I've been avoiding going to the movie theater for a while. After years of weekly attendance, I've cut down to perhaps five times a year. Recently, I developed the suspicion that what keeps me away is the sound.
My sudden decline in attendance coincides with dramatic sound enhancements made at the local theaters. Movie sound had been bothering me for years. This 1997 movie had sound effects that drove me up the wall. No one could walk anywhere -- even when they are sneaking up on someone -- without tromping footsteps. I avoided seeing the movie "Gladiator" after I heard the trailer: the clanking sound effects were absurd and distracting.
Worst of all is movie music. Are you supposed to be able to ignore it? The music is terrible, loud, and intrusive. It is constantly ordering you about, telling you when to feel what. You don't have the chance to have your own feelings based on what is happening on the screen.
Yesterday, I was flipping channels on the television, and the movie "Troy" came on. There was a big battle scene, with spears and shields and burning arrows. It was semi-ridiculous. Still, I might have been able to imagine what it would have been like to be there, fighting like that. They went to a lot of trouble to depict the battle techniques. But the blaring, insane music made that kind of engagement with the story utterly impossible.
I know "Troy" is supposed to be a bad movie. But looking at it yesterday crystallized my thinking about what I hate about movies. It's the sound. What torture "Troy" would have been in a theater with all those oppressive speakers bearing down on me!
Making movies into an intensely physical auditory experience has ruined them.