Sunday, May 10, 2009

In Which I Become A Trekkie

So I took a break from being mad about that whole Jane Austen thing and went to see the new Star Trek movie this weekend. I'm not what one would call a fan of the show. I mean, I'm familiar with it. I've seen a couple of episodes (the tribble one and another one where the main characters were on some kind of deadly fantasy planet thing) but it's not Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Battlestar Galactica or anything. But I am a J.J. Abrams fan and since this latest Star Trek reboot is a J.J. Abrams brainchild, I was eager to see it.

So my friend, Omar, and I went to check it out at the new IMAX theatre in Saco. The show was at 12:10pm but I made Omar get there an hour early. If I could have, I would have made Omar get there two hours early. When I go see the newest Harry Potter films at midnight, I make whoever comes along get there at least two hours early. Getting there early for big important releases is vital if you want to get a good seat. It is especially important if you're seeing the movie at the IMAX because you do not want to sit in the front row of the IMAX.

So we arrived at 11am and went inside and got our tickets. We were the first ones there which was interesting because I have never been the first one in line. When Heather and I drove to Rhode Island to watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy, we were there four hours beforehand and still we weren't the first ones in line (we were, however, the only ones not in costume...). Even when we're two hours early for a Harry Potter film, we're still not the first ones in line. So being first in line, first in line for a freaking Star Trek movies, was a surprise.

We waited. What else were we going to do? We stood outside the theatre and waited. One of the employees came over and stood in front of us to make sure we weren't going to just go barging in there or something. Omar made jokes about doing just that but I made him give me my ticket first so that if he did get thrown out, I could at least go see the film. The employee explained that there was a special showing going on then, people who had won some sort of radio contest or whatever, but as soon as they were finished, other theatre employees would go in and clean the theatre and then we would be seated.

Omar and I were cool. We didn't care about waiting. We were first in line and feeling pretty impressed with our bad selves. We stood there and talked about movies. The employee guy interjected comments once and a while too. After Star Trek, they'll be showing Night At the Museum 2, followed by Transformers and something else, leading right up to Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, which will have selected scenes in 3-D.

"I'm totally going to be living here this summer," I said.

The line behind us started to grow soon after that, and grow fast. People kept coming up to the front of the line to ask the employee (I feel bad that I don't know his name. I think I shall call him Mason because he kept telling us how he was a Mason and how much he loved National Treasure because of it.) when we would be seated. Mason kept explaining what was happening. The special showing was running late and they still had to clean the theatre before any of us would be allowed inside.

"It's not like they're going to start without us," I said at one point.

Of course, I probably wouldn't have been as cool if I hadn't been at the front of the line. And, by "the front of the line", I of course mean, the very first person in it. Boo-ya. Or something.

"All right," Omar said. "You were right. I was wrong."

"Could you say that again?" I requested. "Maybe a little louder this time?"

The special showing finally came to an end and people were streaming out. Then some tech guy came by with this ginormous walkie-talkie thing and told Mason he had to do a sound check and no one was allowed inside the theatre while he was doing a sound check.

Finally, the sound check was finished and the theatre was swept and we were allowed inside. We went to the back of the room, settling in the middle of the fifth row from the back. Perfect seating. After a few minutes, we were joined by a retired couple (whom I shall call Ethyl and Norman, as in the couple from On Golden Pond.).

Omar left shortly after that to get movie snacks. As he was walking by, Norman called out "Bring me back some popcorn!" Omar laughed and said sure and kept on walking. Ethyl turned her attention to me.

"I was told you had to wear special glasses to watch a movie here," she said.

"Oh, not for this movie," I said. "There's no 3-D in it."

"But the nurse in radiation said you had to wear these big bug-eye glasses to watch a movie here."

"And you do," I said. "If there are 3-D scenes in it. This movie doesn't have any though."

"Oh," Ethyl said. "I remember the last time I wore those glasses. They looked funny."

"They certainly do," I said.

"Look at those people sitting up front," she said next. "Their necks are going to hurt looking up at the movie like that."

Which is why I made Omar get there early. If we go see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince here, you can rest assured we'll be more than an hour early. At least I will. Any who come alone with me can come later. I'll save you a seat. Probably.

Norman made a request of Ethyl. Turns out it was for one of her peppermints. She told so afterward.

"I told him he owed me," she said and then went on to say, "This is a nice theatre."

I agreed and then offered that I was excited that there was an IMAX in Saco now. It meant I didn't have to drive to Massachusetts anymore. At least not to see movies.

"We used to live in Massachusetts," Ethyl said.

"Did you?" I asked.

"Yes. We were born there. Then we moved to Rhode Island."

I thought about saying that I'd been there to see movies too. But didn't.

"Then we moved to Virginia," Ethyl said. "And then Italy."

As I hadn't seen that one coming, I said, "Really? That's great!"

"Then we came back and lived in California. Then Nevada."

There were a couple of other states that followed but eventually, Ethyl and Norman ended up back in New England. Massachusetts, followed by Maine.

"That's impressive," I said.

Turns out, Norman used to be in the Navy. He traveled all around for that. She stayed on the base and took care of the kids. When the kids were in school, she did volunteer work.

"It's important to keep busy," she said.

"That it is," I agreed.

Norman interrupted to ask where his popcorn was.

"You don't need any popcorn," Ethyl said. "You didn't see that line."

"Was the line very long?" I asked. Because when Omar and I had arrived, there hadn't been a concession line.

"Oh, you should have seen it. It wrapped around and around right to our line!"

"And you wouldn't wait in it," Norman said.

"That's right!" Ethyl said. "I wasn't going to wait in that line!"

"Because I'm not worth waiting in line for," Norman. "I know."

"Oh, we'll get you a sandwich on the way home," Ethyl said.

I thought then about calling Omar and telling him to please bring poor Norman some popcorn. Then I thought about calling Omar and telling him not to worry about the M&Ms if the line was crazy long because I didn't need M&Ms that badly. I said as much to Ethyl.

"Does he have a phone with him?" Ethyl asked.

"Yes," I said. "But I'm pretty sure he's turned it off already. I think we both did before we came in here. I feel badly now."

Just don't tell Omar I said that. I have a reputation to maintain, you know.

Omar reappeared shortly afterwards. Norman, Ethyl and I watched him come up the stairs.

"He doesn't have any popcorn," Norman said.

"He doesn't have anything," Ethyl said.

"Where's my popcorn?" Norman asked when Omar was close enough.

"Oh, it's being delivered," Omar said.

I knew he was joking. I don't know if Norman did.

"With butter, I hope," Norman said.

Omar sat down on my right. He had the M&Ms stashed in his bag. I waited until Ethyl was distracted by something else and then leaned over.

"She hasn't stopped talking since you left," I said.

About a minute later, one of the theatre employees came in, carrying a sandwich on a plate and obviously looking for someone.

"There's someone!" Ethyl said. "Is that your food?"

"She doesn't have any popcorn," Norman said.

Omar said it wasn't his food.

"She's looking for someone," Ethyl said. As if Omar might have been lying about that sandwich belonging to him.

Omar assured her that while the poor suffering theatre employee was, in fact, looking for someone, he was not the someone for which she was looking. We watched her search for someone. Don't know if she ever found them because Ethyl distracted us again. This time it was about the advertisement playing for a local dealership.

They have a Lincoln Town car, you know. Wait, not a Town car but a Marquis. Bought it in '08. With zero percent financing. Omar and I both expressed our admiration. The story continued with how the owner of this particular dealership is always saying in his ads "Come by and see me. Have some coffee and a donut!"

"Well," Ethyl said. "He's never there when we are. And there are no donuts. No coffee. You know where they are?"

We didn't.

"They're over at the Toyota dealership. With him. That's where he is. We had to go there once to get a rental car and that's where the rental cars are. They had the coffee and the donuts and the sandwiches. But you had to pay for them."

"Really?" we asked.

"The sandwiches," Ethyl said. "If you were waiting for your car and wanted a sandwich, you had to pay for it. But the donuts and coffee were free. BUt I said to him (the dealership owner guy) he's never at the other place and you know what he did?"

We didn't.

"He said, 'I'll pay for their rental car today.'"

"That was very nice of him," I said.

"He's a very nice man," she said. "Just how you see him on the commercials, that's how he is."

Truth in advertising.

The lights dimmed shortly afterward and the pre-show stuff started. My anticipation was building and just when I thought I couldn't get any more excited, they showed a preview for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I think I might have hit Omar in my excitement but I can't remember. If I did hit you, Omar, I apologize. I just get so excited some times, I can't help myself. Anyway, that movie looks frakking AWESOME. I anticipate seeing it many times.

Oh yeah, and then we watched Star Trek. And it was great. Really fantastic. Lots of laughs, good special effects, terrific action sequences. Zachary Quinto makes an amazing Spock and Chris Pine is damn hot. I mean, he too was very good in his role. Everyone was good. This is a good movie. I laughed, I held my breath, at one moment, I literally jumped out of my seat. There was some loser sitting in front of us who was on his iPhone during the show. Dude, what the hell were you doing? I say again: Loser.

Anyway, I clapped at the end and looked at Omar and said, "I want to see that again!"

Don't know how Ethyl and Norman felt about the movie because they took off as soon as the credits started to roll. I always watch the credits and people with whom I go to the movies are generally good natured enough to humor me on that.

So yeah. Go see Star Trek. It's super fun. Especially if Ethyl and Norman are sitting next to you. Those crazy kids.

Jane Austen, FYI, was not, to my knowledge, at all interested in Star Trek. Just another of the many ways Jane Austen and I are nothing alike. Nothing.

Live long and prosper.

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