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Miniaturized films

James Cameron says watching films on a iPhone is “dumb”

Wow.  I really do not agree with this.  If your movie is actually good, it should stand up to the “watched on a iPhone” test.  Really good movies are about story, not flashy visuals.  And yes, I’m looking at you, Avatar.  Without the 3D big-screen experience, your movie is a blandish rehash of Last of the Mohicans.  And that is why I won’t buy your movie until I have a 3D capable big screen TV.

I remember watching movies when I was growing up on 14-inch screens that I had to sit *at least* 6-8 feet away from (Mom’s orders) and absolutely loving them.  I will argue that watching a movie/TV show on my iPhone or PSP at a distance of 2 feet or so is fairly similar.  Do you see every detail and get every nuance?  No.  But I will tell you this: watching Mad Men on my PSP is just as engaging as watching it on a full size TV.  That’s because it has a little thing we like to call story and narrative.

Look, do I think watching movies on a big screen in HD with a good sound system is nice?  Yes, of course.  And I do think you can get more from the experience that way.  I remember a time when my dad came over and we watched Saving Private Ryan.  He was constantly exclaiming about how much more he could see on the bigger screen, and at one point when tanks were coming from off screen he said he had never known before why the guys were just standing around (the tank sound came out of my subwoofer, so on his regular TV he literally never heard the tanks coming).

However, let us not forget this key point:  a bigger screen and better sound generally emphasizes.  If the movie is good, then the bigger screen and such will emphasize that and make the experience better.  However if the movie isn’t so good (like the movie Sara and I just watched, New Moon), it’s the bad that gets emphasized.  Sometimes this can be hilarious (New Moon, Ultraviolet, G.I. Joe, etc.), but often I really doubt that’s what the director was going for.

So to you rich filmmakers and such who think that the iPhone isn’t your market, let me say this:  stop making tech demos, and start making real movies.  I’ll gladly watch the pretties in 3D on the big screen, but that’s were they’ll stay.  If you make a movie or show that can keep me riveted to a screen the size of the iPhone’s, then you’ve really achieved something.