When you’re a young film buff, just starting to dig in to cinema’s massive canon, there’s this feeling that comes with each film you watch. It’s a kind of high, really. It’s a mixture of bliss and astonishment, of wonder and revelation. In the few years you’ve lived up to this point, you’ve never experienced such an elaborate array of thoughts and emotions from a film. You understand what people mean when they say that films are “great,” and there’s nothing that you want to do more than consume as many of these great films as you possibly can. Cinema is your drug, and you’ve just taken your first hit.
But as with all drugs, the strength of the high fades as time goes on. You’re able to intellectually recognize “greatness” in films, and there’s still a fantastic wave of joy that comes with watching them. If there wasn’t, you wouldn’t watch movies anymore. But in the back of your mind, you know that you’re never going to get that original feeling back. The more films you watch, the harder it becomes for a film to surprise you, and becoming an adult means dampening that part of your brain that gets excited about absolutely everything that’s new. That’s just the way that the world works.
Why do I mention all this? Well, for a long time it’s what I assumed was true. It’s not true, though. I know that now. Because a couple days ago I saw The LEGO Movie, and I felt something inside me that I haven’t felt for a very, very long time. I felt like I was seeing something new.