Cinematic Magic No More: The Heartbreaking Truth of Movie Theaters

To start this blog post off, I want to be blunt about something, I hate pessimism. It drives me nuts seeing people being so damn pessimistic, but I have to do something I hate. I have to be pessimistic today. The sad truth, as someone that loves the cinema, we may be losing the heartbeat of the movie watching experience.

Today, Warner Bros and HBO Max announced that all films scheduled to come out in 2021 will premiere on HBO Max, the same day they are released in movie theaters. Which, yes I will admit from a safety perspective, this is a smart move. It will keep people home during this pandemic, as it is not necessary to risk our lives for entertainment. But, on the flip side, this may permanently hurt movie theaters and the overall movie viewing experience.

First let’s start with how important the movie theater is to the movie watching experience. I want you to think of a movie that you saw in a theater. Now think of the same film, but watching it on your couch. Did you have the same reaction, you had while watching it in the movie theater? I may be wrong with this assumption, but I bet it was a different experience. I can recall the first time seeing Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith when I was 13, my dad and I had so much energy after watching that and telling my mom “This was the greatest Star Wars film ever.” This excitement and passionate response would had never happened, sitting on a couch eating Flamin Hot Cheetos.

Also, I believe something like the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be hurt by the disappearance of movie theaters. I will never forget the feeling after viewing Avengers: Infinity War, we ate our half-off appetizers at Applebees in complete silence because we all felt like we lost a loved one. Also the feeling of Captain America wielding Mjolnir during the Climax of Avengers: Endgame and having the entire movie theater pop from their seats. These are moments that will disappear from the movie watching experience, we will lose that connection.

As I sit here and type this blog, I cannot think of a moment over the last nine months of watching movies from home where there was not some sort of distraction. Our phones are always near us at home, we don’t feel the need to turn off our phones to enjoy the film like we do at the theater. We get distracted easier and end up watching a film half assed, because of Twitter or Facebook. Most of the time, I find myself scrolling through IMDB and missing an important plot thread of a film. It is easier said than done, to simply turn off your mind while at home and enjoy a film for what it is.

Hopefully sometime in the future, rather it be late 2021 or sometime in 2022, I believe that we could still have that movie experience, but the threat of people becoming contempt with viewing a film from the comfort of their own home, is real. Truth be told, I hope that it is only WB that makes this decision and Disney does not follow them. If they do, it will be the end of the movie theater.

But after this semi-lengthy bitchfest, let’s all try to be optimistic and think about when it will be safe again. To watch a film with a bunch of strangers and to share that moment of joy or sadness that a film can produce, together. Of course, I am excited to watch Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day with the Christmas tree on in the background with Nora and I cuddling on the couch. Let’s hope I am wrong about film losing their magic, because that truly could be a magical moment. Who knows maybe we will adapt to this new method of movie watching and be able to find that sweet spot, where we can enjoy the magic of cinema in our homes. But we also don’t want to think of telling people in the future about the movie theater experience and what it once was.

Scuse Me? I liked Jar Jar Binks

With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker coming out today, it has caused a moment of reflection and even a confession, that confession being that I like Jar Jar Binks.

I was at the young age of seven when The Phantom Menace was released and the excitement that my father was exhibiting for the film was contagious, I found myself wanting to see this film. The Phantom Menace was the perfect storm of pod-racing, light saber battles, and awesome creatures, but the one thing I loved the most about the film was Jar Jar Binks. I loved that damn gungan. Jar Jar was entertaining and goofy, it was everything I wanted from a character.

Looking back on it, I can see why I loved Jar Jar, it is the same reasons why my baby nieces like me. The pure stupidity and goofy demeanor was enough to have me want more from this character at that age. It was hilarious to see this computer generated character act like a cartoon with his lumpy style of walking and goofy voice. I was the right demographic for the character and I was loving every moment of it.

When The Phantom Menace was released I thought it was brilliant, same with Attack of the clones but I would never forget the moments after seeing Revenge of the Sith. The third entry in the prequel series is by far my favorite and I think its due to the feeling of viewing it with my father. On the way back home from the theater, we could not stop discussing it and we had to tell my mother about that Darth Vader scene. This was the moment I realized how special Star Wars was, its a science fiction soap opera that brings the family together.

Over the years, I would become more fond of the original trilogy and realize the greatness of A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back would become one of my all time favorite films. That love I had for the prequels would disappear, especially when The Force Awakens was released.

Today, I have to force myself through Attack of the Clones, but I still love Star Wars. Although now I root for the villains such as Kylo Ren in the recent trilogy and Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace and the animated shows. Rarely do I find myself liking the cute supporting characters like Porgs (except Baby Yoda, so damn adorable). I have to look at Jar Jar Binks and not hate the character. If it was not for my fondness of Jar Jar as a child, I would not be looking forward to the finale of this galactic saga.

So this is a thank you Jar Jar! If it was not for your goofy ass, I would never realize how special Star Wars is. It could be said that Star Wars is the reason we created Noggin, because our first date was The Force Awakens.