As a child, I was not a big fan of watching movies, especially in darkened movie halls. This changed when I went to college. The four years I spent in Pune while doing my Engineering degree went by in a blur of activities, not least of which was watching as many movies as possible in darkened movie halls of all shapes, sizes (and smells!).
This happened nearly three decades ago, well before the advent of smartphones and mobile data. Which meant that the only form of entertainment available to us were watching movies (and the occasional music concert). It also helped that movie tickets were ridiculously cheap in Pune in those days (less than Rs. 10, or $0.20). The fact that our hostel was located bang in the centre of the city also helped as we could walk to most of the movie halls. And these were almost always never planned decisions. The call would go out around 9:15 pm to round up the usual suspects. A short discussion to finalise the movie and we would be off to the theatre for the 9:30 pm ‘last show’. Fun days…
I continued watching movie regularly through the first few years of my working life. Again, I was lucky that I spent a few years in Bangalore in the early part of this millennium, when multi-screen theatres had still not come up. There was still a romance in going to old-fashioned single screen movie theatres like ‘Rex’ and ‘Plaza’.
It was when we had children that we, by necessity, had to cut down on watching movies in a movie hall. By then, the age of satellite TV was well established, so we could still catch up on movies from the comfort of our house. And now, with streaming media, we hardly watch movies on the big screen. And I can’t say that I really miss it.
Anyway, all of the above was just to set the context for the main story.
I just finished watching Disney’s ‘Dumbo’ with my young kids. We streamed it on our TV, as we typically do these days. I am lucky in that I have a decently sized TV connected to a good speaker system. It can never replace the experience of watching a movie in a movie hall, but it provides a reasonable decent ‘movie’ experience.
And I enjoyed watching this particular movie with my kids. The cinematography, background score and (some) good performances encapsulated, for me, the ‘magic’ that movies provide. It was fascinating to watch the effect of it on my kids. They have typically been watching animation movies so far. And the first few minutes tested their patience. ‘Too many bid people talking‘ was my daughter’s comment. But as the main character made his appearance, they started getting swept into the action. And by the finale, they were hooked.
Yes, the movie did not receive very favourable reviews, but for me (and my kids), it was a wonderful couple of hours spent.