Surprise! The theater experience is even worse than you thought

Since nearly every chain theater in America went digital, I’ve noticed something odd taking place.  I can even remember the first film I noticed it: Saw III.  With it’s mostly muted colors and overall grey tone, the film appeared, to put it bluntly, too dark.  However, most of the Saw films were supposed to look like they were shot in a crypt, so I shrugged it off and returned to complaining about the group of underage teens who were talking and recording most of the film on their cell phones.

But then I started noticing it during other movies.  Sherlock Holmes, Clash of the Titans, Shutter Island, and this weekend, Pirates if the Caribbean.  Sure, I could see most of the action, but surely not all of these films were meant to look this dark and faded.  I would mention it to others, and often did, but they would suggest I get my eyes checked and start talking about how clear digital projectors have made films.

Guess what?  Turns out I was right.

Theaters are ripping us off and we have digital projectors and 3D films to blame.  Even if you’re seeing a film in 2D.  What am I on about?  Roger Ebert has written a great article that discusses this very problem and how it’s quickly becoming the norm.  Quick: Give it a read.

As usual, I’m glad to be right, however this looks to be a major problem that nobody is going to care to fix.  Ebert recommends that we should complain and get a refund.  He makes a great point, but I can already imagine the reaction I’ll get when I attempt to explain what’s wrong to some pimply faced teenager.

So…anybody else noticing this?

One Response to “Surprise! The theater experience is even worse than you thought”

  • cmwillis Says:

    Yeah. Digital compression is fine for daylight and well-lit scenes, but scenes that need to look are WAY to dark.