a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Batman In 3 (Not D)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Batman In 3 (Not D)

SUMMARY: A rare staying up almost all night experience, with photos from the Batman movie opening at the Cupertino AMC.
The final installment in Christopher Nolan's Batman series, starring Christian Bale, opened today--that is, at 12:01 A.M.

Now, I love Batman. He was my favorite comic book hero as a kid (when I wasn't temporarily swooning over Hal Jordan (the Green Lantern). I still have my '60s-era Batman trading cards (no, they're no worth very much) and this poster, which my understanding dad bought for me when I couldn't walk past this little funky shop somewhere in New York City.
 I still have my Dark Knight Frank Miller graphic novels. (Well--that was after I was all growed up.)

Still, that is not normally anywhere near enough to get me to the midnight opening of a movie. All that sleep disturbance, all that arriving hours early to stand in line for the best seats, all the crowd.

BUT the AMC theaters were offering all three movies in one evening, leading up to the third one at 12:01 AM. Just so happens that I really liked the first two. And, oddly, just so happens that I didn't remember that much about the first two and the third was billed as following after their plots pretty closely. So, what the heck.

I found a friend to go with, I bought the tickets in advance, I showed up 2 hours early and we were 3rd in line. Our line never got very long. Turns out that they had sold out the two other three-movie showings and had added this one at the last minute. Not surprisingly, it didn't sell out (probably everyone had given up and gone to some other theater).

I would also say that our average age was more than twice the average age of everyone else in line or at the shows. (Random people in line.)

It was fun watching all the batman tshirts go by, though. Out of hundreds of people, noticed only a couple  with anything like a costume.  (All photos are a bit soft because I shot w/out a flash.)

(I was shooting randomly; turns out the friend I went with knows this guy.)

(These guys weren't really hunky guys in costumes. They were hunky guys wearing, like, one-sided costumes tied around their necks .)

They handed out souvenirs: A poster and a fancy lanyard to each person. Except, well, we were the add-on show, so they didn't have enough and we had to pick which we wanted.
I picked a poster--not sure why, it's going to go into a box in the attic with my other Batman poster--and my friend took a lanyard, which I forgot to get a clearer shot of later.

Da-da-DA-da-DA-da-DA-da...Bat!Man! theater entrance. Oh--we were the "6:01" show and the *real* shows were at 6:00 (digital and IMAX). They had to make us 6:01 to be able to tell it apart from the 6:00 show.

After all of us who'd waited in line filed in, there was almost no one in the theater.

We thought we'd be having a semiprivate showing, here, but in fact it finally did fill up at least 2/3 full. And everyone was pretty well behaved all the way through all three movies. You never know with a cult crowd. Likely because there was no beer involved. People applauded and cheered when decent but scared people did decent things or the cavalry showed up, and of course at the end of each film, that sort of thing, but it was kept to a minimum and so added to the pleasure of the experience.

After the first movie--so about 8:45--people were pretty active, got up, moved around, talked animatedly with friends, checked their email and facebook (all the blue glowing faces), like that:

The theater had cool wall lights. You start noticing these things after you've been there for 4 hours and are going to be there for another 4 or 5.

For the first movie, I had a hotdog, can of caffeinated diet coke, and split a large popcorn. Got through the second film on a bottle of water. But after that--so now 11:30, waiting for the third one at 12:01--I decided I needed more caffeine and more popcorn. And--you can tell my brain was getting dopey--I bought a "large" bag of skittles for $4.50. Actually it was free because I had money saved up on my discount card.

People were still mostly functional at that point, but not so much up and around. The seats stayed pretty full during that time.

Quite a few took the opportunity for some shut-eye. You can't really see the ones who had their feet up on the chair backs as well as the guys down front napping.

So, at midnight, there were not only our hard-core three theaters who had sat through the first two movies, but three other theaters with just the 3rd movie playing. No wonder that, at shortly before midnight on a Thursday, they still had people waiting in line 12 deep or more at every single one of the dozen or so cash registers at the snack bar.

As for the movies--I still really liked the first two. Third one, not so much. Acting still good, and it definitely kept me awake, but, really, kinda ho-hum on the plot, and I think it was because the threat and situation were SO unbelievable (yeah, OK, so I'll buy a multimillioinaire in a bat costume) that I couldn't get worked up over it. And I didn't really get the villain, Bane. Read up on him afterwards, and the wikipedia description is so much more interesting. The two possible love interests, there wasn't much there. Maybe too many characters. I dunno. Anyway, it was good but I'd have maybe said two and a half stars out of 4.

Commented to my friend that the hard thing about immersing oneself in movies like this is that it's sometimes hard to get back into the mindset of everyday life--in the movies, Batman and everyone else are making life-and-death kinds of decisions and wading into trouble up to their necks over and over, and we have to go back to, oh, hohum, have to make this deadline for work. It seems so mundane.

Driving home at 4 a.m. (which was weird--this is about the time I'd normally be getting UP for an out-of-town agility trial), I was thinking to myself (because to whom else would I think it?), you know, the other thing about films like this is that weird shit like this doesn't happen in real life. You don't really get pychopaths in masks killing dozens of people just for the heck of it.

And then, minutes after that thought, the news came across the radio about that shooting at the midnight Batman show at a theater in Colorado. Some psychopath in a mask, shooting dozens of people just for the heck of it. Terrifying. That could've been any of us, any theater. Just random.

I'm appalled that the experience that for me was a fun, campy way to spend an evening turned out to be such a nightmare for them. That kept running through my head as I tried to get to sleep. I was very glad, after all, that my own life continued to be mundane. What a weird world.


  1. I am so horrified by the events ... and so glad it wasn't your theatre ... hang in there and try to cherish the campy feel ... I'm glad you took so many pictures to try to hang onto the feeling you had during it ...

    1. There must've been thousands of theaters with midnight shows of the Batman opening. I'm pretty sure there were several dozen just within half an hour of my house, and we're a lonnnnng way from Colorado. Don't know why it seems so personal.

  2. So glad it wasnt your theater and it was a happy experience for you. To many wackos in the word today. Scary.

  3. I know how you feel about the third film. I loved the first one, the second one is almost transcendent, and the third one falls somewhere between the two, but I'd place it a little closer to the third one than the first. I'd love to talk more about the story itself with you, but I don't want to be a spoiler.

  4. Well I can understand why it feels creepy and personal. Glad that you at least had fun during the event.

  5. I totally understand why it feels personal. Because you can identify totally with the people in that Colorado theater. Glad you had fun, but you and everyone else that saw that movie that night will never have the feelings for that movie they thought they would. It will always be somehow related.

  6. Yes, I think you're right. It'll be like "Where were you when the lights went out in the northeast" or when kennedy was shot or the shuttle blew up...

  7. ...Do those examples make my age look fat?