I think we picked the craziest day to go see Avatar at a shopping center theater: the day after Christmas when shoppers were out in force, filled with pent-up shopping frenzy after a whole day of closed stores.
I purchased tickets online the day before and we left two hours early for the theater which was a good thing because we got stuck in an Emeryville traffic/parking nightmare for about 45 minutes.
Only two cars at a time were making it through each light change to turn left into the street leading to the parking lot at Emeryville’s Bay Street 16 AMC Theater. After sitting through at least 10 light changes we finally made it into the next line-up-and-wait scenario on the narrow road leading to the garage. Then when we’d finally crawled our way close to the garage entry we saw a sign saying “Garage Full” blocking the entry to the garage. The only option was for cars to exit back on to main the street we’d just come from.
I decided to just move the sign and the rubbery barriers and go in anyway, since we could see people leaving the garage and we knew they were letting people in at the other end of the shopping complex. Jessica was smart enough to run over and try out the ticketing button to see if it would raise the arm and allow entrance. Of course they’d programmed it so that it wouldn’t.
So back out into the awful traffic we went. A few blocks away we saw parking spaces by an old boarded up restaurant, parked, and speed-walked through the outdoor shopping center to the theater since it was starting to rain. I picked up our tickets from the ticketing machine and we entered the theater. We were still an hour early and only the 10th people in line. We were warm, dry and comfortable and I got to sketch some of my fellow waiters-in-line.
Our seats were great and the 3-D glasses were comfortable and worked well, even over my glasses. The Imax theater filled completely, even down in the front rows where you’d be looking up at the screen the whole time.
And the movie was fantastic—so beautiful and transporting. I still feel like I am in the incredible world Cameron created for Avatar. I had objections to a couple bits in the movie but overall, it is truly a masterpiece of filmmaking, a gorgeous work of art and imagination, and a feat of technological brilliance as well.