Movie Review: Ex Machina

Yesterday was my son’s birthday (surprising and depressing how quickly 35 years passes… but that’s for another post or ten) and after a nice dinner we went to the movies. This review is in two parts: the theater and the movie.

We went to Celebration! Cinema in Lansing MI, one of the largest multiplex theaters in the area. They have IMAX (the HUGE screen and format movies), D-BOX (a more immersive experience where each seat is on a gimbal mount and can shake and move synchronized with the movie), 3D projectors (for 3D movies, duh), and Reserved Recliner Seating in all of their studios. There are a dozen locations around the state and have been in business at least a decade.

This was the first time in a couple of years we went to this location (the kids having moved out of town and I seldom go to the show anymore) and discovered the challenge of reserve seating when we walked in the door. They started the policy this month that all seats in all theaters were mapped and assigned, sort of what I had experienced in going to live performance theater venues in the (distant) past. I guess this could be a good thing in the right conditions, but for our “spur of the moment” decision to go to the show it was vastly more annoying than helpful.

By adding power reclining chairs they effectively reduced the capacity of the theater by half, so there were fewer places to sit than in the past. Because the seats are physically MUCH larger, they cut the number of rows in the room by nearly 2/3 and raised the height (from ground level) of the back row, so you had to climb 4 stair treads to get to the next row. These changes together made it impossible to find three seats together at ground level. Either our party needed to split (where we would be separated by 3 rows of viewers) or I had to climb to row “G,” the third level above the ground. We got there early enough to make the ascent to Everest in time to see half of the trailers, but it wasn’t pleasant.

Then there was the “recliner” seats. I think they used Lurch (from the Adam’s Family show) for the model of a person to seat, based on the ratio of “butt length” to “leg length.” I’m 186 cm tall (6′ 1″) and the tallest of our party, but when I leaned the seat back I wasn’t tall enough to match the shape and size of the chair. I had to shift back about 6″ to put the bend at the base of my spine where it is supposed to be (or use a watermelon as a lumbar support) and then my knees were not at the front of the seat. Until the lower section raised far enough to provide support it was really uncomfortable. Eventually I was able to find the sweet(est) spot where I was in the least amount of pain and still could see (some of) the screen.

The control for the seat was on the inside edge of the armrest, not immediately obvious (but necessary in a public place, I guess, lest your neighbor adjust your seat for you) but eventually discovered. That is, I discovered mine and my son inadvertently found his when his wallet did the “butt call” thing by changing his seat position at random times throughout the movie.

Overall the experience of “watching” the movie was at best a rating of 13 out of 87 (and I think that is being generous).

The movie itself was better. I had not seen a trailer or heard about it when I was invited to see it (part of the birthday thing) the day before. A quick scan of the IMDB page suggested it would be a movie I’d like to see, as Sci-Fi has always been my genre of choice. Lest I spoil too much of the movie for future viewers, let me just say it was good, not great and not what I expected. It’s a love story (but then 97% or more of all movies are) and there’s a twist at the end, but I guess I expected more. It gets a rating of 64 out of 91. I think I’d rent it to watch it again, but doubt if I’d pay more than the $2 to see it in Grand Ledge (a local theater does second run movies for two dollars, the best value in the area). It is completely certain I won’t go back and see it at Celebration!

SPOILER ALERT: Rosebud is a sled


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One thought on “Movie Review: Ex Machina

  1. Pingback: 49 Shades of Gray | Phred the Elder

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