So, I went to see Avengers: Age of Ultron last night.
Okay, to be fair - I actually went this morning. Midnight is "technically" morning.
I usually don't go in for first-day screenings, but thought it would be fun.
I wish I hadn't bothered.
Well, it wasn't the audience. There was a good audience there, including some students from the college I work at. So the comic book nerd factor was pretty high. That was good.
It wasn't the seating. Even though the place was pretty full, I managed to get a good seat. So that was good.
Snacks were incredibly expensive. But they were good anyway. And besides, you don't go to the movies to save money. You go to have fun.
You see, it's entirely possible that Avengers: Age of Ultron is a good movie. It probably is. Parts of it looked fun. What I could see of it.
The problem was that I saw it in 2D, at a theater which left the stupid 3D lens on the projector. What's happening is, you're effectively watching one-eye's worth of a 3D movie, through a rapidly flickering polarizing lens. Half the brightness. If you're lucky.
Even while the trailers were running (which I'd seen online) I kept thinking, "Is that dark? That looks dark. Maybe I'm remembering the trailer wrong." But it was clear, or rather, it wasn't, that by the time the movie was underway the movie was too dark. Far too dark. Every scene was dim, washed out and blurry (a "ghosting" effect is part of the problem of running a 2D movie on a projector set up for 3D). Only daylight scenes were reasonably bright, and any action was blurry and impossible to follow.
Now, I should have gotten up and walked out, gone to the manager, and demanded they fix it. But that's like going to the manager of a McDonald's and complaining because their food tastes like crap. It's completely pointless. Plus, I kept hoping it would get better. But it never did.
It ruined the entire movie. I could never get it out of my head that "I wish I could see this better". And it particularly drives me crazy because I work with digital cinema files. I know how this stuff is supposed to work, and how amazing it can look. Last weekend I was able to run our annual screening of 162 student films, running 6 1/2 hours, on a projector that costs less than a tenth of what a movie theater projector does, and it looked far better than what I saw last night. I'm in the process of making a digital cinema file for another screening in Hollywood at the Director's Guild of America theater next week. It's not rocket science. This is a well-established standard with rules. You can bet that theater will get it right. But not your local multiplex.
I e-mailed the theater chain to complain. I've done so before, and they sent me some free tickets. Whoopee. I'd rather they fix the problem. But again, it's like expecting McDonald's to not taste like crap. Ain't gonna happen. There are a lot of movies I'd like to go see this year. Now I'm wondering if I'm even going to bother.
Plus, now I have to find a decent theater to go see Avengers: Age of Ultron. Because as far as I'm concerned - I still haven't seen it.
It was an Edwards theater. Part of the Regal group. So my recommendation - go anywhere else. And read the articles I linked to first. If the picture looks dim, get out, and get your money back.
Edwards Valencia Stadium 12 gets a 0/10.
Avengers: Age of Ultron gets... well, I haven't seen it yet.