Opinion: A Response to the Toronto Star’s article on the Effects of the Digital Revolution on Film

Cineplex Odeon Queensway – My Multiplex of Choice

Original Article: Toronto Star

There is an interesting article in today’s Toronto Star in which Geoff Pevere analyzes the effects of digital media on film and specifically asks question about why people still go to the movies when they can just as easily download it to some device.

The article credits the creation of multiplexes with saving movie theatres, after the invention of home video.  However, this is also a move the resulted in the closure of many old-school single/dual screen movie houses.

The main reason the article gives for people still going to movie theatres is that they go for the social experience, with the movie theatre being a great place to go with friends.  That said, the article quotes the shocked response of Atom Egoyan after he was disturbed by all the talking an texting that went on in the theatre during a screening of The Social Network he attended.

I believe that it’s true that for most casual filmgoers, going to the movies is purely a social experience and the movie would often come second to talking with friends (the article even quotes a group, who said they didn’t even decide on a film until after arriving at the theatre).  I myself consider myself to be part of the dying breed of cinemagoers, who see going to the movie as a truly absorptive experience.

The Humber Cinema – set to reopen as a Rep House

The reason I still prefer seeing films in theatres, as opposed to other (presumably cheaper and easier) means is that I consider the theatrical experience as being the only true way to experience a film the way it was meant to be seen.  When I was taking Film Studies at York University, we were always encouraged to watch the screenings in class for that very reason.  I also try to see films at smaller independent repertory cinemas when I can, since they tend to be more intimate (and less expensive) than the increasingly corporate multiplexes.  I’m actually quite looking forward to the reopening of, my former local Cineplex, the Humber Cinema, since it will offer a close-to-home alternative.

As for the talking and texting, which the article credits as a major detergent, I try my best to ignore it the best that I can.  While, I have had some film experiences, which were greatly impaired by teens that just wouldn’t shut up, I usually avoid this problem by going to mostly matinee screenings (since the younger, noisier, crowd often go to the night shows).  That said, for certain genres of film, a little crowd noise actually helps the film experience.

With my recent subscription to Netflix I somewhat embraced the digital revolution, however I don’t think Netflix is currently a serious threat to films playing in theatres.  As long as there are still move theatres playing movies, I will be going to them once, maybe twice, a week.

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).