We went to see The Blues Brothers at the Art Deco Theatre yesterday. Like many of their events, there was a lack of publicity...nothing on their web site, nothing in the online newspaper. Still, we thought it looked like a decent crowd when we got there; definitely more people than we saw either The Host or Paprika, sad as that was, since those were both really good movies.
The first sign of trouble, to me, was that the picture looked slightly stretched, in that way I associate with the word "anamorphic." Like that bad Korean transfer of Alligator I bought before the American version came out. And a second later, my honey made a sort of sigh. He leaned over and whispered, "It's the special edition."
As you know, I'm not a fan of special editions as a general rule, and The Blues Brothers really proves my point. I think we can all agree that a more complete John Lee Hooker performance is a fine thing, and a worthy thing to re-edit in. Pretty much everything else that was added (scenes that add nothing; extraneous material padding the beginning and ends of familiar scenes) just causes the film to drag.
Then the film went dark ("For that real old-time movie experience," my honey said). We could hear the soundtrack, but no picure. Eventually it went silent; the picture came on, frozen, with a DVD message in the corner; and it finally started up again. A little while later, it happened again, for the entire length of the "No, Ma'am, we're musicians"/Muph and the Magic Tones sequence.
When it finally started again, someone in the crowd yelled "Rewind!" which got a big laugh.
The third time, in the Soul Food Cafe, we assessed the situation and decided to call it a night. We own a superior edit, and I'd say slightly better picture quality in our living room. This wasn't turning out to be a big-screen experience, despite the presence of a big screen. I think this decision was wise, since when we'd get out to the lobby, the poor kid at the concession stand was still trying to get the projectionist on the telephone.
Anyway, back in the theatre: as we were gathering up our stuff to go, suddenly, out of the darkness, we heard Aretha yelling, "Go on then, get the hell out of here!"