Thursday, June 29, 2006


Let me just start by saying that I may never go to an opening weekend show ever again.

I bought my tickets several days ago online. When I ran my card through the machine, it coughed up a receipt that said "We're sorry! This theater has been cancelled!" Panic set in immediately. I walked back to the box office and showed them the stubs, and asked what I could do. The guy behind the glass with the dumb light bulb hair that all the teen-age boys are now sporting proceeded to treat me like an idiot as he got me tickets for a different showing (at the same time, natch) and I tried to pay for them.

"You've already paid, sir..." he groaned as I pushed my debit card through the little coin tray window. I don't honestly think I DID pay. I think the machine had refunded my money, but, you know, whatever...

The theater was pretty full already half an hour before the show. Lots of families. Lots of families with small children, as it should be, I guess. The lesson I learned is that Disney isn't screwing around by limiting their features to 80 minutes. The constant squirming, whining and general noisiness in the theater was constant for every moment that something on screen wasn't exploding or shattering, or, in general, assaulting the senses.

The family of five behind us started out the film by chatting away until I shushed the mom, but I was glad I did it then rather than let the frustration grow. The mind-boggler was the three-year old they'd brought who seemed interested in the movie as he kept his own ongoing narration, parroting lines and telling us what we were seeing. I gave him the "adult stink-eye" three or four times, and each time he'd quiet down for a few minutes. Luckily his older sisters kept shushing him. Dad just ignored junior. It was kind of fascinating.

The kid next to me spent half the movie playing with a handful of coins, until I finally asked him to stop.

Look, I HATE having to ask others to exercise common courtesy, but I also want to enjoy a movie without constant interruption. I'm amazed how few people feel the same way. In some ways, I absolutely knew this was going to happen if we went to a 7:00 show on opening day, but I also didn't want to wait two weeks to see the movie. There's got to be a happy medium in there somewhere.

Also, people, for the love of God... Why are you checking to see who called you on your cell? Yes, yes... you've put it on vibrate, but when you check to see who called and your dinky 1" x 1" screen lights up, we can all see the bright blue light in the otherwise very dark theater. And, teenagers, same goes for texting.

I'm fully in support of theaters using cell-phone blocking technology. The many, many stupid people have officially overcome the needs of the few who might actually need to take a call in the middle of a movie.

okay... the movie

The movie was very enjoyable. It had a few logic problems and should have been longer in the beginning and shorter at the end, but overall, yeah..! I liked it.

Brandon Routh, despite the seemingly endless desire to compare him to Christopher Reeve, handles the dual roles with a lot of charm and does own the role. I would have liked to have gotten to see a bit more in the way of Superman being Super about town, but the moments you do get are amazing. Just beautifully executed. Singer and Co. have done a remarkable job of thinking through scenarios and the use of technology, and Routh manages to more than fill the Man of Steel's red boots. That plane scene from the trailers? It's stunning.

The bottom line is this: I really enjoyed the movie. You always feel a little odd telling people you really believed something was that good, even when you saw the flaws. One man's Matisse is another man's messy canvas. I've heard varying reports on different actor's performances, and I am sure there will be some serious debate among comic geeks as to certain elements in the film... but as a separate entity from the comics, from the TV shows... Yeah. Yeah, I enjoyed every minute of it.

And, yes, if it's been twenty years since you watched Superman I and II, I highly recommend watching them again on DVD before hitting the theater. This movie is a sequel in every conceivable way.

I'm very much looking forward to the next installments. Singer did such a good job of building upon what he'd established in X-Men with X2, that the scope of Superman Returns sequel seems almost limitless.

In the meantime, just prepare to sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

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