own one. But why do people feel the need to check it every seven minutes, DURING the film? In a darkened auditorium it’s like a family of overweight fireflies playing hide and seek in the seating area. Facebook knobsticks no doubt: ‘Andrew iz watchin da film lol’.
Where’s Judge Dredd when you need him? Lousy coalition cutbacks.
I’m a fairly liberal guy, but in this case, unless all my demands are met, cinema has its charms held hostage by ignorance, commercialism and social networking. And halfwit twits with their feet on the seats.
Still. Source Code – great film. You should check it out, you’ll really enjoy it.