The cinema is one of those eternal joys. I can't see it ever dying out, even though doomsayers have been predicting just that for decades. Radio was the first real competition, especially when movies were silent. But then Talkies came out around 1930, and radio doesn't have moving pictures. Television does, and it seems a stronger contender. Still, although ticket sales have declined, the film industry has responded by showing the kind of spectacle you can't see on the small screen. Epics like The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur, Spartacus.
Those definitely provide impetus to hit the movie houses, but I'd go even if the blockbuster never had been invented. For me, it's a chance to get away from the world. My daughter and I (and sometimes my wife) go into that darkened room, redolent with the smell of butter and popcorn. We've got our pop and our candy. The floor is just a touch disconcertingly sticky. You don't have to dress up to go to the movies these days, particularly in California. The lights go out, the curtains open, and for two hours (or more, if it's a double-feature or you get a couple of shorts) all of your worries disappear. It's a portal beyond reality.
Particularly if, like us, you're into the fantasy and s-f flicks. Let's face it -- if I want to see everyday drama, I woun't bother plunking down a quarter for the privilege. No, I go to the movies to see something other worldly. Much of it is subpar, but plenty is good. Moreover, the best of the genre have comedy and action to rival conventional movies in addition to possessing that element of the Beyond I crave. Not that I don't watch mainstream films: I saw Spartacus and Ocean's 11 last year. It's just that I also saw every monster, alien, and space movie that came out in 1960, and I plan to keep up the practice through this decade and beyond.
And tell you all about it...
With that, let me report on last Saturday's outing. The Young Traveler and I went to the local drive-in for the latest from George Pal, the wizard who brought us last year's amazing The Time Machine. On tap was Atlantis: The Lost Continent, a sumptuous swords and sandals epic a la The Seven Voyages of Sinbad.
(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)