Last night (this morning?) I attended my very first-ever midnight showing of a movie.
If you couldn't guess which one, you probably (a) live under a rock or (b) are new here.
Don't worry. I'm going to give you guys at least the weekend to go see it before I dive into my thoughts on it, because you KNOW I have them. And I wrote most of them down when I got home last night. (This morning?) But no spoilers today.
For those of you that ARE new here, I read the Hunger Games trilogy about a year and a half ago (ish) and they stabbed me right in the heart and I did some (very spoilery) verbal flailing while trying to process what had just happened to my poor little brain and heart. (I tried re-reading those two posts just now, and they were much more incoherent than I thought, so... hmm. I was clearly still in a State at that point.)
But I had absolutely devoured the HG trilogy in such a way that I've done for no book before or since. In fact, I think it's ruined me for all other books. I was so drawn in, so enraptured, so invested in a way that was simultaneously refreshing and a bit alarming. I know these are technically in the YA market, but holy damn. I was so emotionally traumatized by the time I finished that I just sat there for a while wondering why other books even bothered to exist.
Then, of course, came the first rumblings of the movie, and I was suspicious. There was no way they could pull off a quality adaptation, I was convinced of it. For starters, all the violence and horror could not be contained to that golden PG-13 rating. For seconds, that story became so precious to my heart that I just KNEW they were going to ruin it somehow. I watched apprehensively as casting began (though felt immediately better when I heard that Suzanne Collins was going to be heavily involved in the entire process, including the screenplay). Jennifer Lawrence was never my first choice for Katniss, but, guys... she nailed it. I'm still not 100% sold on some of the other casting choices, but none of them did a terrible job. But that's for my other post on another day.
The midnight movie experience was something else all together. I've never done it before. I don't think there's really anything that I loved enough to put forth the effort into (maybe, if I'd gotten into Harry Potter sooner, I would have done it then, but I'm definitely a latecomer on that bandwagon. Meanwhile, I feel like I'm sitting in the front half of the Hunger Games bandwagon - early enough that it was still relatively unknown, but late enough that all the books had been released. I can't even imagine having had to wait a year between books... I didn't even last five minutes.) Though I've been saying repeatedly that I want to do the midnight showing of the Avengers. (Speaking of which, we got a new trailer for that - I almost peed my pants. Metaphorically, of course.)
I'd ordered my ticket three weeks ago online, snagging myself a spot at the 12:01 showing with a handful of my coworkers. Then they added a 12:05 showing. Then as each showtime sold out, they kept adding more. When all was said and done, there were 10 showtimes last night between 12:01 and 12:45. Not shabby for our town of 50K people.
Unfortunately, us having the first show, means that we were the first group that needed to be herded into the theater.
We went to the theater at 10am to get our wristbands, where we stood in the rain and drizzle for a half an hour, and watched people cut into line into the group in front of us. After a while, I was about ready to stab someone, but I figured my opportunity for being a bitch and demanding that they in fact go to the end of the line should have been about three people ago, and it was too late now.
Forty-five minutes later, we had our wristbands and went back to work. Fortunately the rain stopped mid-afternoon, since when we re-arrived at the theater around 8:30 to line up, our part of the line was in fact outside again. We were led into the theater at 9, where we then had a three hour wait. After about a half an hour, they turned the house lights completely on, making it easier to read or chat with your friends (I totally brought a book). The whole thing had the feel of a giant slumber party or youth lock-in. A girl dressed like Effie Trinket had a fishbowl of slips of paper and passed around papers for people to sign up for a reaping. They drew out 24 "tributes" and held a rock-paper-scissors tournament at the front of the theater. It was kind of awesome.
There was in fact bursts of cheering and applause when the lights went back down, and when the trailers started, and then hushed squeals of excitement when the Lionsgate logo appeared onscreen. (There were also random pockets of laughter at scenes that I'm not sure were all that humorous, but, whatever. We'd been crammed into that theater for three hours and still had another two to go. At that point, you were either sleepy or punchy.)
Despite the long wait and three hours of stale movie-theater air, the overall experience was positive (even though I was out of vacation time and had to haul myself into work the next morning - I was still able to get about five hours of sleep, which wasn't awful) and I may even do it again, on a very selective basis. (The Avengers. Catching Fire, Mockingjay. That's... probably it, really.) There's a palpable excitement in the air that you don't get with a general showing, even if it is opening weekend. And, you know, us being the 12:01 show, we were the craziest of the crazy, because we were the first to scramble for a spot.
Aaaaaaaaaand I'm going again tonight because the BF wanted to see it and even having not SEEN the movie yet, I suspected I was going to want/need a second viewing, so I pre-bought a pair of tickets online to hopefully avoid (a) lines and (b) sold-out shows. Hardcore, yo. I think I've finally crossed the line into fangirl-ism. It's awesome. I apologize for nothing.
Also! If you haven't read the book(s), I'm not sure we can be friends. Do yourself a favor and remedy that immediately. I promise it won't take you very long. Because you will be incapable of setting the damn thing down, which makes the whole process of finishing go a lot faster.
I don't know how to end this post, so... here. Have a movie poster.