Saturday, December 17, 2011

mission: impossible -- ghost protocol [2011]

the art of movie-going is not dead. at leat not yet. we do live in a virtual and physical world that is blurring together at a rate that even the most savvy of savvy sci-fi writers of the past century could not dream of. and yet people do want to go somewhere and do something. movies are still that something and movie theaters are still that somewhere.

it was this that my brother, a huge movie geek like me, asked me to the movies this afternoon. when we were much younger and single dudes we would literally hang out at the movies together. now, we both have our families and jobs that keep us humming with life. we rarely go to the movies together anymore. besides, we have both succumbed to life in the digital age and we watch films on dvd and online in our homes rather than the theater.

still i love going to the movies. i take nick with me to the movies every change i get. the ceremony of the cinema is perhaps what i love the best even if the movie projected onscreen may not be the best that art form has to offer. getting the popcorn and candy at the concession stand, taking our seats and watching the trailers before the start of the feature is still, for me, pure magic. the speed and convenience of digital life cannot replace that magic.

so when my brother called to go to the movies i said, yep, and asked what would he like to see. he chose this one, mission:impossible -- ghost protocol, at the local imax. well now, i'm not a fan of either tom cruise or the franchise but i've not seen a film at the imax and frankly he could've suggested any pap and i'd still have gone without question just to hang with my brother.

the movie was entertaining if a bit silly. after all, where else but in moviedom can you watch a 40-something man scale a hi-rise in dubai like he was spiderman with nary a bruise on his well-muscled arms and chest? lots of explosions; lots of world travel to mumbai, moscow and dubai; lots of hi-tech gear and software; and a villain who buys russian nuclear launch codes so he can send a nuclear weapon to blow up san franscisco because he thinks nuclear war would cleanse the earth and set us humans free.

oh dear, did i give too much away? fear not. because you know cruise and co-horts, like our own local boy jeremy renner and the always reliable simon pegg, will get the job done. it's not the plot that runs the engine to this franchise but the gadgetry and action. oh yeah, with all these bullets spraying bodies i was amazed to see so little blood and hardly a cuss word uttered but for cruise saying, shit, at one point to give the flick an air of pg-13. otherwise the movie was pretty clean and would have no trouble airing on primetime tv in the middle of the week on a major network.

it was the imax experience that i thought was pretty cool. the screen is huge. the sound system is loud and crisp so that each explosion or passing train got the full surround sound treatment. i tell you, watching even a goofy action flick in that theater made the goofy action flick great fun. i'll have to do it again real soon.

but then even gimmicks like 3D or blowing a movie up to fit a screen that is the size of a building is not part of the ceremony of the cinema. rather it is the going out and being in attendance with our fellow human beings. it is the art of popcorn getting and eating. it is the art of watching the trailers. it is the art of taking your seat. the theater tonight was filled to capacity. people left the theater talking about the movie. why not. even in this digital age i saw many people open up their iphones and point their browsers to for more info on this film. my brother did it because we were both smitten by the breathtakingly beautiful actress paula patton who plays an agent in this flick and we couldn't figure out her name and didn't catch it at the end. i don't have an iphone so i had to look over his shoulder. i was -- i am -- amazed that our technologies let us do this: look up information on anything we want anywhere we want. getting movie info via iphone is a new part of the ceremony. it is not the whole part. i was happy to spend a couple of hours with my brother. i was happy to watch a movie at the imax. i was happy that we are still able to go out to the movies -- together.


At 7:14 AM, Blogger Jim McCrary said...

good write up. wish i could share your thrill of movie going. maybe you have better choices of venue out there. here, not. i love our art house..small, old and can buy a pint on the way in to sceening room. the amc 14 plex...not so great...horrid vegas vibes and insane noises before during and throughout any film. creepy rooms, creepy audience. cant do it. so rely on your blog to let us know whats going on. thanks for going.

At 10:31 PM, Blogger richard lopez said...

jim, i don't get to the movies as much as i'd like. when i do it's usually kid flicks because i take nick with me. some friends tell me that the art of movie going is dead. i tell them i think there are always people who want to go out, sit with other people, and share the experience of watching life unfold and dynamic on a big screen. besides, you can't beat that rush of popcorn when it hits your nostrils after you step into a theater. the rush is like no other.


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