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Please be aware: I am going to spoil the hell out of this movie… so if you have not seen it yet, I suggest that you skip this post and come back after you’ve had a chance to watch it.
Last night I watched Star Trek: Into Darkness again. Yes, again! I don’t think that I’ve ever gone to the theatre twice to see a movie. That should tell you immediately what I think of this one. It’s awesome! Not only would I tell you to go see it (regardless of your prior Trek knowledge… or lack of it) but I’d even tell you to see it in 3D if you don’t mind that sort of thing. And I generally hate 3D movies! Last night we chose to see it in regular old 2D, and it was still awesome, so 3D is not a necessity… but I found that it “worked” for this movie. Right from the initial scene of the natives throwing spears at Kirk and Bones. The warp scenes. Khan putting his arm through the glass to allow Bones to draw a sample of his blood.
I told you there would be spoilers! Before the movie was released there was a lot of speculation that the villain would be Kirk’s arch nemesis Khan. JJ Abrams somehow managed to keep a tight lid on it, so even when I walked into the theatre, I wasn’t 100% sure whether the speculation was true or not. It wasn’t until about 30-40 mins into the movie when the bad guy spoke those words that I am still repeating today… “My name is Khan!” And let me tell you… the guy who they got to play Khan, Benedict Cumberbatch, is perfect for the role! His low, rumbling voice sent shivers down my spine when I first watched the movie. Even again last night I couldn’t help but feel excitement leading up to that scene.
A movie like this has to be seen on the big screen to be properly enjoyed. It’s amazing how they can take the old style Enterprise and make it look awesome again. The detail is beyond belief. My brain doesn’t even process these scenes as anything but a real star ship. When the Enterprise comes out of the water… or rises through the clouds… it just LOOKS REAL.
All is not perfect with the movie, though. I might be nitpicking but where were the Klingon ships while the Enterprise was stranded at the edge of the neutral zone? You’d kinda expect to see a few ships around the home world, but then again… Star Fleet never seems to have any protecting Earth either. I just don’t get it.
What about Khan’s blood being able to cure people and even bring them back from the dead? Does this mean that no one ever dies or gets sick from this point on? It should! If they were able to synthesize enough to bring Kirk back to life (oops, another spoiler!) then you’d think that they can synthesize enough to cure everyone else and stop death. By the way JJ, beautiful reversal of key roles from Star Trek II : The Wrath of Khan and this movie. From Kirk saving the Enterprise and dying from radiation poisoning, to Spock using Kirk’s famous line… “Khaaaaan!!!” I do have to agree, though, with people who said that Alice Eve’s underwear scene is pretty gratuitous. Don’t get me wrong! She’s stunning… but from a plot perspective… getting undressed in front of Kirk served absolutely no purpose. She might as well have just stripped down on the bridge while saying that it was too warm and sipping on a frozen lemonade. Even THAT would have made more sense. But it’s Alice Eve, so we’re all good.
Old Spock (sounds like a deodorant) was a nice touch, especially breaking his rule for not telling young Spock about things that happen in the future.
And Zoe Saldana’s performance as a pissed off girlfriend should get her nominated for an Oscar award. I’ve seen that look! When Uhura glares at Spock, and then says that nothing’s wrong… oh boy! Been there! If that was acting.. wow!
All in all, I thought that Star Trek: Into Darkness was awesome, and can’t wait until it comes out on video. I will be ordering my pre-release copy from iTunes as soon as it becomes available, and can’t wait to watch it again!
I got a chance to go to a special early screening of The Hobbit last night, thanks to Saint John Hyundai. I was surprised that more people did not take advantage of the pre-opening night. Our theatre was probably not even half-filled. Nothing wrong with that though! I had room to move, and NO RESERVED SEATING to have to deal with.
Let’s jump into the movie, shall we?
This showing was in 3D. I’m generally not a fan of that format, and this latest experience has done nothing to change my mind. There were some neat effects… flying sequences looked spectacular… I flinched once when a knife was thrown at me… but overall I really could have done without the 3D.
If you’ve seen The Lord of the Rings trilogy you know that they spend a lot of time walking. A lot. This film is no different. An Unexpected Journey should be called An Unending Journey. They walk. They walk some more. And then when you’re pretty sure that they must be getting close, guess what? More walking. This begs the question.. is there no faster way to get around Middle Earth? Giant birds can whisk them to safety when needed. Why not just hitch a ride the rest of the way? Because that would cut out the walking. Did you know that The Hobbit is broken into three movies? I was unaware of that until a couple of days ago. A single book is broken into three movies.. that’s an epic amount of walking!
If you’re watching The Hobbit and feel as though you’ve already seen it, you’re not alone. Obviously it’s going to have the same look and feel as The Lord of the Rings. That’s to be expected. But there were points last night where I just felt like I could close my eyes for 20 mins, and I wouldn’t miss a thing because I’d seen this all before.
For all its similarities, it’s important to remember that The Hobbit is not The Lord of the Rings. The former was written for a slightly different (younger?) audience. There is dialogue in this movie that would never take place in The Lord of the Rings. Just silly things that some of the bad guys say… A Jabba the Hut-like character who speaks like Shakespeare .. Certain spots are less “dark and gritty” than The Lord of the Rings.
Something that I noticed immediately… I don’t know who Martin Freeman is (according to IMDB, he was in Love Actually.. which I pretty much slept through and refuse to believe is as popular as it seems to be) but he is such a convincing Bilbo Baggins, I don’t think that they could have cast anyone better. Soooo much better than Elijah Wood as Frodo.
Once again New Zealand shows off its beautiful scenery. I don’t know how much was computer generated, and how much was real… but wow… even if only part of it is real.. it’s absolutely breath-taking!
In short (har har… Dwarfs and Hobbits are vertically challenged.. get it?) … if you’ve seen The Lord of the Rings, then you’re going to want to see The Hobbit. Just make sure to use the bathroom beforehand… At 2 hrs 49 mins you’re going to be there for awhile.
I haven’t been back to the theatre since my rant about Empire Theatres’ new reserved seating garbage. Not that I’ve really been avoiding it. There just haven’t been too many new releases that I’ve wanted to pay to go see.
So last night Jess and I were out, and noticed that Finding Nemo 3D was still playing. It’s been something that she’s wanted to see, and we didn’t think that we’d get the chance because of my pneumonia and the fact that the movie is only in theatres for 2 weeks. Well… I figured that I could probably hold myself together for an hour and a half, especially if I had a drink with me that I could enjoy when the coughing started. So into the theatre we went… to make select our reserved seats.
Ever been the only person in a movie theatre? Me neither… until last night. Apparently $14/ticket to see a 10 year old movie where everyone already knows how it ends (yeah… they found the little squirt) was too much for most people… even in 3D!
I still maintain that 3D is mainly a gimmick , and that most people simply don’t care about it. The empty theatre last night did nothing to dispel that feeling. Was it fun to watch? Absolutely! There were scenes that looked fantastic in 3D. If anything, animated movies are far better equipped to take full effect of 3D technology, and Finding Nemo certainly benefited from this. But did it impact my life differently than seeing the original in 2D? No… Finding Nemo 3D is still Finding Nemo, no matter how you dress it up. It’s cute. It’s funny. It’s touching. It’s all the things that we’ve come to expect from a Disney Pixar film. 2D? 3D? It doesn’t change much.
But we can now cross “Have an entire movie theatre to ourselves” off our bucket lists…
I’d heard the advertisements on the radio. “Empire Theatres introduces Reserved Seating!” Sure… makes sense… maybe… if you’re home and want to purchase your ticket online, maybe you’d like to make sure that you get your favourite seat too. Maybe it’s premiere night for the latest summer blockbuster, and you absolutely must sit in the front row. I can see that. Maybe.
But when I’m standing at the counter trying to decide whether I want popcorn or nachos, and the kid shows me a seating plan and asks me to make my selection for my reserved seat… I start to get grumpy. [Here is my public apology to my date that night for making a little scene… I was really tired… I’m sorry.]
I don’t want to choose based on a little diagram of what seats are available. This is a movie. Not a play. Not an opera. Not a hockey game. It’s a movie. I want to walk into the theatre and look around and make that decision on the spot. If I see an 8 foot tall man, I’m probably not going to sit behind him. I’m also not likely to sit in front of the group of teenage boys with their feet kicked up on the seats in front of them and throwing popcorn at a group of girls 3 rows over. It just doesn’t make sense for me to be forced to make that decision before getting in there. But don’t even try to say that you don’t want reserved seating. You have to take it.
In fairness to Empire Theatres one of the supervisors did tell me that I could switch my seat for any reason once I got in there… although I would have to notify the usher that I was doing so… presumably they carry handheld devices to update the seating plan on the fly. [And if that’s the case, why not allow me to choose my seat when I get into the theatre and have an usher simply mark those seats as “occupied” in the computer?]
The big question I have is why bring in Reserved Seating in the first place? It has been suggested that they are trying to enhance my movie experience, that perhaps they are losing revenue to pirated copies being traded on the internet. There’s no doubt that does happen, although it’s never been proven that the movie industry is hurting because of online piracy. Here’s a thought… maybe if they made better movies people would flock to the theatre to watch them?
But Empire Theatres has no control over what movies are being produced, so perhaps they could enhance my viewing experience in a different way. The first thing that jumps to my mind is pricing! Remember when you could take a date to a movie and buy popcorn and pop to share, all for less than $25? I think that’s a pretty good price point. It’s ridiculous that a night out is easily $40. And don’t get me started on that $3 fee for those 3D glasses that I’m supposed to return after the movie is over. If Empire Theatres is serious about trying to bring more people back into their premises then they want to give some thought as to why some people may have stopped going in the first place.
I doubt that it was because people couldn’t reserve their seat at the concession counter.