Monday, June 27, 2016

Cloaking our phones

I've been to a number of advanced screenings since I've been reviewing films in Melbourne, but never before Sunday had I had my phone "cloaked."

Nor was I even familiar with the term.

In fact, when I walked up to the table filled with mobile devices in bags, at first I thought it was just another table of freebies. After all, we'd just walked by a table filled with spinach muffins, then a table where your kid could scoop jelly beans into a bag. It was a showing of Steven Spielberg's The BFG, so the jelly beans kind of make sense, since they probably couldn't get snozzcumbers.

But no, they were taking phones, not giving them to us.

As the movie does not come out until Thursday, they don't want anyone videoing it before then, you see. Which I suppose is a realistic concern even though the screening was comprised almost entirely of families with their kids. We only had one of our kids with us, as we didn't deem the two-year-old ready for such an event. (Which didn't stop the people behind us, who had a baby less than half that age -- a baby that actually fell to the floor with a thud and some tears at one point during the screening.) But I suppose even if you have your family in tow, you could still be trying to turn a quick buck on pirating the movie.

"Yeah, we need to cloak your phone," the guy told me.

Which was a bit of a problem, as my sister-in-law was at home with the two-year-old and may have needed to text or call us for this reason or that. My wife solved the issue by ducking out twice during the movie to check that no news was good news.

"That's the first time I've seen this," I told the guy. "And I've attended a bunch of advanced screenings before." I wasn't at all miffed, though he clearly thought I was inviting a debate rather than making conversation.

"Here in Australia?" he asked. He'd heard my accent.

"Yeah, here at this theater," I said. Or something like that. I probably said "cinema" because that's what they say here.

"For a Disney movie? We always cloak them for Disney movies."

"I saw Inside Out here last year," I said.

"We cloaked the phones for Inside Out," he assured me.

"Well then, I guess I got mine in." It was too late to get me now; the statute of limitations had run out.

Anyway, we were given claim tags for our phones, and they were returned to us promptly afterward.

Fortunately, this ended up being the only thing I had to worry about. I came in with a couple potential worries. This would be my first attempt at taking my five-year-old to a live-action movie since we had to leave Pan last September, and this would also be his first attempt at 3D since then. My wife was prepared to leave with him if need be, but I'd feel a hell of a lot of guilt, so I carried the worry just as heavily as if I'd been the one bearing the responsibility for evacuating him. When The BFG started on a creepy British orphanage -- the exact same setting as the start of Pan -- I thought "Here we go again."

But my son showed only signs of restlessness, not fear, during the film's nearly two-hour running time. This despite the fact that there were ample things to scare him. There are kids getting snatched by giants, and not just the big, friendly variety of the title. Having it all in 3D would just make it more intense.

But the only times he really engaged me were when he asked what treats I'd brought (the jelly beans and complimentary popcorn were apparently not enough), and when he leaned into me because he was sleepy. He'd had a fever during the night, and though he'd had none in the morning, I shouldn't have been surprised to see some of the symptoms lingering. I noticed he wasn't actually wearing the 3D glasses, but this did not seem to unduly affect his enjoyment of the movie either. If he seemed lethargic afterwards when I asked him if he liked it, it was just the strains of being under the weather. He voluntarily supplied details of what he liked, and later in the afternoon was impersonating a giant around our house.

My own review? Well, it'll be forthcoming in a few days. You can check back for the link to the right.

With all this talk about cloaking, I think I ought to cloak my thoughts on the movie as well ... at least for a day or two.

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