“Rise of the Guardians” and the Fall of Regal Cinemas

I hope 2013 is off to a great start for you.  We started our new year at the movie theater and Regal Entertainment Group, the new owner of the Great Escape movie theater in Moline, Illinois, has some issues that need addressing.  This may have been a fluke, but it’s worth noting so it doesn’t become a regular occurrence.

Regal_Entertainment_Group_logo

Gretel and I decided today would be the day we’d go check out “Rise of the Guardians”, while Ray was home making New Year’s Eve dinner.  He wasn’t up for seeing a group of holiday “guardians” take on evil.

On the way to the theater, Gretel and I talked about the fact this was our first movie together by ourselves.  As a family, we’d gone to see “Up”, “Hop”, “Rango”, and “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”.  Gretel, who is 11-years-old, told me in the car that she was glad we were getting there early because she loves seeing the previews so she can plan out her future movie going experiences.

We get there and we buy our tickets and sign up for the new “Regal Crown Club” card since Regal’s website Friday night had issues and prevented me from signing up online for our rewards card.

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After buying our large popcorn and two large sodas, it was off to grab prime seats with minutes to spare.  As we walked in, there were only three other people in the theaters for “Rise of the Guardians” since it’s been out for six weeks now.  As the reminder to the turn off your cell phone begins to fade away on the screen, the image freezes.  This remains on-screen for several more minutes.  Since I didn’t stop at the restroom on the way in, I took advantage of the opportunity to escape and let the usher know just in case movies start by automation now.  She replied, “was it on the turn your cell phone off reminder?”  I said, “yes” and she told me that’s happened recently and the movie will start shortly.

I get back and the theater is pitch black with just music playing.  Fifteen minutes later, there’s still music and theater movie etiquette reminders, but no previews and no visuals, just audio and a dark theater.  Gretel, getting very impatient, asks if we should go to the Rave Theater in Davenport, Iowa, and exclaims, “worst movie experience ever”.

About 30 minutes after the movie was supposed to start, there’s a flicker on the screen and the movie abruptly begins with no previews.  My movie review is coming up, but here are my final thoughts on Regal.  You’re the nation’s largest movie chain.  Welcome to the Quad Cities.  In my seven years here, I’ve been to this theater many times and I’ve never experienced this.  Hopefully, I won’t have to again.  Your popcorn and soda and the free refills, with the purchase of a large, were great.  However, no explanation of the “issue” left a bad taste with us.  When a tween replies, “Maybe Great Escape should buy the theater back”, it’s not a good thing.

We were really looking forward to the previews of “Oz:  The Great and Powerful”.  Since that didn’t happen, a nice solution would be to surprise Gretel with two passes to see that movie when it premiers in March.  We’ll even buy our own popcorn and soda!

DEBUT REGAL MOVIE THEATER EXPERIENCE:  D

“Rise of the Guardians”, a $145 million production, has already brought in more than $255 million worldwide and is a modest domestic success at $90 million.  It’s already earned a Golden Globes’ nomination for “Best Animated Feature Film” and has won several film festival awards for best animated feature.  I think it’ll earn an Oscar nomination in that category, too.

The story focuses on Jack Frost, voiced by Chris Pine, a fun and energetic teenager that makes kids happy with snow days and blizzards.  The only problem is that no one can see him and that is one of the things he wants most.  He wants to be famous like Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), the Tooth Fairy (Ilsa Fisher), and Sandman/Sandy, who makes dreams a happy place for kids at night.

Jack Frost gets his chance when he’s summoned to the North Pole 300 years after we’re introduced to him at the beginning of the movie.  More and more kids are no longer believing in Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.  But, what’s even more urgent is that Jack Frost is being asked to join the Guardians to fight Pitch Black, also known as the Bogeyman, voiced by Jude Law, who is behind the kids losing faith and belief.

Pitch Black is on a mission to replace happy dreams of unicorns and fun dinosaurs with evil nightmares.  Pitch is successful and his darkness takes over the world with the exception of Jamie, the last kid on Earth that still believes.  That little boy is the last person that can restore believing.  In a last-ditch effort, Jack Frost shows Jamie that there is reason to believe and Jamie becomes the first person in over 300 years to actually see Jack Frost.  But, is it too late????

While trying to restore faith in youngsters around the world to continue believing in Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, Jack Frost learns that he wasn’t always the spirit of winter and that he had a family before he became Jack Frost.

The movie is fun, appealing, exciting, and, at times, very funny and very dark.

I loved the rapport between Jack Frost and the Easter Bunny, who Jack jokingly refers to as a “kangaroo”.  The two have had issues since 1968 when Jack Frost brought a winter wonderland to Easter.  The Easter Bunny is still holding a grudge.  And, a tattooed Santa has a fun edge and sense of humor.

I’ve been wanting to see “Rise of the Guardians” since I saw the trailer last fall and it was definitely worth the wait.

ANTHONY’S GRADE:  B

GRETEL’S GRADE:  A

Anthony

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2 responses to this post.

  1. There are occasional issues like that at our local theater, and it always bothers me when they don’t address it and at least offer up a “sorry about that”. Ours is owned by Carmike, not Regal, so maybe it’s a new industry standard?! Thanks for the movie review! I wanted to take my nephews and niece to see it, but we waited too long. At least now I know that when it’s out on DVD, we need to have an in-house movie day and enjoy it. 🙂

    Happy New Year!

    Reply

  2. Vicky,

    I agree that they should address technical issues and I know, from television, that they happen.

    Your little ones will enjoy it, even the dark segments.

    Happy New Year!

    AP

    Reply

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