From the grumpy old man file:
Remember bass player Felix Pappalardi of the rock group "Mountain"? He was one of the first sixties rockers that I remember going deaf from the ultra-high volume of their concerts.
I was reminded of Pappalardi's disability the other day when I tried to take Natalie to the movies - a showing of "Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of G'Hool" at the Pacific Theatres at the Grove.
I've felt for a number of years that the volume at which movies are projected in theatres has been slowly creeping up, but I put it down to my age and general sensitivity. But after the endless advertisements and the lights finally dimmed for the endless trailers, the decibel level from the speakers behind the screen almost knocked me out of my wheelchair, and Natalie stuck her fingers in her ears until I looked over and saw that she had broken out in tears.
I yelled for the projectionist to turn it down, but of course he or she could not hear me over the din. I finally wheeled outside to the lobby and complained, only to be told by the usher that another patron had asked to turn it up!?!
Natalie had really been looking forward to the movie but she told me that she wanted to leave and we went and got our money back.
Is there any national or local standard governing the volume at which movies can be projected? Has anyone checked the decibel level lately at their local multiplex? There must be some limit to what the normal human ear drum can tolerate. Has anyone else shared this experience?
I know I sound like a generationally-challenged curmudgeon for those of you grooving on the transformational sound design of Transformers, but I can't help feeling that the extreme volume at which movies are being projected today is also some desperate attempt to compensate for the lack of volume to their content.
If C.S. Lewis is correct, and "pain is God's megaphone to rouse a deaf world", then in spite of all other evidence to the contrary, God is alive and well at your local multiplex these days.