Small screens don’t give you the full picture

The joy of getting a second shot on the big screen.

I watched Aliens with some friends the other night. James Cameron’s classic sequel is one of my favourite films, but there was a problem: my TV is too small. Not because it’s old, from before the time of 60-plus inch mammoth home entertainment systems, but because a 60-plus inch ultra 4K TV still isn’t a cinema.

Truly, this is a question of go big or go home and home just doesn’t cut it. Film lives on the big screen. It’s in the way they’re shot, the way the sound is balanced, what your eyes gravitate to when they’re shown on a screen with enough mass to dominate your field of view.

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You could (and still can) find Blade Runner 2049 showing at every big cinema across the country, but seeing Ridley Scott’s original isn’t quite so easy and that’s a shame. I’m delighted to live in a city with cinemas that share this opinion. There’s not as many as I’d like to be sure, but places in Edinburgh like the Cameo and the Filmhouse offer the chance to see older films the way films are meant to be watched. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen Nightmare on Elm Street and Predator as I might have seen them in the mid-1980s. I’ve seen personal favourite The Thing, among others, in the same environment I’d never have had the chance to otherwise, because I had the misfortune of not being born when they released.

It strikes me as sad that more places don’t do this so often; it’s a uniquely warm, collective experience. I sat seeing Predator in a crowd of strangers, but every one of us was on the same page, because every one of us knew the script. We laughed together, were silent together and delighted in Schwarzenegger’s awkwardly iconic delivery together. It’s a shameless exercise in nostalgia no doubt, but it’s nice to leave a cinema knowing everybody enjoyed themselves as much as you did.  

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These things bring people together. Whether it’s a showing of The Room where everyone throws plastic spoons, or an all-night horror marathon showing legitimate cult classics. Maybe that isn’t quite ‘as intended’ after all, but it’s probably just as good.

Now if I could fit or afford a 40ft screen into my home that would be wonderful, but such as it is, the cinema is the only place I could experience Aliens like James Cameron envisioned and I hope to see it on a listing one of these days. Do let me know, I wouldn’t want to miss it again.

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