Return to the Forbidden Planet

06-Oct-07 11:27 AM by
Filed under Star Trek; 4 comments.

After a week of blogging about Star Trek: The Next Generation, you might get the impression it's my favorite of the Trek series. Even I haven't decided if that honor belongs to TNG or DS9 — but definitely not in the running is TOS.

That's not an indictment of the show's datedness or lack of quality, but more simply a lack of exposure. The Original Series' debut predates my own by a decade, and since it has the least number of episodes of any Trek series and I cancelled my TV service eight years ago, it's simply not something I have much opportunity to watch. But I love the characters and have found that Kirk, Spock, and McCoy make for much more captivating novels than any other crew (especially Voyager's — blech).

Now comes the opportunity to watch The Original Series in a way previously afforded to only The Next Generation: on the silver screen. As a promotion for the November 20th HD-DVD release of Star Trek Remastered, the updated "Menagerie", which features footage from the rejected pilot "The Cage", will be shown in 300 theaters nationwide the evening of Tuesday, November 13th. "The two-hour screening includes a special introduction by Eugene 'Rod' Roddenberry, son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, plus an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Remastered series," says StarTrek.com, which has links to both the press release and theater listings. (Yet another tip of the hat to Dayton Ward)

"The Menagerie" is one of the few episodes I have seen of TOS, but not like this. I already have my tickets and will my calling my father shortly to introduce him to this event, just as he did me to TNG two decades ago. If you've never seen Trek before, this might be the franchise entry point you've been looking for.

Overture, Light the Lights

23-Apr-07 11:10 AM by
Filed under Films; 4 comments.

In anticipation of Spider-Man 3a new trailer for which was released this past weekend — I've invited several friends to a group outing.

One person accepted:

I love opening nights; there is an energy in the audience that is different from other movie experiences.

Another declined:

I would rather see the movie in a more relaxed atmosphere. I am not a fan of the battle for good seats, plus it's possible to get really bad seats.

I can see the advantages of both. So what company do you prefer: a large, boisterous, reactive crowd on opening night? Or a quiet matinee a few weeks later, perhaps at a second-run? And why?

Here In My Car

16-Apr-07 3:18 PM by
Filed under Potpourri; Comments Off on Here In My Car

Now that I've reviewed my first two films of the year, let me tell you where I saw them: the drive-in.

I'd been to such a theater only twice before: with my best friend and his parents in 1990 to see Die Hard 2 and Days of Thunder; and six years later, on a date, to see Dragonheart and The Nutty Professor. (Sadly, the crass humor of the latter film precluded any fogged-up windows.) Now, eleven years later, I've had what was my best drive-in experience yet: two friends, huddled under our respective blankets on what was likely the coldest Holy Saturday on record, watching two first-run comic book adaptations (TMNT and 300, in that order), doing our own MST3K when appropriate, glancing at the other screens (showing Blades of Glory and Grindhouse) when bored, and being appalled by the intermission snipes showing a hot dog suggestively leaping into a bun.

What a shame that such fun isn't more widespread! But alas, the drive-in is a dying breed: as of 2003, there are 432 theaters left — down from 815 in 1997, and 3,775 in 1950. But some drive-ins are being reopened or built anew; in 2002, the number of drive-ins actually increased.  As well it should!

The drive-in movie theater, first established in 1933, is not just a quaint artifact for moviegoers nostalgic for a simpler time. It's an effective, enjoyable, and unique venue for watching movies — one with many advantages over more generic multiplexes:

  • Affordable — in my case, two movies for the price of one (charging by the head, not the carload)
  • Bring your own snacks
  • Control of the film's volume
  • Control of the "theater"'s heat
  • Talk with your friends as much as you want without disturbing others
  • Conversely, other people talking won't disturb you, either!

The only disadvantage I encountered is that my car would turn off its electrical system after an hour of idling. If I didn't anticipate this by turning on the engine, the radio would suddenly cut out and we'd lose some dialogue.

That trivial inconvenience is easily overlooked for the wonderful opportunity presented by the drive-in.  MST3K alumnus Kevin Murphy wrote a wonderful book, A Year at the Movies, that describes how contributive the personality of the theater is to the experience of moviegoing. I can't think of anywhere that's truer than at the drive-in. Support your local one today.