Saturday, December 19, 2015

On The Light Side of the Force

I have been getting more  in touch with the Light side of the Force this weekend.

I have been to see Star Wars The Force Awakens twice now. Once in 3D at a regular theater and then once at  the IMAX. This was not my original intent.

I got my first ticket for opening day two weeks ago. I bought it in advance on Fandango. If you had never used Fandango before, I highly recommend it. Usually all one has to do is present their credit card that the ticket was purchased with, and collect the tickets, but I chose to print my ticket instead. I also highly recommend this method, as I was able to bypass the line and go right in.

Around the same time, my company announced that it had bought out the 4pm showing.  The powers that be had decided to sell the tickets to raise money for our Employee Assistance fund. This fund benefits employees who have faced a tragedy. It was established after the tornado of 2012 when several employees were impacted, myself included.

Because Birmingham's IMAX was one of only fifteen in the country showing the movie, I thought it would be a unique experience. I called my mom and brother to see if they wanted to go. I purchased tickets for that showing as well. The fella at work in charge of the tickets said that there were only six people who managed to buy tickets before my company bought out the theater. The rest would be coworkers and their families.

Unless you are living under a rock, there is no way to avoid all the hullabaloo over this premier weekend. Commercials for everything from new cars to soup, reference it.

Several friends had gone to the midnight showing on Thursday, so I had heard  some good things from them (but no spoilers)

I went to the noon matinee, and like I said, waltzed right in.  Given this was the last school day for the neighboring schools, it was no where near as busy as it was usually. I chose a 3D version. I collected my glasses, bought my popcorn and drink and headed for my seat.  There were maybe 20 other people in the theater.

There were no posters or cutouts for the movie, anywhere in the building, which I thought was really odd. I was reminded of the last three movies, all released in May. We saw "Phantom Menace" on rainy day during our honeymoon. "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith" had both been after anniversary dinner entertainment.  I remember there being many more cut-outs for those.

 On the way to the theater, I took a moment to grab a quick selfie with the poster for "JOY," a Christmas day release of the biopic about business mogal and HSN regular Joy Mangano (Miracle Mop, Huggable Hangers, My Little Steamer, the Roly Kit and the Clothes It All luggage system, just to name a few.)


After all, how often does one find one's own name on a movie poster? I couldn't resist, even though I take horrible selfies.  But I will definitely be seeing this one on Christmas.

After sitting through 30 minutes of trailers, mostly sequels of other movies, the main event finally started. Aside from the occasional person getting up to leave the theater for bathroom or snack runs, it was really quiet. As the stars of the original movies came on screen, there were no cheers, and the few humorous moments were met with silence. I will admit, after a full bag of popcorn, I was a little drowsy. I nodded off for a minute during, of all things, a particularly nasty battle scene! There is a particularly disturbing plot twist, that left me nearly in tears, and the ending was a little anticlimactic for my taste, but opens up the story for a sequel. I waited through the credits, but there was no stinger. (That little bit of film, usually included post-credit. Think of the "Go Home" scene at the end of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. That is a stinger)

When I emerged from theater, there was quite a line for the 3:30 p.m. showing.

Today, I puttered around the house, doing laundry and such,  waiting until time to meet the parentals. . I understand from my mom, that the Chief was so excited, he was almost like a kid. He had been humming the traditional Star Wars theme music all day.

We arrived at the McWane Center an hour early to ensure we got good seats. Some had gotten there much earlier, and were sitting on the floor in a line, that snaked around the glass projection room. The film was on a huge spool, that I am told weighs 450lbs.

 I also ran into Middle Stepbrother, his wife and her parents. They were four of the six random viewers who bought tickets before my company bought out the theater!

We chose our seats just to the right of the big box in the middle of the dome. The woman in front of me had commented on how odd the seating was and if she was to lean over too far, that she felt as though she would tumble to the bottom.  I tried not to think of that, but could not help but feel a little bit of vertigo. But we had good seats.

The upside of seeing a movie at the IMAX is that there are no previews. The downside was that everything on the screen is much bigger and the sound would vibrate your seat. The most disturbing was once you exited the theater, you were not allowed back in. I chose not to drink anything. Once the movie started, a cheer rose up from the audience.  The scrolling text was nearly impossible to read, as it wrapped around the screen. I commented to Brother that I was not enjoying seeing actors nose hair. There were times that one had to decide what to look at and the edges of the picture blurred into the sides of the walls.  The herky-jerky flight and battle scenes made Mother nauseated.  The theater was cold and I soon had to borrow a jacket to keep warm.

The IMAX experience was falling really flat with me.

There were a few of my coworkers taking photos with the movie poster in the lobby.

I have no idea why I am holding the souvenir popcorn bucket, but mother handed it to me.

 The movie was actually filmed for IMAX and then later reformatted for traditional theaters, which I thought was pretty cool. One thing is certain, it was an experience.

I doubt that I will ever do that again.

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