Thing 2 likes “Star Wars,” but he’d never seen the prequels, and when he saw a trailer for “The Phantom Menace” in 3D, he asked to see it.
So, I went to Fandango.com and got 2 tickets to last Sunday’s bargain matinée for $29.25. The theater charges extra for 3D movies, and there was a $2.50 “convenience fee” for buying the tickets online. Obviously, my idea of a bargain matinée clearly isn’t the same as Carmike Cinemas’.
A medium popcorn, a couple of sodas and a box of Nerds came to about $15. So, going to the movies with my 6-year-old became a $45 outing, and as I sat there watching this terrible movie — it earned only a 38% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes — I had an epiphany:
I’m not doing this again.
Then, I thought, don’t be stupid. Of course, you’ll do this again. You’ll take the kids the movies. They’re kids. You like movies. You’re not an ogre.
So, I had another epiphany:
I’m not taking the kids to the movies again unless the movie a) gets great reviews and b) is something they really, really want to see — unless c) we’re talking about going to a drive-in, in which case the movie is less important than the adventure of going to the drive-in, because d) drive-ins are awesome, or e) the restored old movie theater in the town where we live that shows old movies and charges only $5 a ticket.
I also thought, f) great reviews or not, if it’s a movie for grownups, I’ll wait and get it from Redbox or Netflix.
I’m sorry, but I’m looking at you, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”
The last grownup movie I saw in the theater was “Midnight in Paris,” the Woody Allen movie. I liked it a lot, but I don’t think I’d have liked it any less if I’d waited 3 to 6 months and watched it at home.
Hollywood hears that a lot, apparently. BoxOfficeMojo.com says total ticket sales in the U.S. fell almost 4% between 2009 and 2011.
This is why so many new movies are in 3D. The studios are hoping we’ll pay extra for an experience we can’t easily duplicate at home.
The problem is that a) 3D glasses make everything look too dark and b) a bad movie in 3D is still a bad movie, while c) a good movie is a good movie, either way.
“The Phantom Menace,” for example, was just as bad in 3D as it was in plain old 2D. It still didn’t make a lick of sense, and Jar Jar Binks was still annoying.
On the other hand, George Lucas was thoughtful enough to replace the puppet of Yoda with a computer-animiated cartoon of Yoda, so, at least, there was that.