Close encounters of the third kind
2001 A Space Odyssey
I don’t know why I am writing all of this down. Wait… I do. It’s because someone, someday will relate to this and make a comment and I’ll get a ding ding in my coffin.
I came home today, sat in front of my computer, and for a whole half hour, imagined I had two close friends in Kolkata, like practically family. I’m talking, sharing-Netflix-password-level of friendship. I hadn’t decided on spending a half hour doing this, it just happened out of nowhere. It doesn’t help that I haven’t met anyone outside of work for the past month. It was bed-rest, hospital, work, home, work, home, movie theater, hospital, bedrest, work, home, nightmare. I haven’t been this alone since, never. And, when you’re alone, you start to use your imagination more. A friend’s mom once told me that life will not always be the same. There will be times of loneliness and reading books would help me get through it. It took me four years to finish the Godfather, and I loved it, but never again. It was something I took up during the first year of college, and immediately regretted it because I kept forgetting the characters, and their backstories (except for the very creative sex scenes), now, that’s what I call a ‘graphic novel’. Wait.. that’s not a graphic… anyway, it’s too much information, is what I am trying to say. A movie on the other hand, not a big deal. My attention span can deal with 2001: A Space Odyssey with zero trouble. I could watch that spinning bone for hours.
I have new OCD habits. At night, after locking the front door, I check every room for ghosts. Ever since watching Hereditary, I now also check the ceiling for crawling people.
Back in the day, I would go to watch a movie, and be so immersed in it that when the movie ended, I would get struck by this bolt of depression, because now, I had to go back to my shitty, regular life. But now its different. I still get the depression, but then I go,” It’s not that bad. My life’s not that bad. I can eat a burger and watch You tube”.
Have you ever thought about how movie theaters lure you in with the cheap ticket prices and then you have to sell your house to buy a Pepsi?
My manager (also referred to as “cocksucker” in my other posts), made me work overtime today. Luckily, the task at hand was cinema hall-audio-design, which is what I was BORN TO DO. While working, I realized that I never really left the cinema hall after watching Jurassic Park, back in 1993. I was 3 years old when it came out. But it made such a great impact on me that in my head, I still roam on the island of wonders(and man eaters). Everything we see in the movie emerged out of Steven Spielberg’s imagination. The way the actors talked, the way the dinosaurs moved, the way it rained, was all envisioned and painstakingly crafted by the director. So in a way, all of us got to see how the director’s brain works! We got to see a little bit of his creative mind and his thought process. By broadcasting the movie, he was actually beaming his thoughts to millions of people. How cool is that? Millions of people viewing his mind all around the world. I think it is the most mysterious/awesome type of communication in the word!
(I hear people who read books feel the same way about writers. Fuck those nerds and my ADHD)
Warning: This post will derail into several unrelated topics. Let the adventure begin!
Date: November 12th 2017
Time: 10:30 pm
Movie: Thor Ragnarok a.k.a. Rainbows
Audio configuration: Dolby Atmos
Depression level: mild
Popcorn: chilly cheese
Verdict: Meh. Auro 3D wins.
It was nice to see a good mix of loners and couples in the audience. Despite being a loner myself I was slightly uncomfortable with the close proximity that some of the other loners maintained with me. So I gently got up, went to the restroom, came back and sat in a completely different seat(like a man). It was interesting to see that all the loners had also left the hall, possibly to use the restroom. What was even more interesting to see was upon returning they looked around for me and sat right next to me again. I felt like a shepherd who came to watch Thor with a flock of sheep. I wasn’t threatened however. Most of them were nerds like me. Its easy to spot nerds and weirdos. Nerds keep checking their “notification-free” blank phone screens while weirdos secretly stare at people. I guess that makes me a weirdo too. Learning everyday! Back to the topic. I did not feel very enveloped in sound which is the whole point of ATMOS. The quality of audio I experienced does not justify the extensive use of expensive, high quality speakers. Maybe the audio was “too real”. I don’t know. I am aware that the audio in Thor is not great but I feel the whole ATMOS thing was overhyped. I guess movies need to be mixed properly to take full advantage of ATMOS system. I am obsessed with surround sound. It might be because I am a homebody. However I think it plays an important part in todays cinema.
My theory on why surround sound is important:
Movies are getting realer. That’s not a real word but its true. We like it when there are “real” emotions, real weather and obviously, real sound. And for sound to be real, it has to come from all directions. It has to envelope the listener and take them on a journey away from reality. Wait… that contradicts what I just said but you get the point. This might come as a surprise to many movie enthusiasts but natural sound is surround sound at its best. Yes, I am talking about the sounds that you hear everyday. Take a moment and think about the sounds you hear everyday. Replay them in your head. I’ll help with a few examples from my exciting life:
- The sound of the alarm that reminds you everyday that there’s no escape. Even with your eyes closed you are able to make out in which direction the sound from hell is coming from. All it takes is a little fumbling around with the hands on the table, making way through all the antidepressants, bills and maybe a drop of the cellphone until you finally feel the familiar snooze button.
- Annoying roommates ,their radio and their general happy mood. For some reason, your roommate thinks the only way to spread joy is to make sure that her favourite DJ’s voice reaches aliens clearly.
- Neighbourhood dogs
- Thunder- You might have noticed that these types of sounds create uneasiness in the mind. Other examples include tremors, storms, etc. Studies have revealed that we are pre-programmed to dislike or fear these type of sounds as they signal danger. Just another gift of evolution.
- Drunk people in the night
- Lovers whispering
- Occasional hip hop fan driving by with the windows wide open, spreading happiness in his own way
What all of these sounds have in common is that you can localize the source without having to actually see them. We need the same effect in movies. This is what Dolby, DTS, Auro 3D,etc. have been trying to replicate for years. Stay tuned for my next post- “Stereo, I don’t hate you”
No one needs to care about other people’s opinions on movies and music because it is entirely a subjective thing. But I have to talk about this movie. I just need to. Well, actually about two movies that were made 35 years apart.
I am so glad that I watched the original Blade Runner before watching 2049. I cannot imagine the amount of the work that has gone into the making of this movie. I had no idea that it was even possible to make such a great movie that long ago. The thing about the original Blade Runner that caught my attention the most was the attention given to detail. Every single restaurant, gadget, people and cars they show in the movie has been so painstakingly well crafted. But most importantly, not overdone. The storyline is very well thought out. I can confidently say that Blade Runner 2049 has done justice to the original, which is my polite way of saying, “they did not fuck it up”. The fact that they brought back Decker’s partner from the original, is simply kickass. The best part about this one was its sound. Its basically noise and it is amazing. It sort of “shapes” the movie in such a way that it invokes curiosity.
Its awesome how writers can put forth an “idea” to the viewers by virtually showing them what goes on in their mind. Sure, its not possible without amazing direction. In this case, its the idea of how one day machines might learn to give birth. The “more human than human” idea is kickass! Through these movies, we get a glimpse of how people and machines might treat each other if such a weird time would ever come. Finally it shows us however fucked up the world is, there will always be a few good people who are willing to take on the burden for the rest of us.
Mind-blowing ideas like this were put forth in movies like The Arrival, 2001 A Space Odyssey, etc. However, these are not the kind of movies where you can just loose yourself and have fun. If that is what you want, try watching a movie called Mad Max. Now that’s fun.
I was the kid who always wanted to be the “good guy” (I always chose to play as counter-terrorists in Counterstrike even though there were “rumours” that the terrorists were more powerful. Those were weird times). My heroes were Optimus Prime and Swat Kats.
However, there is something admirable about certain movie villains. So admirable that they almost make it look like the makers of the movie want you to “like” the villain more than the hero. Its like, the movies wouldn’t be the same without these villains. The kind of movies that I am talking about are
The Dark Knight
So what’s wrong with Split? We have a dude who goes around kidnapping girls, makes them take off their clothes and finally eats them. Seems like a pretty good role model to me! Obviously this guy is psychotic and needs to be stopped but despite his mental problems, he has unbelievably good discipline! And most importantly, he has good taste in music. Damn those moves were killer(no pun intended).
Jake Gyllenhaal’s character in Night Crawler inspired me. That guy is as creative as Casey Neistat! He’s the kind of guy you would want to be part of your start-up company. He’s got the ideas, plans and most importantly, the ability to do some kickass talking.
I could go on and on about these villains. Obviously, they are all horrible, fucked-up people who deserve to be stopped. However I found some interesting qualities in all of them. For example, all of them have such determination that makes them almost unstoppable. I admire their drive. They are all “perfectionists” and they are really good at what they do.
One last thing about Split:
Everyone’s thinking it. I am just putting it out there. That “Beast” thing was just bullshit.