Sunday, July 08, 2018

This That Week In Tickets: 16 April 2018 - 22 April 2018

I think this was a kind of busy work week, although not necessarily in the way such weeks usually work out.

This Week in Tickets

It was a week of Agile project-planning stuff at work, which often means a lot of time stuck in meetings and unwanted after-work activities, but somehow I got left out of all of that and just got to work, which often got me on a roll so that I wound up working late those days. There's a valuable lesson there.

Still managed to find an evening to catch Beirut, which is pretty decent, although I do kind of wish Brad Anderson had somehow managed to wind up a little north of where he is, continually producing stuff that's right on the border of theatrical and VOD material.

With a quiet weekend release-wise, I opted to hit The Museum of Science, because it had been a while and some of the stuff on tap looked kind of neat. You can't go wrong with indoor lightening and dinosaur bones, but I've got to admit, having been to other cities' natural history museums in recent years and seeing that the MOS evolved from something similar, I wouldn't mind if we had something that sort of overwhelming in our city along with the earnestly educational, kid-friendly place we have. Of course, while there, I checked out what was in the two movie screens: a condensed version of The Martian in the 4D room and "Dream Big" in the Omnimax dome.

And then it was IFFBoston week, although most of those movies were only on my Letterboxd page before reaching the blog.

The Martian (condensed)

* * * (out of four)
Seen 22 April 2018 in the Museum of Science 4D Theater (4D, digital 3D with motion)

The Martian is not a short movie in its original form, and there's apparently an extended version on home video because, well, Ridley Scott is a tinkerer by nature. I doubt that he was directly involved in this edition, which drops two full hours from the original running time to get down to about fifteen minutes, but adds in some rumble, sprays of mist, and something that pokes you in the small of the back. It's a small, somewhat cozy room, not the sort of thing that threatens to overwhelm the kids or immerse you in the same way that the OMNIMAX screen does.

It's kind of fun to see it this way, but I can't imagine what it's like for the kids in the room who haven't seen the whole feature. You get the story, and some of the jokes, but it's so compressed that it's hard to feel tension, or that one event was connected to another. It's one thing following the last, occasionally reminding us that this movie has a crazy good cast, and that's what this show is: Remembering what a neat movie The Martian is, but not quite re-experiencing it again.

"Dream Big"

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 22 April 2018 in the Museum of Science Mugar Omni Theater (first-run, OMNIMAX)

"Dream Big" is kind of a perfect science-museum movie, whether for its utter sincerity in its love of engineering, for the somewhat heavy-handed corporate (and organizational) sponsorship, or the fact that, when you put that behind you, it shows some pretty darn amazing things right up close, using the sheer size of the dome-shaped screen to overwhelm the visitor. You'll learn something about bridges, buildings, and solar vehicles, and likely be fascinated, even if they may otherwise seem like dry subjects and if narrator Jeff Bridges sometimes seems to be trying too hard.

To be fair, he seems to be trying too hard to me, a 44-year-old guy who has always been interested in this material, and it's important to remember that this movie isn't really for me, no matter how much I love larger-than-life presentations and technical minutiae. It's for the kids who visit the museum, who maybe haven't thought of this stuff, or maybe haven't thought that it relates to them. That's likely part of why the filmmakers choose engineers to follow with different accents, and why the majority of them are women. A similar Imax film shown during my elementary-school trips to the science-museum might not have been so diverse, balanced, or international.

I see this is coming out on video this month, and I'm sure schools will purchase it for when you sometimes need to fill a period in science class, but I don't know how effective it is without a huge screen putting you in places that desperately need bridges. It's a neat part of a museum of science visit, and that's all it needs to be.

Boston Museum of Science
The Martian 4D
Dream Big

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