Blessedly cool weather and the splatter of a few raindrops. A little cool and wet makes for a nice change, although since tomorrow is our water park day, I really hope this is over in less than twenty-four hours. Still, we need the wet, so it is welcome back on Tuesday.
We watched two movies this week, one as a family, one just me and Jennie. Both were action movies, which meant very simple plots on which to hang chases, explosions, gunfire and general mayhem. The first was the embarrassingly funny action comedy Transformers, the second the dour Bourne Ultimatum.
Transformers was frequently embarrassing to watch, and painful to listen to, due to the onscreen stupidity and very high noise levels. The movie was often hilarious, but mainly in what I think were supposed to be the touching moments. It is the story of a love triangle between a twenty-something year old high school junior, his first car, and the
leathery well-tanned mid-twenties high school classmate he’s had a crush on since the first grade. The car turns out to be a pouty robot named Bumblebee and the classmate turns out to be into grand theft auto (no, not the video game, dammit!). Their poignant (or is it boring?) love affair is set against the battle of the boppin’ robots known as the Autobots. Some bad Autobots, all of whom have red glowing eyes which show how evil they are (well, except for the few that they forgot to give red eyes) kill people and battle the good robots, who have blue eyes and are mainly a bunch of pansies. Things explode. Robots get mangled. People are sad. Nobody bleeds. The good robots, with a little help from their friends, win in the end and it all ends with a group hug. Ahhhh, how sweet! It is pretty much impossible to tell what is going on most of the time, since it is mainly a bunch of robots fighting in a blur of metallic explosions, sparks and things flying off in every direction and lots of noise. Lots and lots of noise. Robots are damned noisy. In between the fights, people say IMPORTANT THINGS, and the head good robot tries to recite the world’s worst clichés. I think there must have been a cliché contest going on with the robots. Oh, and every drives GM vehicles in the near future.
The Bourne Ultimatum features a very serious and considerably heavier Matt Damon, sort of a slightly less constipated Harrison Ford in Frantic. I like that this third Bourne film picks up right where the last one left off, although it is difficult at first to reconcile the thinner Bourne of the last two movies with the jowly, middle-aged Bourne of this movie. It doesn’t help when they do flashbacks to the thinner Bourne. Does this mean that I did not enjoy Bourne Ultimatum? No, actually, I thought it was a great action movie. It didn’t way itself down with too much plot, but did at least have enough to give the characters a reason for doing what they did. Unlike the latest Bond, Bourne does not fly along rooftops, but has to actually work to do all of his silly jumping around. And he gets winded and bloody when fighting. A nice change for an action film. Nowhere near as silly as Transformers, with dialog that isn’t completely laughable. Fun stuff, the whole movie. Which leads me to my biggest problem with Bourne.
At $9.50 a ticket, movies are damned expensive. If I wait a few months, I can buy the DVD release or rent the movie for less than it costs for two tickets. Throw in gas and the babysitter fees for the evening and I could upgrade my home theatre system. So why go to the theatre to watch a movie? Two reasons, really: 1. To get away from the kids, and 2. to see it on the big screen.
While we got to see Bourne Ultimatum on the big screen, we did not get away from the kids. The group of teenage morons to our right weren’t aware that they were in a movie theatre, apparently. They spent the first twenty minutes giggling, yapping and flashing their cell phones, generally being total idiots. They quieted down after Jennie pointed out that the rest of the audience was there to watch a movie, but did not quite understand that cell phone use in a theatre is frowned upon. The sad thing is, they weren’t the only ones incapable of keeping their phones shut; throughout the evening, several cell phones were flashed on for a while. I’m guessing people were calling friends watching other movies to find out what was going on. And my wife wonders why I don’t like people . . .
If theatre owners cared, there is technology to block cell phone signals, but their only concern is getting people into theatres, not making the experience enjoyable. Even if signals are blocked, that won’t stop the geniuses who use their cell phones as flashlights, or play video games when the movie gets too slow to be interesting to them. All things considered, it is going to be a while before I attend another movie outside of my basement.