Saturday, February 05, 2011

Cinema: Still Worthy Of A First Date?

Cinema is a good experience
"Why go to the cinema when you can just wait for the film on DVD?"

This question was posed by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as an advert for their new sci-fi/comedy movie, Paul. While they went onto argue the point in order to get people in to see them in their new film, it got me wondering... which do I actually prefer?

Sure, I love the cinema. The surround-sound noise picking up every epic chord in a John Williams score cannot come close to be matched at home unless you happen to have thousands of pound notes lying around. My puny little 18 watt stereo speakers are only any good for when my girlfriend wants to watch her favourite soap.

Despite recent advancements in television sets, including the first cinema aspect ratio - 21:9, 3D, and High Definition sets, there is nothing quite like watching the tiniest amounts of detail in Avatar on a screen that takes more than 10 steps to reach one side from the other. My 21-inch TV is nice to watch football - but only when I'm sat within 2 metres of the screen.

On the social element too, going to the cinema is seen as something that is very popular. If I was taking my girlfriend on a date then the cinema is definitely something worth considering. Of course, if my other friends wanted a guys night out then we might even consider going to watch the latest thriller (probably Halloween 25: The Return of Michael Myers... again).

Would it be easier to own
your own home cinema?
Despite all these obvious positives, going to the cinema still has its moments when it annoys me and I'd rather be watching the film sat on the sofa with my pathetic technology.

Firstly, films should only be watched in the cinema after 8pm, or if they are rated 15 and over. Anyone that has ever been in a film showing with children will understand this. Without provisions for flying popcorn, and high-pitched squarking, cinemas are very dangerous places indeed.

At home, if I don't like a film that I'm watching I turn the TV off, get up and go and do something else. Once I'm in the cinema, if I try to navigate my way out in the dark I'd be more fearful of being trapped in the cinema being pelted with popcorn by 12-year-olds for the next hour and a half.

So, what about the cost? Sure, a brand new DVD will set you back £15 - and a brand new blu-ray disc will be well into the £20s, but after 6 months and a bit of shopping around it is possible to find movies a little as £3, or less if you're happy to look for second hand copies.

Compare that to the cinema - for our trip to see Disney's 50th animated film, Tangled, my girlfriend and I share a £22 cost on the tickets, plus an extra tenner on the cinema food. Not only does this start to turn into an expensive night out, but the film can only be watched once. Oh, and Odeon now charge a fee for 3D glasses.

So all-in-all its a pretty even contest. Cinema has the technological edge, but home has the edge of cost - once you have the equipment to watch the movie. Still, a night out in the cinema watching a good movie is always worth it.

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