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arhyalon

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09:33 am: The Last Airbender

Yesterday, thanks to the generosity of a friend, we took the family to see The Last Airbender, a movie we have been waiting to see for several years now.

When we got to the counter, the price for the tickets was unimaginable. We could have gotten in to see God for cheaper--there was a $4 premium for 3-D on top of the regular ticket price. (We would have preferred NOT to see 3-D. Among other reasons, the Cherubim won't wear the glasses. But it was the only option.)  We stood there debating whether to ask for a refund for a long time, but we'd gone with a large group, and the children REALLY wanted to see the movie. Juss looked so heartbroken at the thought of going home again. So we decided to go.

This was a hard decision, though, because everything we had heard about this movie was bad. It got 8% at Rotten Tomatoes. Paying an ungodly amount to see a movie that stinks is really hard to take.

So, we went in.

I sat down, watched the many previews, beheld the beautiful visuals and waited for it to get bad.

Each moment that went by was gorgeous and beautifully in keeping with the story. I waited for it to get bad.

It never got bad. There was a moment when I realized that it reminded me of some of the great films to come out of India years ago. It had that feel...like an excellent foreign film. I wonder if that was what lost some Americans.

In the climactic battle, Juss cried out "This movie is Great! I'd definitely give it a tomato!"

Everyone in our group really enjoyed the movie. We

It had some flaws. Changing the pronounciation of some of the names was foolish. It turned people against it for no reason. Also, Sokka was not funny. You don't realize how important one character is until you see something like this. Sokka's humorous take on everything is what sets the mood of the cartoon series. Without it, it felt really different. More cheer from that one character would have made this movie feel much more like the original.

But other characters did very well. I thought that Aang and Katara were very good. Zukko was terrific, as was his uncle. The uncle took a bit of getting used to, because he played the character differently from the original...but the same sense of wisdom and suppressed power was there. Yue the moon princess might have been exactly out of the cartoon. She was perfect in every way. And I was very amused at the last shot of the smiling evil fire princess. ("No, she's crazy, and she's got to go down!")

It was like seeing a different take on the same events, a serious version of what had been a light and funny story. Considering that it did in two hours what the series does in 10, it was pretty amazing.

Overall, we loved it...as a family, it was worth what we paid, which is good because we'll have to forgo at least two meals to cover it. That will be the last movie the kids see until Voyage Of the Dawn Treader, which has always been my favorite Narnia book, in December.

Personally, I think the theaters are making a mistake. They've hiked their prices way up, but that does not fill seats. Showings we attend are almost never full. So, wouldn't it be better to keep prices lower and have six extra seats filled, rather than raise them and have those seats empty?  Raising your prices more than 100% just seems unwise during a time when people are struggling.

Still...we loved it.
 




Comments

From:(Anonymous)
Date:July 19th, 2010 01:55 pm (UTC)
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Why did they hike the prices? One movie theater cannot charge more than another (competitive industry, means it's a price-taker, not a price-maker). In a competitive industry, the price to consumers ends up being what the cost of the good or service is. There is no economic profit, just enough to cover the cost of the employees.

So something must have happened to the underlying cost of showing these movies. I'm not a movie-goer, so I can't answer the question. As a movie-goer and someone involved in the creation of entertainment, do you perhaps know what may have happened to the underlying cost of showing movies? Licensing fees? Cost of production of a movie? New required services?
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From:arhyalon
Date:July 19th, 2010 02:04 pm (UTC)
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i Should say, this theatre was so bad because of the 3-D premium. Not all theatres are doing that, at least not last time we went a few weeks back.

Things are more expensive...but I wonder if they are going to find that they just raised them too high.

Or maybe everyone else has more money than us, and people will continue to pay these prices.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
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From:juliet_winters
Date:July 19th, 2010 03:13 pm (UTC)
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It would have to be a really, really special occasion for us to go see a film. Last one we saw was a matinee of Karate Kid, and it was just two of us. I get discount tickets through work, but that is still not a good enough deal.
When I think of the great science fiction writers who were inspired by going to the movies every Saturday, it makes me sad that these kids won't get that. There are other options, of course. Free films offered by Parks and Rec. Videos from the library. Sharing videos between friends. But it's nothing like a real movie experience.
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From:arhyalon
Date:July 19th, 2010 05:03 pm (UTC)
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Our kids all get less theater experiences, but more tape/DVD watching of movies. I wonder how it works out.

When we could go for $5 each, it was a reasonable outing for us, less expensive than many, many other things. Now...not an option, though we may start trying to catch movies at the local second run theater that shows movies for $2 on Tuesday.

In fact, if you'd like to come up on a Tuesday, we could all go as a group. Hard to beat $2 a ticket.
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From:arhyalon
Date:July 19th, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC)
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This was a matinee. God only knows what the evening prices were.
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From:bojojoti
Date:July 19th, 2010 08:21 pm (UTC)
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I believe the main reason this movie got such poor reviews is the concerted effort to destroy it for politically correct reasons. There has been a great deal of anger directed at it for "whitewashing" the cast.
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From:axiem
Date:July 20th, 2010 01:05 am (UTC)
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I've heard and read a lot (>30) of reviews of this movie, a large portion of them from people who had never watched the series (and some who didn't even know it was based on a TV series) and this is the third? good review of it I've read. Most people, regardless of political correctness opinion, simply thought it was a bad movie.

Based on this, though, I can see why.
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From:arhyalon
Date:July 21st, 2010 03:54 am (UTC)
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The cast was not white washed. The Air tribe was of every nationality imaginable. The water tribe was white and esquimo looking, the fire tribe was Persian, and the earth nation guys were Oriental. It had every nation imaginable. The only people who did not look just like the cartoon were the two main characters from the Water Tribe.
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From:dirigibletrance
Date:July 19th, 2010 11:13 pm (UTC)
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It is not the theatres which are doing this, but rather the movies studios that own the rights to the movies, which have hiked and hiked the prices of liscensing content to astronomical rates, so that the distribution channels (theatres, TV, Hulu, etc) must charge more and more to the consumer just to stay in business.

This, of course, turns consumers away. But the content owners don't care. They are bleeding the content distributors dry of every cent while they can, because they know that distributors have no choice but to keep playing this losing game: Anybody who decides not to cooperate with the studios anymore suddenly no longer has the content that consumers want to watch, which puts them out of business even faster than being charged to death by the studios.

This is why Hulu is going pay-for, among other reasons.
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From:arhyalon
Date:July 21st, 2010 03:56 am (UTC)
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That's not what I meant...I meant that I thought they would make more money if they offered deeper discounts....more people would come. More money for the same number of seats.

But it occurs to me that they used to make all their money on snacks. If other people are forgoing the snacks like we are, maybe they have to raise prices.
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From:jjbrannon
Date:July 20th, 2010 01:54 pm (UTC)

Bad movie???

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Crushing reviews?

Try this past weekend's release Standing Ovation, the 6th worst opening weekend for any film going wide -- IIRC, greater than 600 venues -- since 1982, according to Box Office Mojo.

This is a tweener/teener musical/dance movie made at the Jersey Shore.

As far as I'm concerned, it's a winner.

Why?

Because my daughter not only appears as a background dancer, but the clip she's in appeared Thursday on the Today Show during Executive Producer James Brolin's interview.

So, lesson on film critique here, people: cultivate the reviewers who approach a movie with as close to one's own criteria as possible.

It's not all about social significance. To paraphrase Freud, by way of Bugs Bunny, "Sometimes an exploding cigar is just an exploding cigar."

JJB
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From:juliet_winters
Date:July 20th, 2010 01:56 pm (UTC)

Re: Bad movie???

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Ditto my comment above. I wish they'd stop judging children's fare by the same criteria as Ingmar Bergman films. Congratulations to your daughter!
From:von546
Date:July 20th, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)

critics

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Sometimes I'm glad when the critics don't like a movie that I enjoy! That bad press usually means when the film goes to DVD it will soon be on sale cheap. Then I can own it forever, to watch as often as I like...von
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From:arhyalon
Date:July 21st, 2010 03:59 am (UTC)

Re: critics

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Good point.

I notice the film is making plenty of money.
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