I typically see myself as someone a bit caught between times. In certain ways I’ve always been drawn to older materials in terms of film and television, but also seeking out newer ways in which to consume these products as I’ve discussed previously. In an age when there’s any number of ways to access new or recently released films I was surprised that one (at least) had escaped my commentary until recently. This could have to do with the fact that I hadn’t seen one in a while, but what I’m referring to is the in-flight movie.
In my experience there are two different presentations here: the communal screens, where either monitors or projection screens spread throughout the cabin are viewed; or personal screens, which are affixed to the backside of the seat in front of you.
My viewing experiences have usually been better with the latter. Though I’ve experience films this way on fewer occasions, I recall having seen anew and at first analyzed The Sixth Sense and then most recently I saw Chronicle.
Now based on those two I saw better movies in this way but there’s more of an intimacy. You’re still getting sound in a headset but there’s less to distract you from the image on screen when it’s right in front of you as opposed to the lottery of monitors and screens. A big screen on a wall might seem more cinematic, but you have not chosen your seat or your distance from said screen so in that case I’d prefer something a bit more democratically equidistant, that and I’m a front row kind of viewer anyway.
The biggest downside to in-flight viewing is the PA tapping into your headset, which will occasionally cause you to rip your earbuds out in shock not unlike when Dr. Evil screamed into his space-mike in The Spy Who Shagged Me, but other than that it’s a pretty good way to pass the time, much better than most.