Wednesday, December 30, 2009

First movie date in 6 years?

We were trying to think of the last time we went to the movies together without kids.  I remember going to see Xmen 2 and Return of the King, both of which came out in 2003 (prekids).  We did try a movie date in 2008 for the Batman sequel, but due to unfortunate circumstances ended up taking a foster kid with us.  Not the same.

While it is difficult when you have babies/toddlers, the biggest cause of the gap is not the kids, as you might expect, but distance.  We are 115 km from the nearest year-round movie theatre.  It's quite the drive, and makes movies prohibitively expensive.  $26 for tickets, another $10 for junk food, $40 for a babysitter, $25 for gas, $8 for enough Tim Hortons to withstand the drive...  Lets face it, nothing Hollywood has churned out, ever, is worth over $100 bucks and 3.5 hours of driving to see.

Figured Avatar was one that wouldn't be the same as... a rental, so we decided to see it while Leaf was off on break & we could leave the boys at the sitter's.  It was definitely eyecandy.  I was less impressed with the 3D than I thought it would be, I felt it wasn't quite incorporated naturally.  At times it made me think of the old SCTV "Dr Tongue's 3D House of.." skits.  Look, look, here's an awkwardly placed 3D moment - looks cool in 3D, but doesn't do much to advance the film.  Other times it seemed like scenes weren't in 3D at all.  What most impressed me about Avatar was the digital effects - the first time I've seen a movie where the digital effects weren't obvious compared to the live action stuff.  From what I gather, though, the whole film is digital, & all the characters were filmed in front of a blue screen.  Still, a technological marvel.

The rest of the film - plot, characters, theme, were nothing special.  I wrote a film studies essay many moons ago with the thesis that Hollywood movies have reversed Aristotle's theory of tragedy.  (Plot is most important, characters second, then theme, diction, music, and least important spectacle.)  Avatar fits that thesis like any other Hollywood blockbuster.  Spectacle is most important, followed by soundtrack.  Characters and plot weak.

Still, glad we went and saw it in 3D.  Appreciated the groundbreaking technology.  Nice to get away with Leaf & even nice to have the drive time to talk.  However, I don't imagine there will be another film for quite some time that we'll spend $100 on seeing.  We'll stick with ... rentals...

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