Don’t vajazzle my movies

August 16th, 2012

We must never let this happen here.

There is a growing trend for taking the simple and enjoyable act of going to the cinema and vajazzling it into something else entirely.

I am referring to a British outfit called “Future Cinema” that seems intent on “jazzing up” the cinema experience with ridiculous novelties.

Here is a video of their screening of 1980s classic Top Gun:

As you can see, they turn watcing a movie into a collective theatrical experience. Their website claims they create “living, breathing experiences” and bring “a sense of spectacle back in an age of multiplexes”. and how do they do this? the website says it is achieved “through a unique fusion of film, improvised performances, detailed design and interactive multimedia.”  

Their next production will be based around a screening of Grease. I honestly can’t think of anything more horrifying.

For a start, I cannot stand Grease. I like a good musical, but I cannot abide the film’s message, which is essentially: “Conform. Conform. Conform.” the film says that if you dress and behave like everyone else, no matter how uncomfortable that makes you feel, you will be happy and popular. Ugh, where to start with that nonsense?

But Future Cinema thought they could improve on the atrocity that is Grease. It feels as though a group of extroverted showoffs went to the cinema and thought: “Well, this is all well and good, but is there any way we can make this experience all about me? is there a way I can turn the century-old, elemental experience of cinema into an excuse for everyone to look at me? how can I make this an excuse to dress up and attract attention?”

Of course, there are historical precedents for this sort of nonsense. Whenever cinema goes through a crisis, it attempts to reinvent itself, always losing sight of its core attraction in the process. in the 1950s and 60s, when cinema was under threat from television, a showman called William Castle bought a series of silly novelties to the cinema to draw the crowds back. his most famous was the Tingler, a film about a creature that gives you a tingling sensation in your spine when you are scared. Castle rigged some seats at his screenings with vibrating motors, so audience members would feel their own real tingle at key moments. Castle is brilliantly captured in Joe Dante’s lost classic Matinee.

But the age of novelty faded in the 1960s and cinema survived. I hope the same will happen again now. These novelties are amusing, but they miss the point. Cinema is already a collective and theatrical experience. It does not require vajazzlement.

Cinema is an immersive experience and so things like vibrating chairs and out-of-work actors in costumes will only detract from the experience.

In other words: It ain’t broke, so don’t fix it.

But what do you think? Am I being a grouch? Do you think the horror of “Future Cinema” looks like fun? Am I too harsh on Grease? Post below.

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Don’t vajazzle my movies

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