Bleeding Cool contributor Ray Flook was one of the lucky sots to be sitting waiting for a Wonder Woman screening and who else but the stars and director stroll on in to thunderous applause thanking everyone for coming out and showing their support for their little project. Here's what Ray had to say:
Unless you've listed your place of residence as (a) coma; (b) under a rock; or (c) Narnia for over the past year, it's pretty safe to say you at least have some idea that there's a Wonder Woman movie coming-out this year (and actually in theatres by the time you read this). Now it would be really easy to go off on how insane it is that it took this long for a Wonder Woman movie to finally get made…considering the number of Batman and Superman movies we've had since Lynda Carter stopped spinning and now it seems like we have a new "national holiday" where we release a new Spider-Man movie every three years…but that's already been done and done from an informed perspective I can't offer.
I've gone to a lot of these types of screenings in the past…either through Bleeding Cool or being lucky enough to win passes through an online contest…and every time I do, I always make it a point of really watching and studying how the entire event runs; and how it can impact an audience's reaction to the movie. Because let's be honest: as much as we'd like to think that our thoughts on a film are based solely on the film itself, that's usually not the case. Dumped your popcorn on the floor just as the movie's starting? Arrive late and end-up in the neck-breaking seats? Forced to listen to "The All-Knowing One" behind you find it necessary to explain every second of the film to the person they're with? It's going to impact your experience with the film itself on at least some level. We're human. It happens. For me? Trailers. I love trailers. So if you go without trailers, only a few trailers or trailers for movies I'm not interested-in, then you're not exactly putting me in the best mood before the film starts (though thankfully most screenings don't have trailers so knowing that going-in keeps my "pissy factor" to a minimum).
So with that in mind, I wanted to pass-along some thoughts on the Wonder Woman screening from this past week at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 in New York City: the good, the not-so-good and stuff falling somewhere in-between:
- Big thanks to Nerd York City for putting out the heads-up on the Wonder Woman screening passes being offered through Wonder Woman Screening NYC. This was the first screening that I went to where you could see by the seating the "pecking order" when it comes to who received screening passes: we could sit on the sides or the front few rows (eventually also opening the balcony) while Warner Brothers screening pass holders had the middle seats reserved for them. No "public outcry" here since it's not surprising they'd give preference to their own people but it's the first time I ever saw it that obvious.
- Arrived to line-up about four hours before the screening (for a movie this big, it's a must) but was still about thirtieth in line…which would change to the upper-fifties once everyone ahead of me had their people arrive. As a geek community, we need to take a look at this whole "holding a space in line" policy at these things. Saving for a friend or two is one thing, but when your group of three that's been in front of the line the entire time suddenly becomes a group of fifteen just before the doors open then you're righteously abusing the privilege.
- Dear AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13: line management like this isn't that complicated. You just needed four stanchions, a staff member and at least a handful of "fucks" to give. Our line cut across the United States Postal Service (USPS) loading/unloading dock so obviously for safety reasons the line had to be broken to allow for the trucks…which was done by the line policing itself, of course. Now don't get me wrong: there were two staff members who walked up and down the block with stanchions…but never put them anywhere and then disappeared. Their biggest contribution? Making fun of a guy in line who almost got his head taken-off by the back bumper of a backing-up postal truck as he was trying to keep his stuff from getting run over. I wouldn't have known they were mocking the guy because they were speaking Spanish, but once I heard my friend go off on them in Spanish in response I knew something had happened. Later, they returned with the stanchions and (I'm assuming) their manager/supervisor, whose "brilliant" advice to the second-half of the line was to "push" the person behind us to get the entire line to move back further and out of the driveway. Yup. I shit you not. Was looking and listening for it to have been some kind of bad joke…but it wasn't. Finally, a woman in line suggested that the manager/supervisor go to the back of the line and tell everyone to take a few steps back. Guess what? It worked. Once again, geeks self-policing to keep a situation from getting ugly…with no thanks and no real help from those that should've been managing this entire thing from the moment the first ten people parked their butts in line for the long haul.
- The swag was pretty impressive for a screening, especially since reviews were already being posted. We got a t-shirt, a choice of tiara or bracelets and a mini-movie poster. One bit of advice I heard from quite a few people in line? The t-shirts are always appreciated, but try mixing-in some XL's and XXL's, too.
- I understand that events like these tend to start late; in this case, the start time ended-up being off by about a half-hour. But if you're going to start that late on a weekday when most people have either work or class the next day, you need someone with a mic and strong, engaging personality to distract the crowd. They kinda' missed the mark on this one, as evidenced by the lack of giving-a-shit shown by the crowd as those running the show tried to shoot a video of the audience doing the Wonder Woman crossed-arms move. It was almost bordering on begging at one point…sad and slightly uncomfortable to watch.
- But even with the late start and the neck-breaking seats, I have to say it was all worth it just to capture this almost right in front of me:
Yup. That happened. And best of all? That dude with the camera didn't shot-block me like I thought he was about to at one point.
As for the movie itself? I give it 8 out of 10…was particularly impressed because the "origin movie" always has a tougher hill to climb than the sequels.
PROS: Gal Gadot; Chris Pine making me finally give a shit about Steve Trevor; Gal Gadot; Lucy Davis as Etta Candy; Gal Gadot; everyone, everything and every scene about the Amazons and Themiscyra; Gal Gadot; Patty Jenkins' directing style; Gal Gadot; the entire "sleeping with women" exchange between Wonder Woman and Trevor; Elena Anaya's disturbingly effective performance as Dr. Maru; and just so I don't forget…Gal Gadot.
CONS: Way too easy to tell that Lupin was the "big bad;" found Ares (David Thewlis) and Ludendorff (Danny Huston) to be not particularly impressive or threatening villains; wanted more screen time for Dr. Maru; and the film didn't stick the ending as strongly as I would've liked it to, especially with the quality of the lead-up.
So I hope that gave you some insight about the screening, and remember to keep these things in mind the next time you're out at a screening. Notice anything of interest at screenings you've been at? Agree or disagree with anything here? Comment below and let me know…and if you're heading-out to Wonder Woman this weekend, enjoy!
Ray Flook has been a contributing writer to Bleeding Cool since 2013 and "Ray-splaining" geek stuff his entire life. You can follow him on Twitter at @oldmangeek88; on Instagram at @oldmangeek; and soon through the Big Bad Geek podcast.
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