09 January 2010


S and I finally saw the movie Avatar yesterday and it was fantastic! Well, the effects and 3D were fantastic, the story line was just ok. I was reluctant to go because I'd heard that the story wasn't all that great and I don't always like sitting in a theater with noisy children, perfumed women, and texting teens. But I'd agreed to go and showed more interest when S said it was 3D and well worth seeing in the theater.

I was quite interested to see what it was like now that movie companies have revamped the 3D effects. I remember the green and red glasses you had to wear and I hated them. For some reason my brain just couldn't get my eyes to see the 3D that way unless I really concentrated. And even then it was just a blurry mess most of the time. I also can't see those Magic Eye pictures at all. My dad used to look at them in the weekend comics and tell me what was there and help instruct me on how to see it. But not matter how fuzzy I made my eyes, or how relaxed I was looking past the picture, it was just color squiggles to me...and it still is after visiting that link I just made.

Anyway, before the movie started there was a reminder to put your glasses on and then a little vignette of a dog and ball came on. The ball looked like it was coming right out of the screen! Then they showed a preview to Alice in Wonderland in 3D with Johnny Depp and OMG it was so cool! So before the movie had even started I was thinking that the $15.50/each we paid for admission was so worth it. About three quarters of the way through the movie I wondered why the 3D effects weren't being used as much, no more close ferns or floating embers. But then my cell vibrated and I took my glasses off to leave the audience to return the call (it was J, I made a deal with myself that no matter what I will return or answer all calls from the boys asap - they may be in trouble and need help). When I looked up at the screen I could see that the movie was still in 3D - I'd just gotten so used to viewing it that way. The filmmakers used a new kind of stereoscopic camera developed especially for this film, more can be read about that here. I really don't understand most of what I read there, except to say it's come a long way baby :)

The movie was so engrossing in the effects that the audience was much quieter than I'm used to. No noisy candy bags, popcorn munching, texting, talking, giggling, or fussy babies. That in itself made it a pleasure to view on the big screen. But when I see Alice in Wonderland I'll go extra early so I can sit in the middle instead of on the side.

We would have been earlier but parking was a bit of a nightmare and the lines were huge. I wanted to buy tickets online but didn't research it well enough in advance (I'd like to print the tickets on my computer as well, so I don't have to wait in line at all). There were two lines, one for box office sales and one for automatic ticket machines (like ATMs). Both lines were long enough that they were through two sets of doors and snaking outside. We each stood in a line to see who got to the front faster - S won in the Auto ticket line. I left my box office line to join him and we were waved down to the machine. There were nine machines, six on the inside of the theater (past both sets of doors) and three in between the two sets of doors. So we had to double back halfway down the line to buy a ticket at the available machine in between the doors. Crowded - but no problem. The machine takes debit - no problem. The screen went white during payment - problem. I got the employee to help, he directed us to the machine next to us and we did get a receipt saying the transaction was canceled. We re-did everything at the next machine - no problem. The machine said it was printing the tickets - problem. They were stuck inside the machine. So I got the employee again who had to open the machine and retrieve the accordion that was our tickets. The tickets were illegible so the employee had a coworker walk us past the ticket taker and into the theater. We didn't get to sit down until 15 minutes before the movie started so all the best seats were taken. I'd advise the theater to put the Auto machines somewhere else but they are in the best location at the moment. They used to be situated so you had to cross the box office line to get to them. Believe me, that was worse.

Hey, and a suggestion for cell phone manufacturers: make cell phone screens movie theater friendly. Instead of a glaring white screen that illuminates a three foot radius from the user, have a screen 1/10th as bright. Bright enough to see what you are typing, but dim enough not to disturb other audience members. And make the keys silent so audience neighbors aren't subjected to the tickticktick of texting. Or, yeah, leave the theater to answer texts. On my own selfish note I must say it would have been easier to text J back instead of get up, shuffle past three people, find my way down stairs, turn a corner, and return the call, go back around the corner, find the stairs, climb up while looking for my seat, shuffle past three people, sit down and watch the movie.

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