Posted: 17 July 2009 at 11:52pm | IP Logged
I just wanted to share my opinions on midnight film releases and camp outs.
Growing up in Bombay, I was convinced no one loved the movies like we did in Bombay. The atmosphere and excitement was electrifying. The last movie I saw in India was Kaho Na Pyar Hain, and I remember the crazy frenzy that feverishly broke out through the theater when Ek Pal Ka Jeena. With girls screeching at the top of their lungs, jaw dropping with drool, I almost thought they would rape the screen.
When I came to the United States initially I was taken aback at how calm the movies were. There are a zillion screens in one complex. You do not have to show up insanely early. Most of the time you share the theater with just a few others and there are plenty of seating space for the army to come in. I thought it was so tame and hopeless. They just do not value their movies here.
That was before I was introduced to the epic film genre. How wrong had I been. The obesession for movies in India is just a fizzle compared to the epic film mania. Lets just say that if DDLJ was an epic film there would be at least ten guys in line playing the mandolin, and forty others with the cap and jacket.
I've waited in line for other movies, but my lengthy camp outs and experiences have been with Harry Potter. Back in the days of the first Harry Potter movies, there were no midnight shows. In fact back then for the Sorcerer's Stone, I had not even read a single Harry Potter book. I watched it due to a friend and that my sister went with her middle school friends to watch it.
I was awestruck by the excitemnt everyone shared. Usually, I dislike noise and kids. However, this was indeed magical to walk into a theater with kids dressed up as wizards running around on broomsticks. The entire theater did the wave. There were cheers, clapping and foot stomping all the way through the credits.
Katie who is the organizer was so enthralled by the books that she could narrate events and refer to exact page numbers they occur on. Harry Potter had brought back the joys of reading to a whole new generation. Something that had not happened since the days of L Frank Baum, CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien.
I had to come back and read the books. Not only did i get hooked to the books, but to the going to the movies aspect too. JK Rowling is no Tolkien, but this is fantasy fiction at its finest. One that cuts through the gaps of all social strata and generation. Since then I have waited in line for the movies and book releases.
I do not remember when the midnight release trend started. But the most memorable midnight release was for Goblet of Fire. This was released in November in the middle of our bleak northern winter. The line started at noon for the midnight showing. We had set up a couple of tents and we were all huddled in there. We had Rockys pizza, drank soda. We sat and played games, people had their fan fiction collections and there would be a reading of favorites. Most memorable of all was braving the cold. The theater folks told us they would let us in at nine PM, so we had packed up by then. However, they left us suffering till eleven PM. When I got in finally I was so excited. Not for the movie, but for the ability to feel my fingers and toes again. I was worried they had frozen and fallen off.
That was memorable, if you knew midwestern winters you would know why. The book releases have been memorable too. We would get the book at midnight and read through the night, terrified to venture outdoors without finishing it lest someone drop *spoilers*
Over the years the excitement over Harry Potter has fizzled a bit. You slowly grow out of things. The young fans who got me hooked are also older and away with school, jobs etc. However, we still had the largest group in years 55+.
I've come to realize that it is more than an obsession over a book. Its a socializing event. Where else can you get a group of 13-30+ together. A whole new generation of younger generation of siblings joined in this year. Where else can you get people from the entire midwest in one spot as friends, gfs, bfs and relatives join in. Where else can you get so many diverse people as different as chalk and cheese. I look forward to these movie releases all the time to meet people, have fun and talk Potter. Honestly, unless you have camped out you have not lived the ultimate social movie experience.