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The future of cinema: This Is It

Thursday 5 November 2009, 16:37

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

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Michael Jackson has shown the way. Under the watchful eyes of the great Kenny Ortega (whose High School Musical series of movies are, as I have explained many times, the very definition of pure movie entertainment) the King of Pop has delivered unto us an all-singing, all-dancing saviour of cinema...

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    Comment number 1.

    Well said, but, I've still booked my tickets for the 3D Avatar. Annoyingly the 2D version of it has the image cropped to make a 2.35:1 ratio. Which version is Cameron's intended framing? Now we have to deal with two different versions of a film because 3D works better in 1.85:1 - apparently.

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    Comment number 2.

    Sooooo, you are saying all cinemas should have a licence to serve booze? Here here :)

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    Comment number 3.

    Is the broadcast of sporting events in cinema really a new development? I have seen archive footage from the early 70s of Muhammad Ali on Parkinson urging viewers to watch one of the Ali-Frazier fights in theatres (presumably using the US term for cinema, rather than referring to a stage adaptation). Also, my local digital cinema in Kent has been showing a regular programme of operas and ballets almost since it opened.

    But you're right that businesses must maximise the use of their commercial space. If it's empty, it's costing money. And we really don't want fewer screens. While DVD and widescreen TVS have brought the home cinema experience a long way, you still cannot beat the proper cantilevered auditorium cinema setting.

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    Comment number 4.

    It's cinema coming full circle in a way. When it was first invented people used to go to the cinema to watch the news among over things. However this was before the invention of television so why they're showing sporting events on the big screen I don't know.

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    Comment number 5.

    I really wish film critics, and Mark in particular, would get over their endless tired ranting about 3D. It's like throwing a strop over the fact the sky's blue. Get over it! If you don't like it, go watch the 2D version. But PLEASE stop boring us endlessly repeating that nobody wants it - Clearly the public do or 3D movies wouldn't be being made.

    What exactly does 3D take away from the 2D experience? Absolutely nothing unless you think that wearing glasses seriously detracts from the viewing experience (in which case, God help you if your eye sight starts to go). All 3D does do is ADD to the cinematic experience and yet critics feel they have to rant on and on and on about how awful it is and nobody wants it.

    I've heard Mark say a lot of really dumb things over the years but his comment that the 3D version of a film "isn't cinema" must be the most ridiculous thing he's ever said. He sounds as ridiculous as Chaplin did when he whinged that sound films would never work - months after it was VERY clear that silent cinema was dead and over.

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    Comment number 6.

    The guy behind the glass is distracting; I expected him to come in and do the travel.

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    Comment number 7.

    @Ian Smith.

    Mark is wrong about many things (like all films should be made in the language where they take place with subtitles or that Marion Cotillard should have tried to sing in La Vie en Rose or that Twilight is a good film or that Inglourious Basterds was as bad as he said or that Star Trek was as good as he said or ....) but he's not wrong about 3-D.

    We don't want it and we don't need it - certainly not in its current form.
    The depth of field is not continuous and it really messes up the colours if you want to know what we lose, and who wants to wear stupid glasses to watch a film? If you make an animated kiddies film in 3-D only, yes people are going to see it (just like if you make an animated kiddies film in 2D only).

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    Comment number 8.

    Having now seen a handful of 3D movies at my local cineworld, I can safely say I will not be bothering to see any more. I caught an early screening of Up in 2D and did not see anything that would make me believe that 3D would enhance the experience.

    I will be going to see Avatar at the IMAX in Waterloo as this, I believe, is the best way to see a 3D film.

    As to Ian Smiths comments, so far I think Mark is right about 3D. Its all just pointy pointy nonsense that detracts from the characters and stories. The cinemas seem to finally be listening to the public by getting rid of the added cost if you bring back your glasses. So thats one point conceded, now all we need is a film maker to prove the "immersive' argument and we can all shout at Mark for been an idiot.

    Simplifying the argument by saying that they would not be been made if no one wanted them is ridiculous. There is an underlying fear of loss of profit due to the huge amount of piracy that goes on.
    The studio bosses still have their collective heads buried in the sand when it comes to modern distribution methods and the fact that not everyone wants to go to a cinema and have to sit next to screaming kids and adults who have to constantly chat to each other though the film.


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    Comment number 9.

    antimode,
    Which kiddies film have only been made available in 3D? And if you're going to make claims about colours being messed up can you give the evidence or details for this? (I've seen a couple of films in both 3D and 2D and certainly never noticed any problems with colour)

    misterjollylives,
    You contradict yourself somewhat. Leaving aside the fact you've judged "Up" in 3D despite not having seen it, you dismiss 3D and then admit you're going to the IMAX to see Avatar in 3D. If 3D is worse why on earth would you do that? Your argument makes no sense!

    I would agree that 3D works best on a large screen (I've only ever bothered seeing a 3D film at the London IMAX which is local). But seriously, if you don't like 3D on a small screen don't go see it - go to the 2D version instead. If claims that people didn't want it were true the cinema's would soon be empty. Heck, you only have to wait a couple of months and most stuff's available on nice 2D friendly shiny disc anyway.

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    Comment number 10.

    I heartily concur that more cinemas (and, indeed, pubs) should serve real ale.

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    Comment number 11.

    Years ago, I saw James Cameron's Ghosts of the Abyss (a documentary about searching the wreck of the Titanic, which was in many ways a test project for new 3d filming techniques and in other ways an intrusive grave robbery). The only moment in the whole feature when I felt the 3d worked was when a boom on one of the robot submersibles was prodded towards the camera and, therefore, the audience. Like Mark said on the Culture Show last night, having one 3d moment in an entire film does not make 3d an immersive experience.

    It is just a cyclical gimmick. That in itself does not make it unwelcome but we should not prepare for a bold 3d future of cinema. It'll be gone again by the end of next year.

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    Comment number 12.

    Is this it?

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    Comment number 13.

    I have to disagree with Mark about 3D. It is a part of cimema, just so far it hasn't been done very well. Fingers crossed Avitar will be a great film, where the 3D compliments the film. 3D has been around for a long time and need to be used in a grown up manner.

    My old film lecturer always said that they best directors, highlighted the story and enhanced the actors performance, not their own visual flare (a charge I put on Tarantino). 3D should be the same.

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    Comment number 14.

    The main problem I have with the Jackson movie being shown in cinemas is that it’s just a glorified advert for the DVD release in January. I’m sure they couldn’t rush out the DVD for Christmas (with all the other big releases being duplicated) so they created the gimmick of a limited run to drum up some interest (as if they needed to).

    On the other hand, where I live we only get the big mainstream multiplex fodder, so I quite like the new trend where more marginal art house films are being released on DVD almost simultaneously rather then having to wait five months to see them. It’s like the good old days of Palace video in the early eighties. This probably makes me a hypocrite.

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    Comment number 15.

    For the idiots who think 3D is the future. In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man still can't see the thing you think is so great.

    Marks right. 3D will be a new art-form if anything. Those who confuse the two are missing the point, and that includes the big film companies. And they've made this mistake before, computer games aren't films, they're something else, yet film companies think a game will make a good film, or that a film will make a good game. They can live in the same imagined world, but they're different.

    The problem is perhaps that film companies aren't FILM companies any more. They're entertainment companies, who will do anything to get a paying bum on a seat. All Mark and others are saying is, a film is a film, and the other stuff is other stuff – just don't confuse them.

    Personally, I think anyone who sings the praises of 3D are probably the same people who wouldn't watch a black and white film because it's in black and white. It ain't the colour or the 3D or the sound that makes a story engrossing. Heck, you might even be able to just put words describing what's happening on bits of paper and be as entertaining... has anyone ever tried that?

    Not long now until mass audience interaction will be changing the action on screen. Cries of 'the zombies behind you!' making the girl run instead of being disembowelled. Watch Mark cry when that happens.

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    Comment number 16.

    VUE cinemas are owned by Warner I believe so when some artists that are signed to Warner records have live DVDs coming out they show a prescreening at selected VUE cinemas.

    It is evident from my username that I am a massive Muse fan and I went to see their Live at Wembley Stadium DVD (aka H.A.A.R.P.) at my local VUE. I must admit I share your old opinion on the matter Dr. K, cinemas are for films, but boy was that a good experience!

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    Comment number 17.

    Sorry, MarkoosMuse but Vue Cinema is not owned by Warner Bros. The company was formed when SBC bought out Warner Village Cinemas in 2003, and was the feature of a subsequent management buyout in 2006.

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    Comment number 18.

    I haven't seen "This is It" myself but does it not count as a documentary?

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    Comment number 19.

    Why do concerts shown at cinemas not count as films? As brotherjosephus said, they're essentially documentaries.

    I'd love to see more concert films get releases in the cinema - especially Springsteen's gig at the Hammersmith Odeon in '75.

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    Comment number 20.

    oi! content not working! again! this is annoying, extraordinarily annoying.

 

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Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark is the UK's leading film critic.

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