The first time I saw the computer animated film Final Fantasy, the Spirits Within, when it came out in 2001, was on a night I was supposed to be going on a first date. Well, sort of.
I thought that was the night of our date, but I had gotten the day wrong. Our date was actually the following night.
Since this was in the pre-cellphone days, I wrongly assumed that my date had stood me up, so I bought myself a ticket and went to see the movie by myself.
And I hated it. I hated everything about it. In fact, I was appalled by it. The story made no sense and the computer animated characters were deep into the uncanny valley. For all the money up there on screen, it felt like a complete fail.
The following day I realized my scheduling mistake. In the end, I never told my date that I had already seen the movie. I just went ahead and watching it again with her, as though nothing had happened.
And this time, I really liked it! Because I’d already seen the film, I could now easily follow the convoluted plot. And now I knew to just ignore the clumsy character animation. Instead I focused on the beautiful backgrounds, and found myself on a spectacular ride through a fun and inventive world, filled with endless visual delights.
I don’t think it would have been possible for me to have had that experience the first time. And I don’t think I ever would have seen this film again, had fate not intervened.
It makes me wonder — how many wonderful experiences have I missed because I thought it’s only the first time that counts?