The trajectories of movies and TV shows
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
Movies are experiences where you can explore new worlds without being there and understand current events in an enjoyable way. With the proliferation of the TV, the film industry and movie theatres have been trying to think of new ways to tell stories and present them. New innovations like widescreen, IMAX, and 3D have kept people going to the movie theatres over the past few decades. For example, in my opinion the definitive way to watch Dunkirk is to see it in IMAX 70mm because Christopher Nolan filmed most of it in that format—you see the entire frame instead of the cropped version you get when you watch it on Blu-ray, and the film is presented in 18k which is the highest picture resolution so far and cannot be shown on a 4k TV.
Nowadays, movie theatres are struggling to attract audiences in the era of Netflix, which provides the same content except in the comfort of your home (although Netflix must release movies in theatres to make them eligible for the Academy Awards). After watching some of the films that Netflix has offered—including Okja and the Academy Award-winning Roma—both on the streaming service and on the big screen, I will say there is a difference in the impact of the films because when you watch them on the big screen, it is like you are there with the characters on screen and you react with people in the audience who you do not know.
Story-wise, it feels like there haven’t been a lot of original films released in this decade that would turn into instant classics and be passed to future generations to enjoy. Most of the films that were released recently have been superhero films, sequels, and remakes. Eight of the highest grossing films of all time have fallen into one of these categories, including The Avengers: Endgame which is on track to become the highest-grossing film of all time. An important thing to point out is that the film was entirely filmed in IMAX 3D.
In my opinion, it is not only my favourite Avengers film but also the best superhero film, and indeed the greatest film, of all time. The almost-three-hour epic is like a series finale of a show. In fact, all the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe between The Avengers: Infinity War and this film feel like a four-part miniseries that could have been simply titled The Avengers: Infinity War.
On the other hand, the quality of TV today is very high and shares in some of the magic of movies. For example, every episode of BBC’s Sherlock is the length of a movie and one season of Stranger Things is like an eight-hour film. If the last four episodes of the last season of Game of Thrones had been two episodes, they could have been Game of Thrones: The Movie. Of course, there is also overlap and crossover in television and cinema—Downton Abbey, my favourite show of this decade, will be releasing a film of the same name this fall, which will serve as a continuation of the series.
In my opinion seeing movies today is like watching TV except even better. You can watch almost an entire series on TV and watch the series finale in a movie theatre for a bigger impact. As long as cinemas continue to innovate, create original stories, and provide viewing experiences that can’t be achieved at home, we will still have movie theatres.