Monday, June 1, 2009

Welcome to the El Capitan Circus

How's the view up there?

Sometimes 3-D isn't enough to get people to come to the theater. You need some razzle-dazzle, and the El Capitan in Hollywood had that during the first weekend of the new Pixar movie, Up.

Here's a gal on stilts, tossing some rings around.
We also have a juggler...

Entertaining while they wait

and a real big man...

A big man at the El Capitan

One thing about the El Capitan...if you can't get to Disneyland, a piece of that theme park is definitely easy to reach. This theater doesn't just show the coming attractions, 3-D or normal, but they have an organist, and a pre-movie dance routine. After seeing the latest one, I'll never complain about the admission price again.

Now, the admission for Pixar's next Academy Award winner, although Coraline may put up a good fight because it's 3-D stop-action animation (a first!), is 16 bucks. However, it's slightly higher than the AMC googolplex at the Citywalk, and that was selling out in record time. In Sacramento, it's 13 bucks, but it's also selling out in record time. I had to get the 9:40 showing because it was filling up the place very quickly. I don't even go to midnight showings except for Serenity and There Will Be Blood.

Make no mistake, though, Up! is incredible in 3-D. You easily get lost into this special world, whether it's seeing Carl's house float in the sky, or incredible chase scenes. The story, meanwhile, is practically 435-D! You may know the basics: a retired balloon salesman decides to move his house to his dream vacation destination, a place called Paradise Falls. He gets an unlikely companion in Russell, an eager scout who assists Carl for the adventure, and a merit badge he wants to get. I saw the first 45 minutes at Wondercon, but the second half takes that basic story to interesting, and maybe dark, directions. Let's just say it involves someone Carl and Russell meet, and how this man is so obsessed in one thing, he forgets the other things he's done. His identity is actually revealed early in the film.

Whether you see this in 2-D or 3-D, you will remember this movie. Pixar is doing what MGM used to do, and that's selling movies through a reputation for quality so strong, asking who's in the movie is nearly secondary. With Toy Story, having the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen was the selling point. Now, you just need the characters they play, and you have the audience hooked.

Still, having some jugglers to get people in the theaters works, too.

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