Dual-Screen Drift: Watching Two Movies At The Same Time

So, I had an idea… what if I tried to watch two movies at the same time? Twice the entertainment in the same span of time, yeah? That’s totally how it works, right? Surely it’ll work perfectly, and not be confusing at all. I figured this was probably a stupid idea… but why not do it anyway, just because I could?

Before this could even start, I needed to work out the logistics of the plan. My first thought was to trick the Netflix device limit by hitting Play on two devices at once. Obviously, that didn’t work, it just got me an error code. Then I remembered that I have a CD drive extension. Duh. Set the CD player on one side of the screen, Netflix on the other, and boom, we’re good to go.

the chickens are revolting

The other obvious question is the movie choice. For this test run, I wanted the two to be things I’ve already seen before. Chicken Run is a classic choice I haven’t seen in a while, and The Pirates! Band of Misfits is roughly the same length and was made in part by the same studio, so why not.

yar har fiddle-dee-dee

So, what did I notice while watching? First, the sound. Obviously, given that two movies were playing simultaneously, there was a sound clash. The Pirates‘ bathtub action distracted from the first night of rest from flight training in Chicken Run, while Chicken Run‘s second night dance ruined the dramatic tension of the Pirate Captain nearly being beheaded. Oddly, Chicken Run overpowered The Pirates more often. I was expecting it to be the opposite way around, given that the latter is more comedy-focused than the former.

Other notable examples include ‘God Save The Queen’ interrupting the opening stealth mission of Chicken Run, the pie machine escape sequence dominating everything until the scene in the Queen’s treasure room, and Ginger/Captain speaking over each other in their first conversation with Rhodes/Darwin, respectively.

Between the competing soundtracks and characters constantly talking over each other, most of the verbal comedy was lost. The visual comedy took a hit as well, given the need to constantly flip back and forth to look at both sides of the screen. If I hadn’t already watched both several times, I likely would’ve gotten lost by the halfway point.

The set-up I went with.

The experience wasn’t a complete train-wreck though, oddly enough. The two movies did clash frequently, but I also noticed a lot of strange similarities between them, at least story-wise:

  • Ginger/Captain and Rhodes/Darwin had several one-on-one discussions in tandem.
  • The main antagonists, the Queen and Mrs. Tweedy, both specialize in bladed weapons (sword/knife and axe, respectively), wielding them at similar points in their movies’ run-times.
  • Mrs. Tweedy pulls out and marks her egg inventory form while the Pirate Captain is still filling out his ‘Pirate Of The Year’ application form.
  • The science fair roughly overlaps timeline-wise with the second day of flight training.
    • This includes a rise in fame and climax foreshadowing.
  • The Pirate Captain and Rhodes are both confronted by their acts of deception at the same points in time, though their motives and circumstances are different.
    • Same goes for their inner decision to return and make amends.
  • Both films have a second wind to their climax, though Chicken Run‘s longer climax makes the timing different.
    • Both climaxes set their focus on a gigantic mode of transport (private cruise liner/makeshift airplane), and take to the skies for their second wind.

Is it because the same company had a hand in producing both films? Or are they both just following a similar narrative formula? Either way, it’s odd, seeing so many similarities between a movie about a chicken commune trying to escape the tyranny of a capitalist farmer and a movie about a tight-knit band of half-decent pirates aiming for the highest peak of notoriety. It’s something I never would’ve noticed if I didn’t try out this stupid idea. Moral of the post? I guess… don’t be afraid to try ideas, even if they seem stupid? It may not work, but at least you discover something new.