What watching a movie should be. A Lord of the Rings story.

by talkbackty on Jun 15, 2011

Last night I went to go see Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition in theaters.

They decided to re-screen LOTR to promote the release of the Blu-Ray extended editions.

Normally I'm not a fan of this marketing tool. LOTR gets a pass because it is the best trilogy ever.

That's right, I said it Star Wars.

But this isn't a blog about why LOTR is better than Star Wars. This is an entry about what watching a movie should be like.

Mainly...it should be exactly what happened to me last night.

I arrived early. I picked out my seat. On the screen was trivia based on the movies and books. Playing in the background was the music from the movie. This wont' fall into my necessary category, but it definitely was a nice added touch. I went to a movie and they showed me things actually related to that movie.

But here are the necessary things. The things that I believe all moviegoers and theater companies should adopt as ways of doing business.

1. No Ads. This is one of my biggest pet peeves. I go to a movie. I pay an entrance fee. Then when the clock rolls around and the thing I paid for is supposed to begin...I get bombarded with marketing. Do you want to go back out and get some overpriced food, drinks, and candy?  No I passed it when I came in.  Are you sure?  You'll have plenty of time, this honestly isn't going to start for awhile.  No thank you.  Do you want to watch trailers for new movies? No, I have youtube. I came to see LOTR. I don't care about the upcoming Transformers.

This practice would be akin to you going to a Subway and before they let you begin they spent 5 minutes talking about other companies, products and promotions. I have no problem with the theater running things before the show. After all, that's their screen and I'm not paying to have their screen. What I am paying for is a movie that is supposed to start at a certain time. NOTHING ELSE.

The worst part is that companies keep pushing the limits. Average amount of time on ads, trailers, promotions is now close to 15 minutes for every movie. I've sat through ones that were 25 mins. I honestly have watched an episode of TV on my phone.  It's like they keep pushing more and more to see how much crap we'll take. Stop it.

For the record, LOTR had no ads. At 7pm (the time my ticket said) the movie began, with only a reminder to turn off your cell phones. Classy. Intelligent. Thank you.

2. Director intros. Peter Jackson (on location while filming The Hobbit) gave a nice introduction to the movie, and will for the next two as well. He seemed genuine, happy, and, most importantly, grateful. He knows the Blu-Ray is coming soon. He knows that the DVD's are already out. He knows movie theaters can be a hassle. And he thanked us, as an audience, for coming out and watching the movie as he intended it to be seen. Uncut and on a big screen.

Outside of L.A. or film festivals people are not used to this. Trust me, it is one of the nicest things to feel that your patronage is appreciated. It also gives creators a chance to share a moment with their audience. Something, I feel, is missing too much from society today.

3. Attentive Audiences. Ever had someone ruin a movie for you? A crying baby, a loud teenager, an avid texter. The stereotypes are numerous for a reason. Other people can ruin a movie.

Not here. These people knew what they were coming for. I'm guessing 98% had seen the movies before. The 2% were those people's children who were too young or not alive when the originals were released. Either way, everyone was lovely.

In a three and half hour movie, guess what? People will move around. Bathroom breaks. Shifting to get comfy. Standing to get some blood flow. And that's ok. If you remember where you are. Everyone was respectful and quiet. Not a single cell phone went off for almost 4 hours. Let me know what the last movie was when a cell phone didn't go off.

Even the cute, completely unnecessary, ducking while you pass in the front row was a testament to the generosity of the audience. They didn't want to ruin anyone's experience because they wanted their own.

I have honestly never had a better movie going experience. And I look forward to going back for The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

That's right, me. 

 The same guy who doesn't go to movies at night anymore just so I can avoid the crowds. The same guy who will drive half an hour to go to a smaller, more out of the way, less populated theater just to avoid crowds.

I am looking forward to going to a packed house.

Because it is how movies should be experienced.