2020 has taken away many of our small joys, including impromptu social outings, physical events, and even things as simple as catching the latest movies at the cinema.
In Adelaide, South Australia, we are incredibly fortunate that the global pandemic's impact has so far been minimal. After a few months of restrictions affecting gatherings and businesses, there's now some sense of normalcy. Unfortunately, social distancing is only adhered to if explicitly enforced — I'll still get people right up my clacker while getting groceries, just like the before times.
Despite the fact that many South Australian licensed venues have been operational for a while now, I've still been nervous about spending more time than necessary out of the house and haven't seen a new movie since The Rise of Skywalker last year.
Between my brother and I, we've wanted to go see Tenet, which appealed to us as a movie that deserved the cinema experience. That, and being a Christopher Nolan film, Tenet promised a certain standard of quality — criticisms of sound mixing notwithstanding. Eventually, we decided to finally go and see the damn thing.
From the moment we stepped into our local cinema, it felt like a homecoming. The big board of screening times attracting us like movie-going moths, the smell of fresh popcorn permeating the air, and the dodgy retro carpet welcomed us like old friends. Bloody hell, I even missed seeing ads on a big screen.
People are ritualistic creatures, and very few rituals appeal to me the same way going to a cinema does.
Even though my phone's do-not-disturb function is merely a tap away, I seldom use it for fear of missing an important notification, but watching a movie is different. Oddly enough, I have no qualms shutting my phone off for several hours when at a cinema, as I love the singular experience of absorbing the sights and sounds of a film unimpeded by any distractions. Which probably explains why I detest people who use phones or talk loudly during screenings. Those people are dicks.
Tenet proved to be the perfect return to the cinema. Although I anxiously read some tepid reactions to Nolan's latest production beforehand, these hot takes dissipated as soon as the bombastic opening opera house scene commenced. Being a sucker for high concept sci-fi, I lapped up Tenet's special brand of ridiculousness — even if I wasn't quite sure I understood it all.
Regardless, the action dazzled while Ludwig Göransson's cleverly time-manipulated score pounded into my head. It certainly helped that John David Washington and Robert Pattinson wore lots of nice suits, too.
It still pains me that No Time to Die won't be seen until 2021 at the earliest. It's films like Tenet and James Bond — the big, bold and boisterous experiences — that I love going to the cinema for and leaving everything else behind for a few hours.
Lean upcoming releases aside, I already can't wait to go back to the cinema for another window of escape from the world we're dealing with that can be shut off with big sound, a big screen and a switched off phone.