The screen image deteriorates

November 17, 2014


As I sat in an early screening of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1” last week, I realized that I was experiencing a first in my career — which, at my age, is a rare thing.

It was the first time I had watched a major film at a screening for critics in a multiplex in which the film itself had a watermark (as anti-piracy protection) in one corner of the image for the entire film.

And it occurred to me just how far we’ve come (perhaps fallen is the better word) in terms of how we are willing to experience films, as critics and, eventually, as audiences.

Perhaps I’m old-fashioned – oh hell, I know I’m old-fashioned. But, once upon a time, reviewing films meant experiencing them under optimum conditions. I spent an adolescence of movie-love – in those dark decades before the advent of the VCR – settling for chopped-up TV versions of movies, which were censored for broadcast, as well as interrupted by commercials in afternoon and late-night hours. Revival houses inevitably offered 35mm prints bespeckled with dust and worse, often with missing frames or scenes. (More…)