prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

The “movie” experience

Posted by prof e on October 15, 2013

GravityI saw a movie last week. Not just any movie. Gravity, in IMAX 3D. It was amazing. Not every movie needs (or benefits from) the big screen, 3D perspective and awesome surround sound…but Gravity definitely brought it all together in a way that has to be experience to be appreciated. If you haven’t already seen Gravity, don’t wait for the DVD or Netflix. Like Lawrence of Arabia in 70mm (still remember seeing it at the Naro theater in Norfolk, VA in late 1989) some movies need to be appreciated as the “larger-than-life” event that they are.

The great thing about IMAX is the sensation that comes from having your vision and hearing FILLED with the director’s creative vision. I suppose motion-controlled seating and “Smell-O-Vision” might have heightened the experience even more, but there was plenty of sensory stimulation as it was.

Filmmakers have, almost from the start, longed to have complete control over the viewer’s experience. It didn’t take long for them to discover that a large screen in a dark room minimized visual distractions while an audio system capable of high-fidelity at high volume drowned out the coughing and fidgeting of the audience.

At the turn of the last century, when motion pictures were the only game in town, projecting a grainy black-and-white image on a draped bed sheet was good enough. But that wouldn’t last long. Soon a soundtrack replaced the live pianist and speaking characters preempted the need for title cards and subtitles. Larger screens and Technicolor soon followed. Then TV was invented. Hollywood studios and producers, worried that their audiences would stay home and stop going to the movies, decided to try to create an even bigger experience. The list of bigger-is-better movie technologies exploded; Todd-AO, Cinerama, Cinemascope,  Super and Ultra Panavision, 70mm, IMAX, and Vistavision are just a few. Advances in audio technology were just as spectacular. Stereo gave way to Surround Sound as Dolby Digital and THX found new ways to make us “feel” the soundtrack.

At 4.5 years in the making, Gravity is a tour-de-force of CGI and audio. Because I’ve never experienced space I was ill-equipped to determine whether anything looked or sounded “wrong,” but I do know that not once was I jarred back to reality by an errant shot or sound. The director launched me into space and I didn’t land on my feet until the 90-minute movie had run its course.  It was a great ride.


13 Responses to “The “movie” experience”

  1. Taylor Allen said

    I agree that this movie was amazing to see in theaters. You wouldn’t have got the same feel for the movie at home as you did in theaters in 3D. The 3D in theaters made you feel like you were right in the movie and the sound was very loud so you were just focused on the movie. I cannot believe the movie took 4.5 years to make, but it was great the way it turned out. When TV was invented, I think all movie producers were scared that their careers would decline and movies would stop making. Now with Netflix and On Demand, people might stay more because they feel more comfortable on their couch or in their bed with their families watching a movie. But if you want the full experience with popcorn and full screen movie, then the movie theater is the way to go. Now movies can be shown on TV. Movie executives soon realized that TV was a place where their B pictures could be shown (Turow). I love going to the movie theater to get the full experience of the movie and freshly popped popcorn, but sometimes I would rather buy the movie and watch it in the comfort of my own home.

  2. Jordan Robles said

    I have never seen Gravity . I will probably see it next week. Last night, I seen “Home Front” with Jason Statham and James Franco. Homefront was filled with action and suspense. Homefront had the audience at the tip of their seat. Since this movie had Jason Statham as the lead character, everyone would probably think it was another action packed film. It was not one of those films. “The film is about a former DEA agent who moves his family to a quiet town, where he soon tangles with a local meth druglord.”( The screenplay was written by Sylvester Stallone. Homefront was based off the book “Homefront Hero” By Chuck Logan. This film was well worth $9.50. I will definitely purchase it when it comes out to Blue-ray. Film has really progressed since using kinetoscope. Now filmmakers use cg i and green screens to create breathtaking scenes.(Turow pg.407)

  3. Sarah Zarr said

    I agree that some movies are just designed for the big screen. Some movies you have to be in the theater to get the full affect. Blockbuster movies (movies that make more than $200 million) have become the big thing (Turow 414). Waiting all year for a sequel to a blockbuster to come out and going to the midnight premier has become more about the experience and being able to share the experience with others rather than just watching the movie at home. Just like magicians and plays were a form of entertainment, movies made their way into that category and out of just being what was shown in between plays (Turow 407). Movies are a form of entertainment but also serve to be a platform where directors and actors can get their point across, tell their story, and share their worldview. I don’t think that Hollywood producers and directors and actors have to worry about movie theaters becoming a thing of the past because there is still so much excitement and new technology that makes movie theaters even more of an “experience”.
    -Sarah Zarr 12/2/2013

  4. Sarah Zarr said

    Works Cited:
    Turow, Joseph. Media Today: An Introduction to Mass Communication. New York: Routledge, 2011. Print.

  5. Vanessa M. Torrez said

    I’ve never seen the movie, but the plot of the movie sounds like it would feel as if I was in a 3-D Ride at Universal Studios. Especially if I were to watch in IMAX theater. Technology has changed vastly over the decades, movies use to be just bits and pieces of clips in the 1800’s. For example, Leland Stanford’s “The Horse In Motion” was a preview of what motion simulation has come from (Turow). I find it extremely incredible how we have progressed, its very interesting to see how technology grows and develops and what tools we have today.
    Turow, Joseph. Media Today: An Introduction to Mass Communication. New York: Routledge, 2011. Print.

  6. Andrea Cook said

    Before Gravity premiered everyone knew it would be a success. With lead roles such as Sandra Bullock and George Clooney its birth was a hit! Producers knew this and premiered Gravity in almost every movie theater. This kind of premier is known as a saturation release meaning:” putting a film in thousands of theaters beginning the same weekend” (Turow 426)

  7. Graham McCoy said

    I have never seen Gravity, however; after hearing the reviews and watching the trailer it is a movie I plan to see here shortly. It sounds like an intense, action packed movie that would leave the audience in shock. This sounds a lot like when Polar Express came out to theaters, they used this movie to create a story you literally could have lived in! (Turow) A plot line in which every theatre would show this movie throughout the whole day, expecting large crowds.

  8. Thomas Gibbons said

    I haven’t seen Gravity, but after reading this blog post it really makes me want to go to the theater and see it. However, I did see the movie “Avatar” in IMAX 3D and that was one of the best movies I have seen in my life. I agree with what you said, it’s almost like you get transported into the movie and you’re there with the actors. I felt like I was part of the Na’vi tribe while watching Avatar, and in the scene after their home tree was destroyed, I felt like I could literally touch the ash all around me, and that my home has just been destroyed. It was true entertainment, and i would do anything to see it in IMAX 3D again.
    Works Cited:
    Turow, Joseph. Media Today: An Introduction to Mass Communication. 4th Ed. New York: Routledge, 2011. Print.

  9. Patrick Schickle said

    I haven’t seen this movie yet but I know exactly what was meant. Seeing Jurassic Park for example in my home was a fairly decent experience as I didn’t have surround sound or amazing audio quality. I went to go see the same movie in theaters and I was truly blown away. Improved motion simulation, improved audio and Imax 3D is something everyone can really appreciate and I try to watch Imax movies whenever I can.

    Patrick Schickle
    — Turow, Joseph. “Creating Portraits.” Media Today: An Introduction to Mass Communication. 4th ed. New York [etc.: Routledge, 2011. 540. Print.

  10. Alex Moore said

    This movie was amazing! With Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in the cast, you knew it had to be great. It was the first movie I had ever seen in 3D and it was exceptional. It was so real, and the graphics were outstanding. Movies like this are with no doubt designed for the big screen. This was a Blockbuster movie, which have become a big deal in this day and age. (414)
    I do not think movie theaters need to worry about becoming a thing of the past. People do enjoy watching movies in their home at a touch of a remote, but I know that I always love going on dates to a movie theater.

    Works Cited:
    Turow, Joseph. Media Today: An Introduction to Mass Communication. 4th Ed. New York: Routledge, 2011. Print.

    Alex Moore

  11. Kami Shore said

    Although I have never seen the movie Gravity, I can relate to seeing an IMAX in theaters is a greater experience than watching a movie at home on the couch. I have seen many 3D movies and they wouldn’t have the same impact without the 3D effect. I don’t end up going to the movie theater very often, but when I do it is so much better than sitting at home watching a new release. Releasing 3D movies was a good idea to keep people interested in going to the movies, but I think people would still enjoy going without 3D because there are so many other sold out movies that are not 3D. (Turow).
    Kami Shore

    Turow, Joseph. Media Today: An Introduction to Mass Communication. 4th Edition. New York: Routledge, 2011. Print.

  12. Rick Quintana said

    Technology has changed the effects in blockbuster movies today, with CGI used for many of today’s hit movies leaves us gasping for air in some sense for any cool new movie (Turow 413). I did get a chance to see gravity. It was amazing to see the special effects in place and to know how hard it must be to pretend as actors that the experience is real. However still, there are many mistakes the movie editors don’t catch, in gravity when she was going to commit suicide and the other astronaut open the door hatch she didn’t freeze, instead she was alive even though it turned out to be a hallucination, still more reality should be in place. Another example are those action movies were the bad guys go through ammo and never hit nothing and the good guys fire a shot and hits the target every time. Anyhow, the movie gravity was still a really great movie..i would watch it again.

    Turow, Joseph. Media Today: An Introduction to Mass Communication. 4th Edition. New York: Routledge, 2011. Print.

  13. amdeary said

    I have only seen one movie in IMAX, but it too was a space movie (2009’s Star Trek, to be specific). 3D gives me a headache, so we saw the 2D version, but even just having such a large screen was a really immersive experience. The text mentions that “blockbuster” films are what every studio really aims for, but I feel like more movies could be easily transported to the oversized screen. I remember when I went to see Star Trek, there were only about 4 movies available, and those same 4 movies had been playing for nearly a month. I can understand the truly fantastic CGI works being shown for a longer amount of time, and that an IMAX theater can only physically fit so many screens, but I feel like they should cycle out more films. For example, at the AMC IMAX in Aurora (where I saw Star Trek), right now there are only two films available in IMAX- Catching Fire, and The Hobbit. But, Catching Fire has been out for nearly a month, and it’s still getting more screen time than the newest Thor movie which, according to the AMC website, is also available in IMAX, just not at that location.

    Obviously, a lot more goes into selecting what movies show where and when than I could possibly understand; just the tip of the iceberg covered in the book gave me a bit of a headache. But it seems like, for the best customer experience, more theaters would try to show more of their movies in IMAX or 3D.

    At least it would help justify the outrageous cost of the tickets. 🙂

    Turow, Joseph. Media Today: An Introduction to Mass Communication. 4th Edition. New York: Routledge, 2011. Print.

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