Presented in Widescreen
Now, I like my movies in the format they were intended: widescreen. Most of my family hate widescreen, they see black lines at the top and bottom of the picture as wrong. I’m not sure if it’s some subconscious belief that it’s broken, or that they think they’re not getting their money’s worth as it doesn’t fill the whole screen. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s because the picture is smaller (i.e. artefacts within the frame), so they have to strain a little harder to see it. There are a number of different widescreen formats (hat tip: Kottke), but anything that wasn’t shot in 4:3 (i.e. TV ratio), when changed to fit 4:3 loses something. This is often known as Pan & Scan, which basically means that the publishers chose what you see using a 4:3 size frame within the full widescreen version and move it about to try and make sure you get the best bits (read: action).
It’s a horrible system, and I dislike it simply because a) I know I’m not getting the movie I saw in the cinema (and many films are altered for video release, but that’s for another time) and b) I know I’m being shown everything, but what someone thinks is best for me. So do yourselves a favour, buy widescreen.