Friday, July 1, 2011

New Perspectives On Movie Watching

                                    New Perspectives On Movie Watching


                                                                      Jay Agan

      Back in the day (Yeah, the old guy's gonna reminisce, so pay attention.) before what we know as home video, we were pretty much resigned to whatever the TV stations were going to air at any given moment. When it came to older films, one was stuck with watching lots of defective prints (cuts, burns, splices, etc.) with low quality sound. This was in the days before the film restoration movement wasn't even a glint in Ted Turners' eye.

      The BIG drawback (To me.) was & still is commercials. Tons of em'! Make no mistake. The primary purpose of commercial TV is NOT to entertain you. It is to induce you to buy stuff. Always keep that in mind. It's one of the reasons I don't watch commercial TV.

      Ads can really drag out a movie. Nothing like getting into a flick & BAM!, having to cool your jets for 5+ minutes as they try to sell you junk. I was turned off to a lot of films thinking they were slow paced & dragging. Later, when I started collecting tapes in '91, I noticed how a film I originally disliked would, without ads, pick up & come alive, "magically" transforming into a fast paced actioner.

      I'll use Tohos' The Mysterians as an example (Space alien scum want earth women! Oh yeah!? Bring it on!) Yeah, it's a cheesy (By todays CGI ridden standards.) little time waster. Chs 10 (WBNS) & 4 (WLWC now WCMH) would show this Japanese sci-fi flick off & on during the 60s & 70s. I always tried to see it even if it was a bit (To me.) overlong. Once, in 1965, I had to stop watching it & come to dinner. Half hour later I went back & noticed I hardly missed anything. That's how big  the number of commercials could get. In '92 I snapped up a VHS of it (I think it was a Goodtimes tape.). I was amazed at how much "peppier" it was without the ads.

      After a brief bout with cancer in '94, I got rid of my VHS collection & didn't touch home video again until 2001. When I did ..... Advancements in film restoration & technology opened up new things to me.

      I was cognizant of aspect ratio back in the 80s but I wasn't concerned with it overmuch. A movie was a movie as far as I was concerned. When I started on discs however, I made sure a film made after 1950 was in its correct ratio before buying & found it did make a difference.

Lobby card for The Mysterians. Credit: Toho Co. Ltd.

      Back to The Mysterians. Media Blasters/Tokyo Shock puts out an excellent example (Got it at Best Buy on impulse.). Had to have been gotten from a superior print. I was also pleased to recognize several "anime" names in the English dub cast. Campared to the Goodtimes VHS & past viewings on TV in bygone years, I marvel at what an expansive, colorful film it is. Instead of the washed out, cheesy, claustrophobic little mess I was used to, I was seeing it as it was meant to be without the constraints television has put on it.

      The Mysterians is but one example of the difference this technology has made for me in viewing movies. There are dozens of others. It has made "bad" ones good, & good ones even better.

                                          Article copyright © 7-1-2011 Jay Agan

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1 comment:

  1. Tooth grinding ensues.

    Commercials ARE the bane of watching movies. This is why TCM is such a wonderful boon to movie lovers.

    It is a reasonable way of thinking that holds that TV programming keeps you watching commercials. The adverts are THE reason for TV, now.

    We are plotting our way out of commercial cable Perdition. Local HD programming, Netflix, and we're done!