My husband and I were at the CalTech panel last Friday where the Beckman Auditorium was filled to capacity with over 1,100 students, faculty, community members and press to hear how Keanu Reeves and director Scott Derrickson worked to update the science in the movie and the feedback from CalTech astrophysicist, Sean Carroll and roboticist, Joel Burdick (who may be hiding a Cylon prototype in his basement). We got to see an eight minute cut from the movie and it looked pretty good. The discussions between the talent and scientists showed the care to detail and, well, it got us interested.
So, Saturday night we trekked out to the AMC Century City IMAX for an evening screening for press only. Comfy seats (yes, the AMC is my theater of choice, albeit in Woodland Hills), good snacks and we were ready to enjoy the next 145 minutes. The last movie I enjoyed that was this long was Sex and The City. Otherwise, when we hit the first 45 minutes of a movie I start looking at the time. My 78 year old mother used to call it her "cigarette rule". If she didn’t remember to go out during a movie for a smoke, it was a good movie. If I don’t remember to look at the time…
Short version, I didn’t look at my watch until twenty minutes before the end.
The sound and picture quality was excellent. Many AMC theaters are being converted to show IMAX’s new "Digital and Laser-Aligned Digital Sound". The images and audio were crystal-clear and IMAX’s customized theatre geometry made it so that wherever you sat, you had a good, clear view. Not only was the sound crisp, you could sense where it came from. Normally the volume in movie theaters is way too loud with too much bass (a Dolby negative to me). Tonight, it was just right.
As I don’t want to give too many spoilers (But, I’m assuming you’ve seen the original) I will ‘vague up’ the following points:
The opening scene made sense of a question long held: how did the alien become physically like us when he lands on earth?
The idea that others have landed before: a short scene in a truck stop makes you think how human do you have to be to be human?
Women are in power in this version, yet they aren’t any better or worse then the men.
When Klaatu meets the scientist, check out the formula written on the white board.
How the military deals with GORT is very smart. Would they be that smart in real life?
Bringing up my mother again, she always said that we humans are so afraid of difference that if the aliens are smart enough to get here, she hopes they are smart enough to not be seen, because we would shoot first and ask questions later. Fifty-seven years after the original, although we think we’ve gotten better, and we do learn from our mistakes, my mom is still right.