Posts Tagged ‘Blu-ray’

[LINKS AND IMBEDDED VIDEO PROBABLY CONTAIN SWEARING]

I can’t watch Star Wars anymore. I do not like it. That is a massive admission for me. As a cinema manager, film maker and a film lecturer I am often asked why I like film so much, and that wonderful trilogy was always the answer.

For three decades I have, at various points, collected the stickers, purchased the toys, played the board games, the computer games, the card games. I quoted the films and used them as a source of strength and comfort when life became hard. I even proposed to my future bride with a line from Star Wars.

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side … and you, are a good blaster, and I want you at my side for the rest of my life”

So what went wrong?

Of course the new films did not help, but I feel Simon Pegg summed up our feelings on that subject in Spaced.

I also hated the tinkering. The added special effects and the whole Greedo shooting first fiasco.

Filmmaker Kevin Smith used humour to point out the racism and the injustice of Star Wars. Just how many innocent plumbers and catering assistants died on the Death Star?

But what actually killed my passion for Star Wars was fandom.

The first time I noticed this was the last time I watched the trilogy. It was in Blu-Ray with surround sound, which was an amazing experience, but I did not get immersed as much as normal.

The reason for this is that I kept seeing and hearing the many parodies and satires, rather than watching the films.

Family Guy is a big culprit, but it is Vaders loss of villainy that has been the most damaging. Freddie (Nightmare on Elm Street) should not Rap and Darth Vader should not dance to M.C. Hammer.

There are videos of Vader being a jerk and being re-voiced by Arnie, but it is the video of him voiced by a character from Snatch that has changed the way I look at one of cinemas greatest villains.

All of these videos are funny and were never meant to be taken seriously. I laugh at them and share them, as I am doing now.

But it all seems like sunshine and giggles until you come to watch the original source material and realise that you can no longer see past the fandom.

As Danny says in Withnail and I –

“If you’re hanging on to a rising balloon, you’re presented with a difficult decision – let go before it’s too late or hang on and keep getting higher, posing the question: how long can you keep a grip on the rope? They’re selling hippie wigs in Woolworths, man.”

Star Wars has become a joke to me, and I am letting go of the rope.

Some people have said to me that they would rather stay at home and enjoy a film on their big HD TV, Blu-Ray player and surround sound system, than spend money and go out to the cinema where they will be annoyed by people talking, moving or pretty much existing. (You shouldn’t say things like this, when you do, a puppy dies somewhere)

“These hermits are clearly mad”, I would think to myself, as a well managed cinema is a delight and is the rightful home to enjoy film as it was intended.

However I recently went out and bought a Blu-Ray Player with surround sound speakers, to go alongside my Sony Bravia TV, and the improvement has been astonishing.

I am sure it wasn’t always this good. I remember seeing a friends HD TV 4 years ago or so, and I thought the image was really off putting. I am starting to think that Blu-Ray Discs were, and are, still so advanced that equipment such as TVs, Blue Ray Players and HDMI cables are having to run to keep up. But they are gaining.

So far I have only watched Beauty and the Beast (which I had free from a Disney Road show), the musical numbers are spectacular in surround sound and the Beasts roar made my bum tingle. But the great thing that this new kit has done is re-ignite my passion for film.

You can get films free with newspapers, pick DVDs up for £2 in a supermarket, download them, watch them on the many, many channels now available, or, if you are so inclined, pirate them.

So why own DVDs at all?

My Home Entertainment System has changed that. I am giddy once again and I am about to go on a spending spree to re-watch pretty much any film I have ever seen, but this time it will be in HD and the glory of surround sound. Blu-Rays are often packed with even more extras too, they have more value and deserve a place on your shelves.

Home Entertainment Systems allow cinematic films (such as Inception and Tron) to have a stronger survival rate when watched at home, and that can only be a good thing.(Where as literary films such as The Kings Speech make the transfer to home viewing far easier)

The way we watch a film matters, and being in a cinema is still the best way to enjoy them. The build up as the adverts and trailers pass by, the ever so exciting Pearl and Dean fanfare, the hushed tones as the lights dim, and the SHARED experience of enjoying an art form.

To laugh, cry, be thrilled or terrified amongst a crowd of strangers is a beautiful thing. It is society at its best, people coming together to hear a story.

Cinema will always stand alone and fear no competition (as long as they provide a good customer experience) but home entertainment systems should have you buzzing with excitement at the prospect of re-watching The Thing, Jaws, The Godfather, Once Upon A Time In The West, Kung Fu Hustle, The Terminator, Aliens, hell even Road House.

Film is ACE. For a little while I think I forgot that.

Further Reading

This is the Kit I got. I wanted one with small speakers, and you could send off for the original Star wars trilogy on Blu-Ray for free.

And this is the awesome Pearl and Dean music.