Before the Show: May 8, 2009
Screen: Just the one
Location: Downtown Seattle
Operating: Since January 24, 1963 (four days after I was born) as Seattle’s Martin Cinerama, and retrofitted with 70mm projectors six months later. Big movies went out of style by the end of the decade, and the last of the 70mm films, “Krakatoa, East of Java,” played in 1969. By the mid-1990s there was talk of turning the Cinerama, now a gigantic second-run theater, into a dinner theater or a climbing club, when Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who had fond memories of watching movies there as a kid, bought it for $3.75 million in February 1998, renovated it, and reopened it in March 1999. Ever since, particularly when a blockbuster movie opens, it’s the place to go in Seattle.
Seated: 3:40, 20 minutes before scheduled showtime. No ads. No music. Just people-watching. God, how refreshing.
4:00: The long, light-purple curtains part, the place gets dark, the crowd erupts into cheers and applause.
- “Up”: I hope Pixar shows everyone up again. Looks great, looks funny, looks fun. Several scenes in the trailer made me laugh out loud.
- “Terminator: Salvation”: It’s taking human prisoners. It’s replicating human tissue. One wonders at what point in the movie Marcus Wright sees that he’s not human. Half an hour in? Forty-five minutes? One wonders at what point he says to John Connor, “I’m the only hope you have.” An hour? More? How much of the movie do we now know because of this trailer?
- “Angels & Demons”: Again. How many times have I seen this trailer now? I don't even hear the opera music at the end anymore.
- “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”: First time for this one, and I was immediately turned off by the destruction of the Eiffel Tower at the beginning. When they blew up the White House in “Independence Day” back in ’96, yeah, that worked. Post-9/11? I’m not into it. But wait! A team is being assembled. And look! They walk toward the camera in slow-motion. And listen! One of them says, “When all else fails, we don’t.” God, how awful. No mention of the title until the end, when it provoked laughter from this “Star Trek” crowd.
- “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”: Wouldn’t “Rise of the Fallen” be cooler? Whatever. Apparently Shia LeBeouf is at college now, and he’s seeing symbols, like a saner John Nash, and they have to mean something, and it all feels a little “National Treasure”-ish. And then Megatron wants... And then Optimus says... Are we really going here, America? Please say no. You know what would make an interesting movie? How does Shia LeBeouf keep Megan Fox as his girlfriend without a bunch of giant machines distracting everyone from the fact that they have nothing in common? I might go see that one.
“Please don’t spoil the movie by adding your own soundtrack.”
Movie starts: 4:12. Not a single ad! Thank you, Paul Allen. You old nerd, you.