The traditional big screen movie house has changed over the years. Early theaters emulated play houses and had numbered seating and you were escorted to it. You could even get preferential seats or balcony seats for a wee bit extra. Screens were hidden by curtains which drew back or raised when the movie started. Popcorn was and still is the default theater fair, hotdogs, candy and sodas became standards as well.
Nowadays you sit anywhere you want, first come - first seated. In some theaters the seats are more like a comfy reclining couch and less like a hardback stadium chair. Curtains are history and now we’re bombarded with commercials. But the biggest and, in my humble estimation, best change of all is the food that you can now get in an increasing number of theaters. Hotdogs? Pshaw! That’s so 50s.
I’m talking thick, juicy hamburgers, (decent) nachos, fresh salads with grilled chicken, pizza, pasta (!), even steaks. You can get a variety of beers and wines now. Not always top shelf stuff, but definitely drinkable. And while you can still get Gummy Bears, Jujubes, and root beer barrels, you can also get cheesecake, pies, even parfaits. (Everybody loves parfait!)
And the sound systems! Oh Man! Gut wrenching, thunderous, theater filling sounds that would cost a small fortune to duplicate at home. Even the screens and projectors have changed. The smallest silver wall is adjustable to accommodate nearly all aspect ratios, and projectors are increasingly digital where the movies are downloaded and stored instead of hand carried to each theater in reel cans.
All of this is to get you up off the couch, out your door and into dark theater as paying customers. The biggest attraction to theaters, however, remains that same as it ever was, and that is what’s playing.
I went to see Prometheus at one of these newfangled theaters. While the movie was disappointing (great visuals and sounds, weak story) the theater experience was such that I’d go again even if the intended movie was questionable. You remember those big, comfy couch-like seats I mentioned? They got them! As well as salads, burgers, and a lot more. And it all looked good.
The only drawback that I can see with the theater was that the seats, while you-melt-into-them comfortable they were not cuddle promoting. Not a date night theater regardless of what’s playing. But since I’m not on the dating scene (yet) that’s not a problem for me.
To remind you that the original way to watch a flick is on a gigantic screen and not those comparatively tiny screens hanging on our family room walls moviemakers have resorted to tactical advertising. They hit you where you live, on your phone or tablet, with tie-in apps that promote movies. Some of them are not bad. In fact, I’m, going to look at three here because they are pretty decent and, of course, they are free
Marvel’s The Avengers - Iron Man MK VIII
I’ve always thought Iron Manwas a cool, even back when his armor was a monotone yellow (or “golden” as the comics put it) and he had a silly antenna sticking out the left shoulder. It would only follow then that I’m a fan of both Iron Manmovies. But my fanboy flame for the the red and gold suit was cemented when I saw a metal ensconced Tony Stark go toe to hammer with Thor in The Avengers movie. It was the comic book fight come to life in a way I might never imagine.
Whether or not you enjoyed the Iron Man movies or The Avengers, you still may be curious about the evolution of Tony Stark’s armor. It is, after all, what makes him “super”. If so then you’ll enjoy Marvel’s The Avengers - Iron Man MK VIII. I like this sort of tie-in app because it doesn’t directly connect you to the movie with some sort of silly action or contrived trivia game. What they’ve created is a motion comic that pulls in pieces of the two Iron Man movies and The Avengers movie to should how Iron Man ”s armor was developed.
This app won’t show you the original 1963 comic version of the suit, but rather the grey getup Stark cobbled together in an Afghani prison in the first live action movie released in 2008. The app then steps you through the evolution of the armor through a really well done interactive motion comic complete with sound. In fact the app responds to all sorts of input depending on where you are. You can also get the app to read the text to you and as it does it’ll highlight what it says. There are all sorts of other bells and whistles as well.
If you enjoyed The Avengers and Iron Man movies you’re going get a kick out of this app.
Battleship: Destroyer Experience
When I first learned that Hollywood was making a movie based on the Battleship board game I groaned. I figured they had to be really desperate for script material to actually spend big bucks on such a weak concept. Then I learned the Liam Neeson was in it, that’s when I started to pay attention to the flick. I haven’t seen it yet, but a friend who’s opinion I trust gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up. I wasn’t sure I’d watch before it leaves the big screen. That is before I downloaded Battleship: Destroyer Experience.
Unlike Marvel’s Avengers - Iron Man MKVIII, this app takes a more direct tie-in approach, but it’s done well. You use your iOS device to interact with a virtual battleship though a 360 degree panoramas that contains hotspots. Each hotspot offers up info about a particular feature of the battleship through movie clips or fact lists. As you learn more you can unlock more content. The net result is an immersive experience that relates well with the movie. After messing around in this app for a bit I actually want to see the movie now. I guess the app did its job.
Yes, this app is a big commercial for the movie, but it’s fun and you may actually learn a bit about real battleships, which are amazing in their own right.
The Dark Knight: App Edition
The Dark Knight Rises is another highly anticipated Summer movie, but I’m not so sure I’m all that interested. Don’t get me wrong, I throughly enjoyed Batman Begins and The Dark Knight to a lesser extent, but this one seems so serious (“Why so serious, son?”) as opposed to The Avengers movie, which is the right mix of action and fun.
Even the tie-in app is more serious than the others I talked about here. Instead of offering us some interactive and immersive content this app just offers movies, photos, and sound bites, most of which you actually have to pay for to see. How serious is that?
On the positive side the app does stream the first 5 minutes of the movie to entice you to see it. You also get 3 photos, 3 videos, and 3 sound clips for free. And a trivia game.
There’s not much else to the app, but if you’re a Batman fan then you may enjoy The Dark Knight: App Edition
That’s a wrap for this week. More free stuff below with direct links.