After all the hype and fanfare, I finally got to watch the James Cameron's long awaited technical marvel
Avatar this past Sunday morning.... for the second time. It rocked the first time I watched it on the decent sized 34th Street theater IMAX screen and still rocked when watching it the second time on the big Lincoln Center theater IMAX screen.
Yeah the story is a bit simple and rehashed, but make no mistake... this movie is indeed the Sci-Fi movie geek's wet dream that all the hype over the last 5 years or so has been promising.
Awesome CGI smoothly blended in with life-like, believable, beautifully rendered, interactive environment
acting, as opposed to the amateurishly directed, wooden, green screen "acting" of any non-British humanoid character in any given scene of Star Wars Episodes 1-3.
Badass Marines in epic other-worldly battles with badass blue aliens
Badass six legged creatures fighting against badass mechas
Sigorney Weaver demanding cigarettes in true badass form
And a brief almost blue alien sex scene
Now I had my minor issues with some of the plot details, but I'll save that for more detailed chats with my fellow Sci-fi geek brethren. My overall verdict is that James Cameron has indeed outdone himself in giving us Sci-Fi geeks exactly what we want in a film... in 3D.
That being said, with all the excitement going on in the film itself, who would have thought that what was happening in the theater seats during the previews and closing credits would have been almost as exciting?
The 10:30 AM showing was sold out, meaning a packed house of people scrambling for seats. Unfortunately, we don't have the whole assigned seating thing in New York like they have in Hong Kong. By 5 minutes before showtime, the last minute stragglers were scrambling for what sporadic seats in crappy corners of the theater were left.
In the row in front of us, there was this one OLD GUY with his THREE DAUGHTERS and an empty seat next to him filled with jackets. This French Guy in a shiny, black bubble vest walks over asking if the seat is taken. The Old Guy says that it is taken. The Bubble Vest Guy asks again. The Old Guy confirms that it's taken. The Bubble Vest Guy starts walking away, but then turns to blurt out one last thing, very threateningly in his heavy French accent... "if I find out that seat isn't taken, after the movie I'll come and thrash you!"
About 50 people or so in the surrounding area let out a collective "Oooooh!" after hearing the threat. The Bubble Vest Guy goes off and finds another seat at the very front of the theater.
The movie goes on as described above, blue aliens, epic battles, etc. Then the closing credits rolls. People in the audience crap.
(1) We take off our 3D specs and start chatting about the flic amongst each other. Next thing you know, there's a fracas developing in the row in front of us. The Bubble Vest Guy is halfway down the row towards the Old Guy. He's screaming, "I told you I'd come to trash you if that seat wasn't really taken!"
The people in the beginning of the row were holding Bubble Vest Guy back. They didn't want a fight breaking out in their row with them in it. The Old Guy's daughters are blocking him and yelling "How dare you threaten my father! Who the hell are you?! I'm calling the cops!"
Meanwhile, my buddies and I are watching this whole scene unfold with curious amazement. Eventually the people in the beginning of the row finally get the Bubble Vest Guy out of the row, but then he's waiting in the aisle for the Old Guy to come out and he's calling out to him. The Three Daughters are holding back their father, who doesn't seem to be wiling to so easily chicken out of this challenge. He wants to show the Bubble Vest Guy what for. Still his Daughters are insisting that they are staying in the row until the Bubble Vest Guy is gone.
The ushers finally come to escort the Bubble Vest Guy out, people are asking what the hell happened. One of the Daughters explains that they had bought an extra ticket and the seat was supposed to go to someone who ended up not coming. Makes sense, sold out show, if they were holding an empty seat someone would have ended up sitting on the floor of the theater instead of a bad seat in the front. Meanwhile, we're still waiting to see when the smoke is going to clear.
After a minute or two, it seems like the show's over... both of them, so we walk out. We stay on alert just in case the Bubble Vest Guy is waiting right outside the theater for the Old Guy, but no dice. He was gone and the coast was clear. So another almost fight come and gone.
Unfortunately I didn't end up taking any pics of the ordeal. I had to be on full alert, just in case I had to start kung-fu kicking people down the stadium style seating if things got real. But just goes to show that even a simple matinee movie screening can make for an interesting adventure.
In lieu of photographic evidence, I leave you all with these images taken well after the incident.
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