It's 2:14 in the morning. My plan for this moment was that I would be sitting down getting ready to write my review of PIXAR's latest release Brave. Earlier this week I went to my movie theater to buy my tickets to the midnight showing in advance. I wrote to the staff at Word of the Nerd to see if anyone else was going to the midnight show or if they would be interested in my review as well; they were. With tickets in hand and schedule set for late night writing, I arrived at the theater with ten minutes to spare.
La Luna, was, as I anticipated, simply wonderful. In fact it wasn't until ten minutes into the movie Brave that things started to go dark... literally. Just as the story was building, right as our protagonist was taking us down a mysterious forest, the screen went black - the movie stopped. Moans and groans erupted throughout the theater; this wasn't new to any of us, ever since the theaters have changed from film projectors to whatever digital output they have now, the glitches have been endless and repetitive.
Two examples I have recently experienced are:
- Audio output and video output are not synced up as if I am watching a poorly dubbed foreign film, and
- In 3D movies (as recently as Prometheus and The Avengers) I have had to personally alert the staff in my local movie theater that the film is showing up as double images even when we're wearing the glasses (in fact, this has become such a regular occurrence that I can now identify the issue in the concessions commercial so I can tell the staff before the movie begins).
|One has to wonder, was this someone's idea of a joke?|
With about 20-30 minutes left in the movie the screen went black again. This time people just got out of their seats. I held steady. The movie flipped back about five minutes and started playing again, but something was wrong with the sound. I couldn't figure out what was happening until my husband leaned over and said, "It's La Luna. The sound is from the short." Somehow, some way the audio got reset to the beginning of the movie.
|It's no longer funny when the laughter turns maniacal...|
I don't like spoilers. It's part of why I like midnight showings so much: it is very difficult for someone to tell me what happened in the movie before I see it when I get my butt in the theater the very first moment possible. I am quite sure many of the others in the theater with me felt the same way. In other words, this movie mishap couldn't have happened to a worse crowd.
So while I have become accustomed to movie mishaps in my twenty-six years of dealing with the same local movie theater, tonight easily marks the most heart-breaking one to date. And although I have my share of mishaps from the film days (melted film in the middle of viewing, anyone?), I must say that a spoiled ending was never in the realm of possibility. I appreciate all that the digital brings us in the form of clearer pictures and sound and, perhaps, it is even an easier delivery system for those working in the theater, but I can not ignore that even in the year 2012 we are experiencing some major growing pains with this new technology.
Any way I look at it, I am disappointed and starting to lose my patience. I don't want to be the bad guy that starts publicly blasting every time my theater falls apart, but tonight as I quietly got up, left the theater to go wait in line to get a replacement ticket, I couldn't help but think of another consumer whose patience was once pushed too far.
All I want to do is watch a movie, in a movie theater from beginning to end (in that order) with appropriate audio, video and temperature control (a post for another time). I am now paying over $12 per ticket to do so; I don't think I am asking for much. Am I?