To watch or not to watch movies at the cinema?


People leave a cinema after watching a movie (performance film)
Image Credit: AP

Do you feel nostalgic for watching old movies? Do you watch movies repeatedly? Do you like watching movies in the cinema?

Watching movies in full screen is always exhilarating. Sitting early is necessary. Above all, I wouldn’t want to miss the commercials that come at the start of the film. Also, if we get late we have to go through occupied seats and we could accidentally step on someone’s foot, whisper excuses to each other and glare at them.

Around movie theaters, the delicious aroma of freshly popped popcorn and other snacks float in the air. Whether you’ve eaten or not, there’s always an endless hunger for popcorn. The big screen, the stereos, the sound effects, the acoustics, the audience, their reactions to the scenes, it’s an incredible experience.

When I was young, I lived in India, we had a black and white television at home. Sundays were movie days. We would finish our homework and be ready for the movie. As children, we always looked forward to Sunday.

It was like we were expecting a guest and sometimes even our neighbors would join us to watch a famous movie. We would be ready with lots of ice cream, fries and homemade snacks. We were all sitting in front of the TV, devouring the snacks and enjoying the movie.

Later in Dubai, Channel 33 would broadcast Hindi movies on Thursday evenings. We used to drag a mattress in our living room and watch the movie while lying on it. When there is a movie, there is popcorn! Many nights we would doze off in front of the television without finishing the movie.

But it was the era of VCRs, where you could record movies on a videotape. We even used to exchange our recorded videotapes with our neighbors. At the time, we had video libraries, where you could rent film tapes and return them after a few days. We liked to watch a lot of movies this way, but sometimes we yearned for good prints.

There has been a sudden increase in the number of channels provided by cable TV, with countless options to watch from channels showing soap operas, cartoons, movies, documentaries, news, and more.

The transition from CDs to flash drives to apps like Netflix or Prime has been much faster. We still love to watch movies at home, have a few snacks, but the feeling is quite different. Although it is in the comfort of our home, the joy of watching movies in a theater is a healthy experience. The reservation, going to the theater, the thrill, the experience and finally the movie; is a complete package.

Watching movies with friends is a very unique experience. We whispered, laughed and even got emotional with some scenes in the movie. Our film group met for breakfast to discuss, dissect, and analyze the film, theme, acting, script, and direction.

3D, 4D, and I-max cinemas have special effects like water sprinklers, wind and light effects, and even a moving chair. Some of these special effects are breathtaking and spellbinding.

Although nowadays we even have the home theater system with all the effects of a theater, I miss those old days when we looked forward to that “ONE” movie that would be relayed with so many commercials in between. Having so many options makes the excitement and eagerness to watch great movies falter.

In fact, we are wasting time navigating. Sometimes at home because of too many options on Netflix or Prime, everyone watches different movies on their own. Everyone to his own tastes!

When we watch movies at home, we take a break, we have interruptions, and sometimes we just don’t finish. Whereas in the cinema, together, we watch the entire film.

Due to the pandemic, many people of course stopped going to the movies and only watched at home. Now after the vaccinations; theaters have reopened. We have started to watch movies in the cinema again and I am sure that very soon it will be as before.

Carpe Diem! Watch a movie at the cinema!

Anuradha Sharma is a freelance writer based in Abu Dhabi

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