Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Avatar -- Pretty Good but it's no Police Academy 19!

I'm no Bill Collins, nor Siskel & Ebert. In fact name a major movie from the last 20 years and the chances are I've not seen it. You see, I was raised on a staple diet of Hollywood B-grade slapstick comedies. Actually I don't know why they're even called B-grade ... I mean Police Academy series (Volumes 1 thru 27) was robbed at the Oscars if you ask me.

However, however ... I simply must tell you about Avatar which I suspect will once again edge out Adam Sandler's latest movie once the academy meets to judge this year's awards.

I saw it last night purely on the strength of the fact that it is the biggest drawing movie of all time; so let's see what the fuss is about. Now I could've bought the DVD at any number of dodgy street vendors along Sukhumvit Road for 100 baht (or 150 baht if you want a good copy, you know, with sound and that sort of thing included.) But I decided an epic movie like this has to be seen on the big screen to be best appreciated.

Then I thought if you're going to see it on the big screen, you may as well see it in 3-D. So next thing I knew I was in Siam Paragon IMAX in splendid air-conditioned comfort watching the 2.5 hour epic. (Sorry, no photos of me wearing ridiculous over-sized plastic glasses that would have been the envy of Elton John in his prime.) I'll leave those more qualified than me to gush over the production values of the movie and the gripping human interest story line. But, Oscar judges please note, not one car chase scene.

The mum of a friend of mine told me how Bangkok had something like this in the 50's, a semi-circular wrap-around screen of sorts that was the precursor of IMAX. Apparently there were only three screens in the world like it at the time: one in Hollywood, one elsewhere (possibly Europe) and one in Bangkok. Jing jing! The epic of the day then was Around the World in Eighty Days.

Point is, how damn civilised and advanced Bangkok is. It was a great experience: the latest movie. Amazing surround sound. And not a single mobile phone ringing. And all for just 350 baht a ticket, pre-booked over the phone.

And in Paragon Department store on the way out they had a DVD sale. Genuine titles for under 100 baht. Plus buy 5 get one free. Even though they didn't have Police Academy 19 -- a true classic with several car chases and one-liners aplenty -- I love this place.

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