Last Friday, Stephen and I and 4 of our friends made the drive up to the mall of Georgia to see the new Batman movie in IMAX.  Stephen and the guys had made sure to order tickets about three weeks ago, which was great since they sold out about two weeks ago.  I don’t think I’ve ever ordered tickets in advance for a movie, much less three weeks in advance!  I’ll admit though, I was really excited to see it.  I loved Batman Begins, which initially surprised me because I wasn’t really a fan of the older Batman movies.  I never saw the original one, I thought the second one was really weird and I only went to see the awful Batman & Robin because (like every other middle school girl) I thought Chris O’Donnell was really cute.  He was, but the movie was terrible.  In fact, I think that’s why he’s so angry in this picture, he knows it was terrible and his career really never took off afterwards.   (Well, I just looked at IMDB and it looks like he was/is in Grey’s Anatomy.  I didn’t know that since I’m one of the 3% of the population that has never seen Grey’s Anatomy.  I’m OK with that.)

Anyways, Batman Begins was different.  It was like the Batman movie for non-Batman people.  And it had Christian Bale in it, which is like chocolate in any dessert: it instantly makes it better.  

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I’ve had a crush on Christian Bale ever since his singing and dancing days from the movies Newsies (which is on my list) and Swing Kids.  He doesn’t do much dancing as Bruce Wayne, but fighting crime with ninja-like moves is still pretty cool (which he first mastered as Jack Kelly with his “remember Crutchy?” headbutt).

Because of how good Batman Begins was, I was really excited about seeing The Dark Knight.  I was also really interested in seeing the much talked about performance of Heath Ledgar as the Joker.  I’m not really into the whole celebrity gossip/worship thing, and I was a little skeptical about how good his performance would be.  I thought it was probably just hyped up because of his death.  I was wrong though, he was really amazing and played the character brilliantly.  (Wow, don’t I sound like a seasoned movie critic?)  It’s really sad he won’t be able to reprise his role (and its even more sad he won’t be around for his little girl) but I guess at least he went out on a great performance. 

Although the movie was fantastic, the process of getting in to the movie was probably the worst movie going experience I’ve ever had.  We had tickets for the 10:20pm IMAX show.  We started the evening a little after 7 with dinner at P.F. Changs.  Dinner was good, but what was even better was seeing the really drunk woman stumbling to the bathroom.  Who gets drunk at P.F. Changs at the mall of Georgia at 8pm?  Looking back I kind of wish I had, it would have made the next 4 hours a whole lot more enjoyable.

After dinner we headed to the theater.  Since we had ordered our tickets in advance we just need to print them off at the kiosk.  This was the first clue it was going to be a long night of waiting in line.  We stood in line to print tickets for about half an hour, and it was one of those situations where whatever line we were in was the only line not moving.  At least it was somewhat entertaining.  I saw a couple of middle school girls dressed up as Batman and this very impressive guy dressed as the Joker.  Adam got his picture with his way cool iPhone. 

After getting our tickets we migrated to the official line for the movie.  Remember, we had tickets for the 10:20 show and were probably in line right around 9pm.  The line was already pretty dang long.  While standing there we hear a rumor that the IMAX machine broke during the 7pm show and they were hoping they could get it fixed in time.  We didn’t think much of it since we still had like an hour and half before our showing.  So we wait, and we wait, and we wait.  Around 10pm we realize that since we haven’t moved at all there is probably something going on.  Someone said someone else heard (don’t you love movie line gossip?) that they were going to try to give the IMAX machine as long as possible to cool off and therefore might delay the start time.  We were all OK with that so we waited some more. 

At about 10:45pm (about half an hour past when our movie was supposed to start) they make the official announcement: the IMAX machine is a no-go.  People start groaning.  Never fear though, they will give us 2 free passes to come back and see any movie and they are re-routing us to another theater where they will be playing the Dark Knight.  We were a little disappointed about it not being in IMAX (especially since we had driven close to an hour for that very reason), but after waiting in like for close to 2 hours we were happy about just being able to see it. 

At least we weren’t the sad couple who had been diligently waiting in line ahead of us.  They turned out to not have tickets for 10:20 IMAX but for the 9:50 regular show.  The girlfriend had thought she bought IMAX tickets, saw people standing in line and just assumed it was for her show.  I felt really bad for her because a) her boyfriend was really really mad and he had to work the next morning so they couldn’t stay to see it and b) the theater for the 9:50 showing was no less than 10 feet from us.  Lesson learned: Always pay attention to your surroundings. And your ticket stubs.

So we get our free passes and make our way to yet another line on the other side of the theater.  Now, if I was the manager of a major theater, I think I would have made sure the theater was all ready to go before I told a slightly on-edge crowd that they were being moved to a non-IMAX theater.  We all thought we would be able to walk right in to the theater and start the show, but instead we had to wait for a least another half an hour.  Some people were getting pretty mad, some people were leaving, I was getting tired but after all of that I just wanted to watch something (I might have even settled for Space Chimps which is apparently a real movie playing at the mall of Georiga).  I was starting to think that no matter how good the movie was it would never live up to the anticipation that had been created for waiting in line for 2+ hours.

We FINALLY get in the theater a little before midnight, have to split up and take random seats.  Tiffanie and I ended up being way on the side, which wasn’t the best but at least it wasn’t front row.  After 15 minutes of previews (seriously, couldn’t they have just cut those out?) the lights dimmed and everyone started clapping and cheering.  You could almost hear the audience breath a collective sigh of relief that it was finally starting. 

It was a great movie, a little long, but really really good.  (In fact, Tiffanie and I were the only ones from our group that stayed awake the entire time.)  My only minor complaints about the movie is I still sometimes can’t take Christian Bale’s “Batman voice” seriously (had that problem in the first one too) and I think that Harvey Dent’s transition from good to bad was a little quick and the Two-Face makeup/graphics were a little much. 

All in all a great movie, but a loooong night.  We didn’t get home till about 3:30am.  Stephen mentioned he’d like to use our free passes to try to go see it in IMAX. 

As good as it was, I may have to pass on that.

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