Around the time that smartphones became ubiquitous, I stopped going to the movies. I hated the way people would talk and text their way through a film, and it drove me to distraction the callous attitudes of movie-goers towards their fellow audience members. So I stopped going altogether. I much preferred to wait the three months before heading down to my local rental store so I could enjoy my movies in peace and quiet in the comfort of my own home. However, shortly after I had adopted this strategy, rental stores began to close with an alarming frequency, and since I had yet to overcome my aversion to obnoxious audiences, my movie watching became pretty scarce. And then I went and saw The Avengers.
While I wasn’t one of the millions who were part of The Avengers‘ record breaking opening weekend, I did see it within its first week of release, and as such, the theatre was packed. It had been years since I saw a movie with a full audience, and I’ll admit to being more than a little apprehensive as the lights went down, imagining the next two and a half hours to be a nightmare of bright screens and irritating chatter. However, I was also aware of the tangible energy in the room, and so I settled in, hopeful that this time, things would be different. By the time the words “Marvel’s The Avengers” hit the screen, accompanied by more than a few cheers and claps, I knew I was in for a special experience, and what followed was one of the best times I’ve ever had in a movie theatre. As a collective, we laughed along with the many zingers and one liners, marvelled at the distinctly Whedonesque banter amongst the sprawling cast, got caught up in the sweeping battle sequences, and roared with laughter at the Hulk’s eleventh hour smack down of Loki. While the movie was great, I came to realize after multiple viewings with less zealous audiences that it was the communal experience of thoroughly enjoying a movie that will forever be my connotation with this film. It motivated me to start going to the movies again, and in the 18 months since, I have seen and experienced more movies than the previous decade combined. More importantly, I have rediscovered my love for seeing films as they are meant to be seen: on the big screen as a shared experience.
This dedication was rewarded recently when I finally saw Gravity. Prompted by a friend’s recommendation, I sought out a theatre with the best available projector that was operating in 3D, and set out to experience this film that had gotten so many rave reviews. Reviews that turned out to be completely justified, as I sat in stunned silence at the beauty that was unfolding in front of me for 90 heart stopping minutes. Gravity was a wonder to behold, and one that I can’t imagine experiencing in anything other than a movie theatre. Writer/Director Alfonso Cuarón and the astonishing performances of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney have created a modern masterpiece; one that I hope will stand the test of time not just for its technological innovation, but for its inspiring story about the triumph of the human spirit. It was epic in scope, and yet simple in premise, and it made my heart soar in a way that only truly great movies can make you feel.
With more and more films coming out every weekend, my list of movies to see grows ever longer, but I’m more determined than ever to make the effort to get out and see as many as possible. While The Avengers may have rekindled my love of going to the movies, Gravity has set that fire ablaze, and I can’t wait to see what wonders the cinema has in store for me next.