It’s a question which has been troubling me for some time, just why do we bother trooping into the cinema and paying to watch films? After all what do they offer us that a good quality TV series can’t give us?

Emotional depth? I would challenge anyone to say that even the best film can develop its characters just as well in its two or three hours as a TV series can over a whole season. Shows like Battlestar Galactica, Mad Men, Ashes to Ashes and so forth have all developed their characters to a degree, which is beyond what most films can achieve. It’s the same with the quality of writing and scripting; the best series can significantly outdo films in the complexity and ingenuity of their story arcs due to the time period they have in which to develop them.

The advent of TV series with access to movie style budgets also means that the traditional dominance of films in terms of their special effects and action scenes has also been eroded. Yes some films, such as Avatar, are still light years ahead of TV special effects but they are also ahead of most films by a similar degree. Some TV series, such as Heroes, now have such huge budgets that they are capable of matching many feature length films in their visual capabilities.

Then there’s the cost of going to the cinema which, despite the advent of Orange Wednesdays, is still expensive. Seeing one or two films a week does take a bit out of your budget and when one figures that this is on top of paying your TV licence, Sky and for your TV itself, it does seem more logical to stay at home and wait for the film to come out on DVD.

So why bother taking the step of going out to the cinema? Why do hundreds of thousands still troop through the entrances each week? The answer is that going to a film is still an event; it’s still a pleasure that has the capacity to excite and surprise just as much now as ever.

James Austin

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