I don’t like going to the cinema. I normally go to the cinema with friends. This normally means we arrive late, at peak hours. Which normally means sitting nearer the front, straining your neck (and eyeball) which isn’t aided by the fact that the film selection picked by the group normally turns out to be pretty bad: The Lego Movie, Deadpool, Transformers: Age of Extinction, to name a few
But last Thursday, in lieu of going to a lecture that I needed to go to: a very stressful one, I decided to head down to my local theatre. The decision was made in less than a minute, and I didn’t think much about which movie to see. When I got there, I decided on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – cinema 1, screening 1:50PM, November 17 (it helped that there weren’t any alternatives unless one were to wait). I treasure the Harry Potter series, however have always thought that the movies were boring and bad, even though I thought the actors that played the characters were well cast. And quite frankly I had no high hopes for the Fantasic Beasts movie.
It turns out I was wrong. For fans of the Harry Potter movie or not, it’s a great standalone movie. It’s interesting, fast paced, and really captures the world of magic – something that never got to me in the original Harry Potter movies. The movie had so much charm to it, from a convincing performance from Eddie Redmayne (Newt) to the fluid (and natural) use and application of magic by wizards. The one sore thumb was Grindewald as played by Johnny Depp. While I can appreciate his other performances, the gelled, blond hair, and thick, unintelligible accent were in contrast to the rest of the film which stuck to the 1930s theme very smartly.
This was my first time as a solo movie goer, and it was, refreshing to say the least. There’s something very special about seeing a movie in a theatre: the dimmed lights, the lack of distractions, the booming sound system. Best of all was that I was one of maybe three or four others that turned up to watch the movie – it really felt like the theatre as mine!
Eager to use my concession benefits, and having enjoyed the delightful Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I decided to go the cinemas again this Wednesday, solo. I also decided to movie hop – buy one ticket, and watch another movie without leaving the theatre. Movie hopping is a bit of a grey area – you run the risk of getting asked to leave, and you are technically trespassing, but this is for you to decide on. I started the day of with Doctor Strange – 10:30am. It was an okay movie but much like any other Marvel movie, it didn’t leave me amazed, and while interesting, the story seemed formulaic. That being said, it was enjoyable, and a great start to the day. (One last thing I need to add: Deadpool gimme back my $15, that movie seriously stunk, I felt the comedy was too forced, too ‘mainstream’, but alas, I was in the minority in my group who thought this! To each their own.)
After the movie ended, I surreptitiously exited the theatre and checked my phone. Sitting in the hallway, there were three other movies that were on at 12:50pm. Fantastic Beasts, Hacksaw Valley, and Arrival. From very sparse research beforehand, I knew Hacksaw was a war flick, and Arrival an alien flick. While sitting, I observed an older couple make their way into another theatre. Thinking screw it, I’ll watch whatever, I followed suit after using the loo. I was disappointed when the ads ended, and it was apparent it was Hacksaw Valley (as I was hoping I’d get to see Arrival.) However within the first five minutes my disappointed evaporated to be replaced by steadfast attention. The accents (apart from maybe once or twice when Sam Worthington’s Australian accent fell through) were on point. The dude from LoTR – Elrond – was fantastic as the father. I loved the movie – however I would only watch it once – some scenes were truly graphic and horrific. Andrew Garfield played a fantastic Desmond Doss – he completely nailed the part, from the toothy smile to the southern drawl – it was great to see how talented he was, not just a generic actor (which I unfortunately got after seeing The Amazing Spiderman.) All the characters were fleshed out superbly, and you can even sort of understand why Desmond’s father was a drunk – not so much for the alcohol, but because he could forget the war. The war scenes were fantastically horrific. I admit – I didn’t shield my eyes, but I did shield my hearing, the blasts and gatling guns were shaking the cinema. The movie really pulled me in, and it made me rethink about how horrible the World Wars back in 30s-40s would have been (I mean I know they’re horrible but very rarely are the wars visualised so strikingly accompanied by a booming sound system). Just thinking about having to advance against the enemy, knowing full well that there’s a 100% chance you’ll be shot at and a 75% chance you’ll be one of the unlucky bastards that get taken out was truly terrifying. A really great piece of film.
There was only one other movie to hop to after this one. I checked my phone in the foyer, and The Girl on the Train was set for 3:20. I observed someone entering a theatre, and crossed my fingers that this would be the right one. It was! The Girl on the Train follows Rachel (Emily Blunt). The only thing we know about her is that she watches a couple from the train ride everyday The movie is confusing, dark, and disorientating as Rachel tries to process the events that are happening. It was fascinating watching Rachel – a deeply hurt, anxious alcoholic – a very much untrustworthy narrator, piece together the narrative from her own memories and investigation. At times the movie felt slow, but the resolution was definitely worth it.
Today’s Thursday, and I went the cinema again! This time, I had to watch Arrival. It was a thought provoking film, and I thought about it on the 15 minute walk home. While I was confused in the theatre, my walk home cleared up some things. The reference to the weapon was their language. Their language isn’t like English – instead, the language is of another dimension – it allows time to be… to be… structured or encoded into their language – so, mastery of the language, is being able to determine what is to come. Which explains Louise’s ‘flashbacks’ as really been dreams that she has in the alien heptapod language which is what will happen in the future – and also why she breaks up with the physicist – because when they married she knew their daughter would die, but didn’t tell her husband. The reason for the alien’s visit was that their language told them that in 3,000 years they would need Earth, and so they gifted their ‘weapon/language’ to Earth in the hopes that in 3,000 years, the humans and heptapods could surpass the unknown situation. The film is adapted from the short novella ‘Story of Your Life’ and while I found the ideas fascinating, I wanted more from the movie – however I can see why they ended it like they did. I did like and appreciate the fact that they were so restrained when revealing the aliens and the alien’s actions, I do wish that we could have seen more of the impact of humans learning the heptapod’s language, but overall it was a solid movie.
That was my week of movie madness! 5 films, 3 tickets, 7 days. A really pleasant experience for each movie, something that I’ll do again. Movie hopping is quite the experience, for example, to be pulled out of Hacksaw Ridge to the quiet, disorientating world The Girl on the Train is just a really unique movie hopping experience. Also, Kate Beckinsdale in Underworld has the most wickedly provoking and striking voice – the line from the trailer :”I’m not finished with this war” really made me want to see it – oh well, maybe on the next movie hoppin’ adventures.