The Dinosaur Project features a scene approximately a quarter of the way in, where the main cast are cooped up in a helicopter which is suddenly attacked by Pterodactyls. I realised that this scene would have come totally out of the blue, and would have felt ridiculously contrived, had it not been for an earlier shot of some news footage of a dinosaur in an African river. Fortunately I hadn't been talking on my phone when the news footage appeared, and so when the Pterodactyl attack happened I was mentally prepared for it, logging the film as being one that was likely to include dinosaurs.
It's amazing. I've been watching movies since I was about as tall as a grasshopper's knee, and never once in all that time have I deliberately missed anything, even going to the occasional bother of turning my phone off while entering the cinema in order to ensure my appreciation of the film I had paid to see would be as complete as possible.
Filmmakers understand that the people who've paid good money to see a film would generally speaking like to get their money's worth, and will often go the extra mile to make sure that every frame and line of dialogue in their product is worth sitting through. Often it's the least expository moments in movies that are the best. Who can forget that gorgeous moment in The Sword and the Sorcerer when one of the cast accidentally enters a harem and looks around with glee at the naked female bodies present? It adds nothing to the plot, but nevertheless caused considerable mirth among the paying patrons of the cinema in Sheffield where I first watched the movie.
I recently watched the Italian pastiche Bloody Sin: Abominations of the Third Reich with my step-daughter, who had been Snap-Chatting with her friends throughout the ninety minutes running time. At the end of the film, she asked me if the two surviving characters were actually the same two characters who had been conjoined twins during the flashback sequence earlier in the movie where we saw the Nazi experiments that had unlocked the seventh gate to Hell and caused the events of the film to come into being. "Yes," I told her, proud that even though she'd spent the entire running time focussing just as much on her social media as she had the DVD, she'd still managed to absorb enough about the plot for it to make sense in her head.
The implications of all this were fascinating: those films I'd found awful first time around probably actually were awful, and I didn't feel the need to go back and revisit them in case I'd missed anything. But those films that I'd enjoyed I had probably enjoyed because the producers, the writers and the directors had bothered to keep me entertained by rewarding my patience with interesting characters and situations, as well as with plots that were worth sitting through.
My existence as a movie-goer is not a sham. You pays your money and you gets your money's worth. Obviously if you don't pay you don't feel you owe the movie-makers anything - especially if you're being paid to write reviews that can ultimately have an impact upon their career prospects.
My own reviews, of things I sat all the way through, can be found in Starburst Magazine and at their website here: