Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

On Wednesday (104 weeks since Jerry and I first encountered each other!) Jerry and I went to see the latest edition of the Harry Potter movie series: The Order of the Phoenix, at the recently opened AMC Cupertino Square (formerly Vallco Fashion Park, for those of you who come from the Silicon Valley…) with CKL+D.

First off, the theatre: Inserted in what Jerry lovingly referes to as the Vallco black hole of retail, the AMC Cupertino Square (I guess they want to discard the old name to shed it’s reputation) reminds me of the Los Angeles mall theatres that I’ve been to – box office on a lower level, and the rest of the theatre an escalator ride away. Jerry procured the tickets for the movie in the afternoon – as she works near the shopping center. She loved the automated ticked kiosk, as it was easy to operate and quickly produced the tickets. Later that evening, and after CKL+D arrived, we rode the escalator up to the main level. They have a lovely assortment of pictures from past movies into a montage above the entry to the main lobby, as well as a series of penguin themed paintings along one side (I suspect that these might rotate to other things…)

As one might expect, a 10:15 showing on a Wednesday night wasn’t too busy but the film was still very well attended (we ended up seated in the front row, a little to the left of center.) The auditorium was the standard stadium style (well that is the standard now, isn’t it?) with comfortable seats. Being in the front row now means that we have a rail we can rest our feet on, instead of kicking someones seat in front of us. The other new standard in cinemas is the video playback to keep you entertained while waiting for the film to begin. It can’t have been that long ago that we didn’t even have a slide projector running in the theatre, but now it’s full motion video and adverts. Jerry and I did the sensible thing of hitting the restroom shortly before the trailers began, but I also decided that I needed a pretzel and a fruit punch (why, I couldn’t tell you – as I had a large dinner…) This is actually my only complaint: the guy at the snack bar slowed things down a bit by stopping to talk with coworkers (though about work, which can’t be too bad…) and didn’t bother to cap my massive medium drink with a lid until after he managed to spill some on the counter – and the cup…

We managed to make it back to the auditorium just in time for the start of the trailers (in some cases the best part about going to the movies, especially bad movies…) I don’t remember them all, but there was a couple I remember. The Dark is Rising based on the Susan Cooper novel. I immediately recognized Ian McShane (not because of Deadwood, which I never watched, but because of Lovejoy!) Looking it up on the IMDB I also see that Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who number 9) is in it, as The Rider (no wonder I didn’t recognize him – he was masked!) I guess I might give it a go, definitely the right film to pair it with.

Another trailer that sparked my interest was for Across the Universe. Now the entire trailer employed the use of the Beatles song “I’ve Just Seen a Face”, but little did I know that it was a heavily Beatles influenced film! The IMDB listings has characters of Jude, Lucy, Jojo, Sadie, Prudence and Mr. Kite (Eddie Izzard!!!) This comes out around Jerry’s birthday, we’ll see if I can take her out to this (we did Cirque du Soliel’s “Love” for my birthday last year…) I don’t think you can go too wrong with a Beatles musical – but then again, there was Sgt. Peppers that came out with the Bee Gees…

The last trailer (or last memorable one) was the one for Get Smart. With all the remakes and repurposing of movie and TV programs recently, you would think that I would be scared of this – but I’m not. Steve Carell is an inspired choice of casting for the part of Maxwell Smart. Once I saw him rise up in the phone booth, I knew everthing was going to be all right – then when he couldn’t open the door of the phone booth, I knew this movie has to rock (it has to, because the Rock is in it!)

What about Harry Potter, you may ask. It was great fun. The problem facing the film franchise is the sheer volume of each book. Order of the Phoenix was a door-stopper in size, and an incredible read (it had me up to all hours just to finish it, something the Half Blood Prince didn’t do as well.) They managed to trim it down to the bare minimum story. We don’t really get to know much about the members of the Order, like we do in the book – so we don’t get to meet characters like Tonks properly (though we do get to see some of her ability, which was fun.) It has a great climax to it, one to rival even the best light/dark lord duels of the past 30 years…

Well worth paying full price, and maybe even doing it a second time…