Saturday, March 10, 2007

When Sublime Rapture Envelopes You in IMAX

Yesterday was the opening day for "300", and I was fully prepared with pre-purchased tickets for the 7:00 IMAX show and the 9:50 regular theatre. My cousin got them online earlier in the day, and we met up for dinner at 5:00 at Jack Astors. I'd left work early at 2:00 in order to get the ferry and bus and be home by 3:00. Just enough time to take my dog for a brief walk before leaving her for the evening. Then my mom lent us her car, which was very appreciated by my car-less husband and me, since that late show wouldn't get out until close to midnight and the buses would stop running around that time.

Just before meeting up with my cousin and her husband, we stopped in to see my dad and step mom. He's doing well but has been falling this week - twice, actually. The steroids he's taking for the various organs affected by his cancer have been making him swell up, and I don't think he can feel his feet very well. So we wanted to stop in and see how he was doing. He was in good spirits as always, and my step mom seemed recovered from the freaked-out feeling you get when someone you're looking out for falls before you can do anything about it. Dad made fun of my habit of multiple viewings of a film at the theatre. He's never recovered from my 14 times seeing "Star Wars" during its original run in 1977 when I was 13. We had a really nice mini visit, with hugs on our way out. My husband didn't tell me until after the second movie, as we were getting in the car, that Dad told him, "Make sure you look after her, now," as he gave him a hug. My dad.

We joined up with my cousin and her husband for a delicious dinner and lively conversation. Never enough time to hang out together! And it's so much fun when we do. My cousin's husband has a short film that screened during last fall's Montreal Film Festival, and it's screening in Halifax next week, which was exciting news. We moseyed on over to the theatre and were delighted that we all like to sit three rows from the front, smack in the middle of the action. The show was sold out, so the hum of anticipation was delicious.

Then it started. I'd already read enough glowing reviews to feel confident that I'd love it. And everything about it delivered. My favorite actor, Gerard Butler got to shine in the lead role of King Leonidas, and I got to spend the next two hours watching the man I've cast in my mind as the model for my main character act like the ancient warrior that is my own character in my manuscript. Nothing better than when the images in your mind come to life right in front of you!

The freshness of the shot set-ups was intoxicating. Gorgeous battle footage, unbelievably synchronous movement from the shield wall of the Spartans. Director Zack Snyder took us into that front line with Steadicam shots, trucking shots and slowed motion that froze here and there to linger on moments of lethal beauty. Leonidas was a dream of a leader, towering charismatically over the fierce fighters under his command. In one beautiful shot, he heads his unit of 300 over the rise of a hill. As they swagger down the road, powerful bodies unshielded except by their own muscle, scarlet capes swaying majestically behind them, I heard a guy in the audience behind me whisper, "Jesus, they're tanks!"

I especially like all of the silent moments when Leonidas spoke through his expressive eyes. Perfection. Didn't know I'd be treated to a nude shot of Gerry from behind. All I can say is, that was worth the seventeen months I've been waiting since this film started shooting.

Watching it immediately after the first show allowed me to settle in and wait for all the moments that took my breath away the first time. There's absolutely nothing in the world that can make my heart swell and my pulse race like it does when I watch a true warrior lead his people the way Leonidas does here. It's a feeling that never duplicates for anything else. Grateful me!

Of course, as Leonidas prepared to face down death I couldn't help but think of my afternoon visit with my dad. He's staring that foe squarely in the eye like a fearless Spartan. And while he stands in the line of fire, I'll hold my shield "thigh to neck" to protect the soldier to my left - my father. We'll hold the cancer hordes off for a little while yet. As the Persian commander calls to Leonidas to lay down his weapons, the king replies, "Come and get them." I can see that same glint in my dad's eye with every morning that arrives.


Annie Mac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annie Mac said...

The battle scenes and cinamatography didn't make me want to see it, but GB's butt - now that's a reason to see a movie.

I hope your Dad has lots more good days.

Kelly said...

I really like your Dad. He's a Capricorn, right?

Glad you enjoyed the movie. I'm looking forward to seeing it.