Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Confessions of a Film Fan

Forgive me film world for I have sinned. Not since I admitted to enjoying Alien 3 has such a wave of guilt washed over me. But the truth must out.

So here goes; my confession, or to be more precise, confessions.

Confession Number One: Until last week I had not seen Inception or Toy Story 3.

Confession Number Two: When I did finally see them, I saw them on a plane.

On top of the shame of committing such a mortal sin, I actually managed to rationalise my decision. I had suffered the misfortune of not getting the chance to see two of the best reviewed films of the year in cinemas over the summer. Don't ask me how this happened, or how exactly I managed to catch mediocre fare like Prince of Persia and miss these gems, but I did. So when I heard that both films would be showing on my British Airways flight to Dubai, I let my excitement get the better of me. Sure the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of the films were only weeks (and in the case of Toy Story 3, days) away but I was finally getting my chance to see two films that I had completely failed to see in their rightful place on the big screen.

After all, I have a long-standing theory about great movies. They should be great, no matter how you view them. If you have a film that is great in 3D on an IMAX screen but is actually kind of dull when you stick it in a DVD player (Avatar) then it is not great film. Inception and Toy Story 3 are great films; they hold up entirely on their own merits. But now I wish I'd seen them in the way they should have been seen.

I have no problem with in-flight movies. If I am going to be sitting in one place for 7 and a half hours with barely any room to move I'm going to want something to watch. What's more, it's great that technology has moved on in recent years and you can actually choose what film you want to watch on a screen right in front of you. No more craning your neck because you're so bored you actually decided to watch the Katherine Heigl film that's on a monitor 8 rows in front of you. But, if I have learned one thing, it is NEVER watch an in-flight movie if you actually have high expectations for it.

During my flight, I found myself watching two amazing films on a 7 inch screen with a brightness adjuster that ranged between "pitch black" and "brighter than the sun" with nothing in between. My viewing experience was hampered by the rather large lady in the seat in front with a remarkable resemblance to Meatloaf who decided to recline fully and place her hands on the back of her seat, which just happened to be where my TV screen was. The sound was either whisper quiet or ear-bleedingly loud and the already quite difficult to understand Ken Watanabe was completely indecipherable. Important plot points or emotional scenes were routinely interrupted by bad food or somebody trying to sell me cheap booze.

Of course, I knew my viewing experience would be like this. I've been on a plane before. But somehow, I cheated my brain into thinking this was the best way to see these films, even Inception, which requires a lot of concentration at the best of times. I also happened to catch tedious crap-fests The A-Team and Predators on this flight, and I had no problem with seeing them there. Heck I missed Laurence Fishburne's entire appearance in Predators because I was distracted by a muffin the cabin crew had given me. I didn't care; the films were bad and I expected them to be bad so seeing them on a plane didn't matter.

Inception and Toy Story 3, on the other hand, are a different case. First chance I get I'm getting hold of them on Blu-Ray and finding the biggest TV I can. It's the least I can do to atone for my sins.

Oh, and while I'm getting things off my chest:

I've never seen Citizen Kane.

I'll go now.

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