We have had the Monsters Vs Aliens release weekend on the calender since boy and baldguy first mentioned it. Alex was so very excited and we promised him that as long as everything went smoothly we would take him to see it on Sunday. Saturday went really well. So this morning, off we went to the 10:45 showing at AMC Merchant’s Crossing in North Fort Myers.
Despite some rather negative reviews, I was going along with the boys so the whole team could make this a pleasant experience for all involved (nameless strangers, no need to thank us, you shut off your cell phones for the entire showing, and for that I believe we may be even) and based on the assumption that no matter how horrible the movie could possibly be it wouldn’t be some of the stuff that makes me loathe trips to the video store because it’s at eye level and kid will fixate and I’m too tired for that battle (so now we use netflix and it’s a thrill & surprise for him every time and lets him focus a bit more) . On the drive to the movie theater Alex exclaimed “Oh no! We forgot our 3D glasses” and we explained that it was ok, that we would be getting new 3D glasses at the theater.
Oddly enough, the ticket window lady told us that the theater was only half full. Which was good, because I bring some neurotic tendencies to the table- I don’t like to go into a dark theater to find a seat and I prefer to keep the ratio of us to the people who could eventually candy ooze and popcorn us and feed us to the local gators at a much wider spread, so we can gain some distance, if necessary, for a running head start. No, this has never happened. But having a kid with sensory differences that go hand in hand with PDD/ASD, makes us a little cautious. I’m sure there are folks who would argue that we shouldn’t hide our child or apologize for him, and we don’t hide him, but I was single and childless long ago and as a single ticket holder on planes, trains, busses, and even the occasional theater or restaurant, I have been frequently seated in that spare seat near the family with a bajillion kids under the age of 5, of course bajillion is an odd number in these scenarios, leaving that extra seat for yours truly. So while I am not hiding my child, I do try to be considerate as I can pretty much guarantee that people did not pay $10+ for a ticket to the us trying to calm Alex show (or the screaming infant in an R rated movie show either…again in my childless days I know I wouldn’t have even taken a $5 matinee ticket to see that show).
Anyway, immediately upon finding our seats, J & A take off to do the necessary tour of the restroom, or else Alex will obsess the entire film. They come back with beverages and popcorn, toward the end of the previews. By the way: I’m so excited about Where the Wild Things Are (the preview made me weepy & gleeful it was so lovely), Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs (one of my favorite books and it looks like great fun on the big screen), and Up (clever, funny, a wild ride…at least from the preview).
On return Alex mentioned again “but I don’t have any 3D glasses” so Jeff went to investigate. Honestly, I haven’t been so up on the technological advancements of film, so I shyly assumed nobody else has them maybe we don’t need them. I was wrong. How wrong? Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. Jeff returned with the news that this theater doesn’t show movies in 3-D.
Yeah. My thoughts exactly. We’d prepped kid for the movie experience, as usual. But we did not prep him for this. Heck, I could have used a warning.
And why didn’t we know this before deciding to come to this theater? or when buying our tickets?
I took a peek when we got home- moviefone.com specifies Monsters Vs Aliens 3D on some listings, at some theaters. But not at our theater- it just says Monsters Vs Aliens. I’m guessing that I’m not the only one that thought it was in 3D the way that the superbowl promos were on TV- available on every color television (theater) and viewable with 3D glasses. I guess if we knew the finer points of the technology and equipment and specifications required to project such technological awesomeness (according to the hype) for the masses then we would have known that not all theaters will show it in 3D. If we had followed the film magazines maybe we would have been more wary. If the 8 million ads we have seen did not all say in theaters real3D -without explaining that real 3D is special equipment and not available at every theater, then we would have been prepared. So really, if the 3D is being pushed so much in the ads, and there is no voice over saying “in 3D where available” or “in 3D in participating theaters” then guess what? I’m going to assume it’s in 3D everywhere. So when Jeff searched moviefone.com by zipcode, it didn’t stand out that there were different listings for Monsters Vs Aliens 3D and just plain two-dimensional Monsters Vs Aliens. Really, if they are going to only promote as a 3D (at least in our market) film but then slip some 2D versions in, couldn’t they at least market it as Monsters Vs Aliens in True 3D, and Monsters Vs Alients NOT in True3D.
I guess, I have experienced IMAX to know it has special requirements and to see it we have to go to a specially outfitted theater, but with the widespread release of Monsters Vs Aliens it never occured to us that “real 3D” required a different outfitting than a regular 2D cinema.
Anyway, frustration aside, Alex didn’t freak. He did request another visit to the restrooms, so I took him so we could talk.
He was so bummed that it wasn’t in 3D, I was bummed that another movie outting would have to happen to have the 3D experience. (Can you tell I don’t get out much? these days it’s hard to go anywhere, I really had to summon all of my strength for today, so the idea of going to see anything in the near future is bleak) Or that I would be subjected to another movie viewing today so Alex can get his 3D fix (shark boy vs lava girl is a favorite lately).
He did fidget, blow bubbles, and at one point hummed Ode to Joy rather loudly as we came back from the bathroom (where we saw a cockroach, which Alex talked about loudly enough that the other folks in the bathroom were quite hesitant to even move…As was the cockroach). But he did ok, considering the build up to this experience and the let down. He wasn’t more fidgety or chatty than the kids sitting behind us, so I take that as a good sign.
He did remind me that we forgot the 3D glasses, after the movie, so I think he thinks we screwed up completely. And we kind of did, but now we know, and he was fairly cool about it, which to me is a huge sign as to how much progress he has made.
I am though wondering if some of the other folks in the theater thought it was in 3D as at least in the previews the animation and the projection were so crisp that things did feel 3D-ish….
Anyway, strategy for next time: triple check the availability of 3D. Avoid AMC Merchant’s Crossing completely (the popcorn is always insanely salty and somewhat stale, not to be a picky freak, but I like good movie theater popcorn. Ask Jeff, we once had to drive by a movie theater just for popcorn when I was pregnant.). Bring the weighted vest and quiet fidgets for Alex to put on when he starts getting a little stir crazy and so he can keep his hands busy and enjoy the rest of the show. Bring a plastic cup with lid from home (water bottles are not our friend). and arrive 10 minutes early for the trip to the bathroom, the snacks, and finding a good seat, far from the maddening crowd, for their sanity and ours.
As far as the movie goes- it was ok. The usual fare…Not as engrossing as some, but the characters were kind of neat and there were definitely a few laughs. It really was a quick and not too shabby ride. Even in 2D. Not as horrible and empty as some have made it out to be, and clearly it stands on it’s own in 2D, but I did keep thinking, after certain angles and movements: gee that flying/punching/bubbling/exploding thing would have been great in 3D.
Our experience here is a perfect example of setting customer expectations appropriately and how that relates to a customer’s actual experience with a product. As my expectations were not set appropriately or accurately by the advertisements/marketing of this product, I was allowed to make my own expectations without adequate guidance. The human mind is a vast and powerful thing, we use information to guide our forming of expectations about everything, when we are misled, it leaves us feeling cheated, perhaps angry even, it sours us to repeating an experience or even a related experience. So how are you setting customer expectations? or even non-business interpersonal ones? I’ll discuss this further in the upcoming week.
Also, if ayone wants to share any tips for taking sensory sensitive kids, kids with ASD/PDD/Asperger’s to the movies or any other sensory intensive experience, please comment, I’m sure we can all learn something!