Picture it: Concord, California, 1985. I am sitting with my family at my first drive-in movie, Back to the Future. Mom takes out crackers from her purse (too cheap for popcorn); Dad roars at the screen ('Ronald Reagan? The actor? Who's Vice President-- Jerry Lewis?'). I'm only seven, so I'm not getting the humor. All I know is that this is a moment that will stick with me, and drive-ins are just about the coolest technology ever.
Now picture it: Anaheim, California, circa 1990. I am with my friend J and her sister at Disneyland for the first time. I have very, very crunchy bangs. I wear Keds and overalls. I am watching Captain EO through two lenses-- the blue and red paper ones the park gave me, and the too-cool-for-this lenses of all kids in junior high. 4-D? Michael Jackson? Like, yeah, I mean, it's okay, whatever.
Fast forward: Last night. I'm with two friends watching Alice in Wonderland in IMAX 3-D. Keep in mind that the following things have happened since my last high-tech movie experience:
1. Developed OCD (actual quote by me to the ticket-taker-- 'Um, do you guys sanitize these glasses?')
2. Developed an actual crush on Tim Burton
3. Developed an appreciation for technology, thanks to L and iPhone
How do I express my feelings about last night? In some ways, I felt seven years old again. I actually reached out toward the screen, jumped at times, and turned to my friends saying, 'Oh my GOD! Are you seeing this? This is so COOL!' And in other ways, I was in junior high again. I found myself thinking, 'Is it just me, or is everyone else developing a mild headache?' and 'With all the tragedy in our world, couldn't the millions it took to make this movie be used elsewhere?' But it takes a lot to hold a woman in her thirties captive for almost two hours, and in the end all I could muster was, 'Wow'.
As I drove home, I realized the 'Wow' was more than just the cinematography (And the costumes. And the acting). It was the ability of something to take me places I hadn't visited in a very long time. The ability to bring back good, good memories without being shrouded with bad. The ability to take me out of where I am and to see--in three dimensions--the imagination of someone else.
I can't explain the workings of 3-D, and I don't know how movie theaters owners sleep at night charging $10 for movie tickets nowadays, but I do know this: woman in her thirties takes all the 'Wow' she can get.