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Old June 5 2014, 02:00 AM   #1
Ho Ho Homeier
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Watching blockbusters on a small screen

Due to health problems, I've not seen a film in theaters since about 2002, and will never be able to again. So it's often months or years before I'm able to view a lot of popular films, but only at home by myself.

I've started to realize that although I didn't see ST2009 until 3 years later and on a small computer monitor at that, it may be why I'm not all that impressed with it, since it was the first Trek film I didn't see in a theater.

But this doesn't always apply with other films. I first saw Dark City on television with commercials years ago, and the concepts it presented fascinated me. I didn't own a copy until last year I think, and it's still mesmerizing.

I saw online trailers for Inception and Prometheus, read as much as I could about them, and finally got them last year or early this year as well. Inception still keeps my interest because of the ideas it presents and how it portrays them. Prometheus however, still feels like weak and unimpressive rehash of Alien, as if Ridley Scott's trying recapture those glory days by repeating himself. Technically, it's great production design and everything, but feels like a retread, despite all claims that it's creating a new sense of mythology in that universe.

I've still yet to see James Cameron's Avatar and ST Into Darkness, so I'm not holding out great hope for them either since I'm not getting the theatrical experience.

But why did Inception and Dark City work for me, when other films for the first time on small screen don't?

I suppose the easy answer is without all the window dressing, they're just crap. But they aren't always crap, there are still things that are interesting in them, but they just don't work on a smaller screen.
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Old June 5 2014, 02:47 AM   #2
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Re: Watching blockbusters on a small screen

It's all in your attitude. If you go into it thinking that it's not as good as seeing it on a big screen, then it won't be.

I've seen a few of the Trek films in the theater, but most of them on TV. Later, DVD on home video or computer. It makes me no difference if I can see a pimple on Spock's nose in IMAX 3D (rather not, really) or if I miss it watching it on the tiny screen of my Zune.

Think about it this way: if you were blind, what difference would it make? You would still hear the same sounds, the same dialogue.

I watched TOS many times over in reruns on a 19" black and white TV. Did it diminish the experience? Nope.

"Cursing the dark" is a self-defeating endeavour. Be thankful for what you have, and revel in it.

It sounds trite, but it works: Don't worry, be happy.
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Old June 5 2014, 07:34 AM   #3
Ho Ho Homeier
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Re: Watching blockbusters on a small screen

Man I hated that song by Bobby McFerrin.

I do miss the theater experience, so that is probably a big part of the problem. There are films I like from the 40s, made before I was born, so I've only seen them on tv. But I've seen a lot of films from the same time period I didn't like too.

Another film that I got because I'd been wanting to see it for years was Event Horizon. Good performances, nice effects, but it kept reminding me of a Stanislaw Lem story crossed with Resident Evil for some reason.
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Old June 6 2014, 04:47 AM   #4
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Re: Watching blockbusters on a small screen

Do you have Netflix? A lot of semi current movies seem to end up there. Soon after theatrical release.
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Old June 6 2014, 07:29 AM   #5
Ho Ho Homeier
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Re: Watching blockbusters on a small screen

No, I don't like watching films and tv shows online to begin with, and would never pay for the ability to do so. I prefer owning a physical copy so that I can suddenly stop and replay a scene 20 times in a row if I want. I prefer owning a library.
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Old June 6 2014, 08:07 AM   #6
LOKAI of CHERON
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Re: Watching blockbusters on a small screen

Home cinema is "my thing" as it were, and as such, I spend a lot of my spare cash on keeping a fairly elaborate cinema room constantly updated with the latest gear. I'm not going to boast about my set-up, but if I do say so myself, it's a damn fine recreation of the cinema experience.

However, even the largest screen and earth-shattering sound system doesn't rescue a stinker. For example, I missed "Pacific Rim" and "World War Z" in theatres. I picked them up on Blu-ray and just couldn't get into them at all - despite a first class presentation on my system.

Yet, back in the 80's, I loved TWOK viewed on a small CRT TV from VHS tape just as much I enjoy the current BD!
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Old June 6 2014, 08:34 AM   #7
davejames
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Re: Watching blockbusters on a small screen

Yeah there are some movies that probably do work much bigger on a big screen (even if that screen is just your 50 inch TV at home), like Avatar, Pacific Rim, or the new Godzilla. I've never tried, but I imagine those movies would be much less impressive on a small computer screen where the visuals can't make as much of an impact.

Although personally I don't think the test of whether a movie is truly "good" or not is whether the story can still hold up on a small screen. The movies mentioned above were clearly intended to be much more of a visual experience than anything else, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. As long as they're entertaining, that's all that counts.
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Old June 6 2014, 12:18 PM   #8
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Re: Watching blockbusters on a small screen

A film either works or it doesn't. In my opinion, if a film left you feeling "Meh" then it just ain't that good, and just because it was louder and bigger in the cinema doesn't make it any better.

The first time I saw Alien was on TV in pan and scan with commercials. And it still thrilled and terrified me.
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Old June 6 2014, 02:06 PM   #9
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Re: Watching blockbusters on a small screen

Increasingly, except for the timeliness factor, I've been wondering why I pay to see movies in the theaters. However, for some movies, just seeing it in a crowd adds to the experience. I think part of the reason I will always love Starship Troopers, no matter what, was that I saw it in theaters with a group freshman year of college. It was a bonding experience for us and the theater was full of people who were reacting to the movie as we were watching it. Granted sometimes that's annoying, but this time, it worked.

An extreme example of this is going to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show in a theater. You don't go for the movie, you go for the experience.
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Old June 8 2014, 05:55 AM   #10
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Re: Watching blockbusters on a small screen

Over the last few months I've watch The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Inception, and Terminator: Salvation, all of which are big VFX heavy action movies on my Nexus 7 Tablet, and I honestly enjoyed them just as much as I would have if I had seen them in the theater. I still like to go to see a movie in the theater if it's something that I really want to see and it's a big effects heavy action movie, but it's not a make or break thing for me. Going to see a movie on the big screen is still a cool experience, but if a movie is good it will be good if the screen is huge or tiny.
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Old June 8 2014, 04:10 PM   #11
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Re: Watching blockbusters on a small screen

I almost never see movies in cinemas. Apart from Edge of Tomorrow, which was a random spur of the moment decision to watch while I was out anyway, I don't think I've seen a movie in a cinema for at least 5 years, probably a lot longer.

Watching FX-heavy movies at home isn't a problem for me. If the story is entertaining (and I include braindead-but-entertaining within that) I still enjoy them. In some ways, they're much more enjoyable to watch at home because you're more comfortable, can have whatever you want to eat & drink, and generally can let yourself be immersed more. And it's not as if I have a big TV (10yrs+ old CRT, small size by today's standard though large back then, and similar era surround system).
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Old June 8 2014, 10:44 PM   #12
C.E. Evans
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Re: Watching blockbusters on a small screen

I don't really see that many movies period, but I can enjoy seeing one on my TV as much as I do in a theatre. I don't have mega bass surround sound or anything like that, but it's not a must-have for me. Oh, I definitely get the appeal of the theatre experience, but I can easily trade that up for the comforts of seeing it later at home. At home, I have the luxury of stopping a movie to make a quick kitchen run or bathroom break and then resuming it without missing anything (and even immediately rewinding a part I want to see again).

I guess it also helps for me that my TVs are fairly close to both my bed and my favorite recliner, so my comfort level at home is somewhere around 11 on a scale from 1 to 10...
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Old June 8 2014, 11:40 PM   #13
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Re: Watching blockbusters on a small screen

Melakon wrote: View Post
No, I don't like watching films and tv shows online to begin with, and would never pay for the ability to do so. I prefer owning a physical copy so that I can suddenly stop and replay a scene 20 times in a row if I want. I prefer owning a library.
You can do that with Netflix too.
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Old June 8 2014, 11:51 PM   #14
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Re: Watching blockbusters on a small screen

I watch 99.999% of all movies on my 19" LCD HDTV.
In fact, I've only seen about 16 movies (give or take one or two) on the big screen, in my lifetime:

Star Trek Into Darkness
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Star Trek (2009)
Zombieland
Iron Man
Star Trek: Nemesis
Red Dragon
Star Wars: AOTC
The Omega Code
Star Wars: TPM
Wing Commander
Starship Troopers
Titanic
That Darn Cat (1997 remake)
Ghostbusters II (at a Drive-In!)
The 'Burbs

So a movie has to hold my attention, as I will likely be seeing it on a very small screen. I do hope to have a nice setup one day, like LOKAI, but until then, going to the movies is still a rare, and almost magical, treat for me. So on my small screen they have to perform. Pretty VFX, alone, won't win the day for me.
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Old June 8 2014, 11:58 PM   #15
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Re: Watching blockbusters on a small screen

I haven't seen a movie theatrically in a long time. It's home viewing for me, but that wouldn't be the case if I didn't have a good-sized TV, a Blu-ray player and HD satellite. A really small screen and/or poor image quality diminishes my enjoyment of movies, and that goes for all movies, not just blockbusters.
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