I hate sounding like an old man when I write articles like these, but seriously people, what has become of America? For years the movie theater has been a sacred place to go and forget your troubles of the world for a couple of hours. A Disney film is likely the most sacred of all movie going experiences as kids are introduced to the imagination of movies, and re-releases of their classic films create cherished memories for the parents and the grandparents who take their kids to them. When Disney was re-releasing many of their classic films in 3D people accused them of using a gimmick to resell their movies. It may have been a gimmick, but anything to keep the tradition alive was okay by me. That was until I heard about “The Little Mermaid: The Second Screen Experience.”
Oh my gosh, this isn’t only the worst thing to come from a Disney rerelease but of ANY movie release! The tacked on 3D? I could go with it. The sing-a-long events? Kind of annoying, but also could be fun with the right audience. I could live with things like that because watching the movie was still the main reason to go. Now we have a release though that not only encourages people to turn on bright shiny devices in a theater (which is an annoyance movie goers have been fighting for many years at this point), but it also encourages you to use them throughout the movie! Play games, snap photos, sing songs, read trivia, do absolutely anything but watch the movie! Yeah, this whole ‘Second Screen Experience’ release exists to encourage people NOT to watch the movie they are paying to see!
Does anyone else see a problem here? Recently Entertainment Weekly wrote an article on the second screen experience, and how much more people were using a tablet, iPhone, or another device to keep themselves busy while watching a movie. Because God knows that people need something to do when they sit down and watch a movie that commands their attention. I scowled at the article because it’s disrespectful to the people who make the movies already to text during a movie, but to need another electronic device to entertain you while you watch a movie at home too? Just how ADD are people that they can’t give a movie two hours of their undivided attention?
But hey, if this is what you want to do, then be my guest. It’s a free country. If you don’t respect the movies or yourself enough to pay attention for two hours then there really isn’t anything I can say. But again, this is in the privacy of peoples own home. To bring this to the theater is far and beyond a bad idea. What happens if you want to bring your child to see their first Disney movie and “The Little Mermaid” just happens to be in theaters? Well, you better save your money because the audience will be too annoying to pay attention to the screen. In fact, if their promo ad is to be believed, part of the ‘Second Screen Experience’ will involve people blocking the screen with their iPads. How in the world does this make people part of the movie?
You know what makes for a great movie going experience? Watching the movie. Taking in the carefully plotted out storylines. Savoring the wonderful Oscar-winning music. Being amazed at the images on screen, knowing that those images were drawn by real human beings as opposed to the computer images that are made by pushing polygons around in a computer. THAT is how you watch a movie! THAT is how people should be watching “The Little Mermaid!” I hope that this ‘Second Screen Experience’ experiment is a huge failure and we never have to entertain the idea again. If this is a success…boy, I don’t even want to think what that would lead to in the future.