Monday, January 03, 2011

Happy New Year!

Hope yours is lovely! We spent a quiet New Year's Eve. We had some nice snacks we set aside, but didn't feel like anything noisy, so regular TV was out. Haven't liked the "New Year's Eve" specials in years so we just don't bother. We did go see "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" (in 2D- matinee pricing) and it was as wonderful as we'd hoped! So that's a nice note for the transition to 2011. I was beginning to be concerned we wouldn't manage to catch it. There were a number of family films that sounded promising this year but we couldn't afford to see all of them.

They really caught the feel of that most famous image of the Dawn Treader. I loved those skies! Reminded me of realMyst for a minute, then I recalled that I had loved the sky effect in that game in part because it reminded me of the picture of the Dawn Treader, so its more like coming full circle to my original inspirations... I was disappointed more people weren't there with us, but its near the end of the rather short run. At least those with us laughed and sighed at the right moments. You can't count on that anymore.

Which brings me to what tipped me over into blogging tonight ~

**WARNING I am not advocating reading the comments beneath the story in that link. Many aren't family friendly. I am just saying I read them while thinking about the article...

I just read a long set of comments on a story about how attendance is down at the theaters during the holidays** (and generally). There seems to be some surprise that people aren't going to the movies more when they did in the Big Depression (Is this a sideways acknowledgement of where we really are?). They expect 2011 will be even worse. (hhmmm..not expecting a boom economy soon then?)

Its really not that hard to figure.

1) Discretionary spending is down. People bought the expected presents so they didn't see as many movies, especially at Christmas.

2) MANY people are disenchanted with Hollyweird's lack of family-friendliness, political leanings, and/or anti-mainstream messages... Even those who are okay with that part of it are getting burnt out by the repetitiveness and mediocrity that seems to plague most releases.

3) The only exceptions to the general public distrust are for Pixar's family films, (and those that manage to get near that standard. Dreamworks has had quite a few good ones lately.) ...and even those are hurt by the high prices of film going these days. Popcorn and drink prices have always been outrageous, compared with usual cost, but now the regular ticket prices plus concession fare could set you back as much as a cheap DVD player plus a recent DVD film...that's when you really notice.

4) ...and those high prices get even higher when you 'have' to see it in 3D. Not many good films need 3D, it makes many people queasy/headache-y, and there are warnings that its not good for the eyesight of young children ~ which discourages even more families from making the sacrifice.

My family is among the many that actively avoids full price generally and 3D showings specifically. This relates to the movies we especially wanted to see on the BIG screen, most films we're content to wait. We last endured 3D for Toy Story 3, which is a great film, but would have been better for us without that gimmick. We felt sick afterward. This doesn't make the 'great movie experience.' We have enough issues with the increasing use of 'air fresheners' in area cinemas. We'd love it if they would stop the obligatory 3D releases. 

5) Yes, people want distraction from their current worries but there is more and cheaper competition.

When movies were king in the last 'recession,' there was no 'after-market' of DVD (formerly VHS) and color TVs at home. If you waited a few months to see the latest cool movie in the 30's, you likely wouldn't see it at all.

There were no game consoles, often with a cheap back library of greatest hits titles to play once you saved up for it. (I'm not talking the deep pockets- first adopters here, this is the masses who have to CHOOSE what to save to see.) Some people are even discovering what I've known for years, that replaying old favorite games can be fun and relaxing. For example, I have replayed "Mario Sunshine" every winter since we got it. Cheers me up a treat. Used to do the same thing each winter with my fav adventure game before 'Sunshine' came out for that 'virtual fun in the sun' experience. (The old Zelda games help too. ;)

There was no cable TV, just radio, and that had only a few channels. Even with the generally poor choices you can usually find something decent on much of the time, especially on the documentary and classic movie channels. If you can't afford cable anymore, I'm betting you've already cut movie theaters out of your budget.

There was no internet, with online places to hang with your crowd and entertain (or low) additional surcharge, not to mention the free public domain movies online, free uni courses, freeware games, demos, hosted documentaries and the many funny clips on youtube...and that's for the non-bibliophiles. Books are still very popular at my house. You can still buy amusing books for less than a dollar at area thrift stores ;-)

6) Movie theaters are becoming less and less comfortable in many locations. I am not picking on our area theaters, because the big megaplex tries very hard to make their place worth the money (and generally they succeed). Even the budget place has been doing much better lately, though they really need to clean the glass in front of the projection booth.

But poor or tight, a lot movie theaters are not cleaning as often as they should, many have tiny chairs, tinny worn-out speakers that produce unpleasant loud noises instead of THX-style productions and/or inconsiderate cinema experiences (much of this from other audience members, but it still impacts the results.) 3D glasses just add to the annoyances.

7)  Did I mention people are feeling broke? Gas is going up again. News stories are gloomy. Gloomy movies are the last thing most people want to see, but that is still what Hollyweird wants to make and what it honors in its artists year after year. People I know want fantasies they can lose themselves in for an hour or three, with a happy ending, or at least a ~ mostly ~ happy ending.

So ~ if Christian-tinged stories do not offend you, if you can afford it this week, and if you can find it in 2D, I can heartily recommend Dawn Treader to you, since it is more than able to fulfill such requirements. ;-)

"Tangled" is pretty good too. :)

1 comment:

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