In which our exhausted reporter loses track of time and space but gets her very own Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D spelunking head lamp.
The longer a person stays in Vegas, the more it starts to mess with your head. By the latter days of ShoWest 2008, as I walked the path to and fro my ultra-deluxe lodgings at the TravelLodge, conveniently located between the henna tattoo parlor and the 7-11, I found myself thinking a lot about the girls, each displaying their own unique brand of naked, featured on the infinite number of handbills littering the sidewalk. Mostly I found myself thinking about their parents, wondering how many of them looked at their sweet baby girl and thought, "Someday I hope she grows up to have pictures of her lovely birthday suit clog the sewers of Las Vegas."
But this is such a totally downer thought to have, completely unworthy of Vegas. Have another tequila squishy and fuhgettaboutit!
This was actually the second time in my life I've been to Vegas, and both times, in fact, I was there on business. The first time was for an educational media conference; essentially a group of teachers, librarians, and educational media purveyors gathering to explore the exciting world of educational documentary. The first evening of the conference I showed up at the scheduled "meet and greet" cocktail party to find the lobby empty and nothing but the dregs of some wine in a box, potato chip crumbs, and some wilted broccoli and congealing ranch dip. Eventually I found the rest of the attendees in another part of the hotel sitting politely in attendance at a new educational Holocaust documentary. That was actually kind of a high point of the conference (don't get me started on the ants in my room), and I think it's fair to say I was looking forward to an opportunity to replace the painful memories of that experience with something a little more, how you say, not shit.
Naked handbills aside, mission accomplished! By day three I have seen so many movies (none involving the life cycle of the salamander), accumulated so many free t-shirts, eaten at so many free buffets, and still found time to buy some new shoes and see Cirque du Soleil, that I am quite convinced that Vegas is the happiest place on earth. Plus, there are no ants in my room.
One thing I did find fascinating about ShoWest was the utter absence of discussion about DVD, Blu-ray or any of the home movie formats. In fact, the entire week I was there I only heard one studio exec speak in enthusiastic terms about DVD. During Universal Studio's sneak peek at upcoming trailers, their rep mentioned the phenomenal success of Hellboy in DVD as a major factor in the decision to produce Hellboy 2. I don't know that it's surprising, exactly, that to speak of the DVD market to a crowd of movie theater owners is somehow an anathema, but it is a bit surreal. It cannot possibly be a secret to anyone that studios make most of their money in DVD resale nowadays, but except for the crazy exec from Universal, the home movie market is clearly the business that must not speak its name.
One message that the studios clearly wanted to send to our nation's theater owners was the promise of more "event" type movies: 3D, monster special effects, and IMAX — all the sorts of things that will, they hope, encourage people to leave the comfort of their homes to go see a movie in a theater. I mean, even if you can don those funky cardboard 3D spectacles at home to watch a 3D DVD, it's still not the same experience as sitting in a theater watching an actual dinosaur-sized dinosaur try to eat you. At least, this is the theory.
And thus I found myself at the sneak preview screening of Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D. Considering the screening was at 11 a.m., I had not availed myself of any tequila squishies before hand, although I suspect the same cannot be said for Brendan Frasier, on hand to introduce the flick to us. First he rambled at length about how the audience shouldn't just pay attention to the three-dimensional parts of the picture, but what was going on, you know, in the back, at the back of the screen, the fourth part, in the background. Then he suddenly stopped speaking and announced, "I think I should stop talking now," with that self-preserving certainty that anyone who has ever been on a bender would recognize. Hopefully someone explained to him later that depth is, in fact, one of the dimensions being referred to in "3D".