Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Avatar Special Edition

This is the tale of my 10 hour journey to see Avatar in Imax 3D...
Before we begin, let me cut to the chase: seeing this film, with that technology, was worth everything you are about to read. Trying to get my mind around the thousands of details involved, from the initial starship scene to the updated mech-suit control surface, makes me wince when I read the reviews deriding the minute count of added content. There are no home theaters available that can present this anywhere close to what I saw in Escazu. To not see it when possible, would be a darn shame.

We bought tickets online 3 days early, lured by a red herring 25% discount for using our Visa card. Without having seen the inside of the theater we were allowed to pick seats. Yep, assigned seats for a movie! Matinee price, $10.00 a ticket included the glasses.(no, there was no discount, as we do not have a Visa Infinity card)

"Avatar Eve" the rain started in earnest here in Panica. We set both phones to wake us at 4:00am. We needed the rain to stop so the bridge wouldn't wash out again. We use our phones for alarm clocks as no one would take the odds on us not losing power that night.

Spencer picked us up promptly at 5am, and we headed to the ferry, all 3 of us silently hoping the bridge was not under too much water. The TLC is good for about 2.5 feet...We made it to the Ferry 5 minutes before the boat left, the rain had stopped and it was a steamy-dreamy jungle dawn in the harbor.

One cafe and one Campari doble later we got out of the boat in Puntarenas, and onto the bus. Stopped in town, bought 3 Jamon Queso pastries and walked 3 blocks to the "Direct Bus" to San Jose. We arrived in San Jose 2 hours later, hopped on the wrong bus and headed vaguely towards the hotel.

The bus ride ended abruptly not much closer than we would have ended up had we taken the direct bus the whole distance. Our bags were light so we walked to the hotel. Our plan was simple: connect the computers to the internet, take a hot shower, change into nicer clothes, head to the theater for the 2:40 show. Piece of cake!

The room wasn't ready, wouldn't be until 2pm. It was only 11am. 3 hours is too long for me to sit and drink in the hotel we went out for a light lunch and a beverage. We went looking for a non-gringo place to relax, but not quite the seedy Cacique and beer joints filled with old men that San Jose seemed full of, at least at this end of town. Then the rain started.

Umbrellas keep the top of your head dry, only. We decided to bus to Escazu and eat there. We took the wrong bus. We did not want to drink at TGIF or Tony Roma's. We decided that we would treat ourselves to a good scotch at the French place near the theater. We were told: walk straight down this street for a long way and you will come to the fence at the back of the theater. Just walk the fence until you find the front.

We were already soaked. We walked, and walked, letting the new neighborhoods help us forget the kilometers involved. When we got to the fence our target was in sight. No entrance. To get to the entrance we  ascended and then descended a muddy slope, in the rain. Mud oozed into my sandals. I helped the spouse down with muddy hands, leaving inappropriate prints on her white top.

After 20 minutes drying her socks in the restroom we made our way to the restaurant, tickets in hand, just an hour left to kill. Glenfiddich all around and a gorgeous cheese plate...

The Nova Repretel Theater is brand new. "Product C", who was to be the HowlerCafe Seafood vendor, has a new restaurant going in off of the food court. Brand spanking new Imax! Apparently I did not explode waiting, probably being soaked helped.

Our seats were perfect. The audio was spot on, deep loud bass, crystal clear. I was confident they would shut off the stair lights when the movie started (they lit the bottom 1/3rd of the screen) and was only off by about 15 minutes in that estimation.

By the time the cryosleep pod thrust out of the wall into my lap the fact that we had stumbled into the Spanish Dubbed showing of Avatar was apparent...Thankfully this was my  3rd viewing, and I am thinking I preferred dubbing into a foreign language better than 3D subtitles anyway...

Did I mention the AC was blasting the place down into the 60s and we were soaked to the bone? It only mattered when the Spouse had leg cramps...The guy behind mine was only on the phone for about 3 minutes, and as mentioned, they killed the lights within 15 minutes of the movie starting.

Avatar 3D Imax is one hell of a technical marvel, the extra minutes add depth and nuance, and I would go every day it was showing if I had the time, just to remind myself of what can be done, in spite of all the roadblocks, the war, and all other manners of lunacy that keep the good stuff from us!

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