Disney Nature Presents Earth
Disney Nature Presents Earth

So, I know this isn’t the type of flick I’d normally watch, but I was pretty excited about checking out that new Earth film from Disney.  I mean, documentaries don’t normally excite me, but it seemed like the perfect kind of film to see in a digital movie theater.  We’ve got a couple in the area, so surely one of them would stop playing that piece o’ crap Monsters vs. Aliens to play something new?  So I went and checked the local listings today and, wouldn’t you know, it’s not playing digitally anywhere in the area!

I have to believe that the film was released somewhere digitally.  I’ve seen trailers for the film in digital before, but then again, that’s no definitive sign of a digital release (after all, I saw trailers for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull digitally before Spielberg specifically noted that the film wouldn’t be released in digital).  Yet, again, no sign of a digital release, at least anywhere hear in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

So why is it that a film so PRIME for a digital release would not be playing anywhere around here digitally?  I honestly, wish I could come up with a reason that actually makes sense.  The film was surely filmed in digital, with an aim for a digital release, but it seems like most, if not all digital theaters are still playing Monsters vs. Aliens.

My Bloody Valentine 3D
My Bloody Valentine 3D

It’s kind of a sad state of affairs.  Because there are so few theaters set up for digital projection, there’s going to be a constant battle for control of the digital theaters and even films created specifically for digital project (like anything in 3D, such as My Bloody Valentine or Journey to the Center of the Earth) will only enjoy a short shelf life as they were meant to be seen before you’re stuck having to watch them in 2D, or from regular film projectors.

At one time, you used to have to drive 100 miles to see a film digitally (not that long ago, considering, I think, the first wide released film that was also played digitally was Attack of the Clones), but now, most cities have at least one digital cinema.

Release dates were once partitioned out so that each film was allowed to have an appropriate shelf life (4-6 weeks) before the next piece of digital cinema was released.  Not so much anymore.  With a cartoon movie coming out every couple of weeks, how does a live action digital film vie for a proper digital release?  Would I rather see Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs digitally, or Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (which comes out one week earlier)?  Or, hell Public Enemies (which comes out the same day) or Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (which comes out two weeks after)?

Looking at local listings, I don’t see any mention of digital showings of Star Trek or X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  One of the local IMAX theaters is also digital, so I’m hoping that Star Trek will not only be playing there in IMAX, but digitally.  But no such luck for X-Men Origins.

Not that this is horrible, mind you.  After all, I’ve survived thirty years without digital cinema.  But now I’m spoiled.  Having seen a couple of films in digital, now, if a movie is playing digitally, there really is no option.  I will absolutely not see a film any other way but digital if I have the choice.  I mean, there is a difference.  I know for some people the scratches in the prints, and the rough cuts between trailers and reels, are part of the cinema experience.  But for me, I go to a movie theater because people create movies to be seen in movie theaters, and what better way to view those movies than in a scratchless, blemish-free, digital presentation?  I even love seeing trailers digitally – there’s no rough cut between then where they’re spliced together – no, it’s just a smooth transition.  The projector just starts, and the movie plays beautifully.

What say you, Madfans?  Have you seen a live action movie digitally?  Heck, even an animated film digitally?  There’s nothing better than seeing a CG movie in digital.    If you haven’t seen a film digitally, I’m sure at least 3 of the films coming out this summer will be playing digitally (most definitely Up and the aforementioned Ice Age debacle).  But wouldn’t you rather see Terminator: Salvation in digital?  If not, let me remind you….

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