My Raiders of the Lost Ark Story – A Tragedy

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I mean, I know what happened, and why it happened, I just… I’m having trouble dealing with  it.

Yesterday I found out that RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK would be in theatres again, for one week, in IMAX. I exploded with excitement. I couldn’t believe my luck – that I’d be able to see Raiders in theatres, 31 years after its original release? Both unthinkable and amazing that it had already not only already been thought but enacted. I bought my tickets on Fandango and texted my friends who were away at college, informing them of my plans to see it the next night. They were invited, but I was going whether they came or not. They didn’t show up. I don’t need them. The only friend I need is Professor Jones.

I go three hours early, worried that there might be a line, as there had been for IMAX pictures at this particular theatre in the past. I count myself lucky, with there being no queue. I decide to go the mall for a while, and buy a “Los Pollos Hermanos” shirt from Hot Topic. I return to the movie theatre with an hour to spare.

I’m so excited that I Instagram a picture of my ticket. I Instagram a picture of the theatre doors, declaring that none shall enter before me. The previous showing lets out, and it’s a bunch of happy people that look like people that have just seen Raiders in IMAX should look – happy. I get popcorn for myself, butter it up, and prepare to live the experience I’ve hyped for myself for the past day.

I go in, and they’re calibrating the IMAX projector. Awesome – I’ve never seen this before.

The calibration finishes, and I wonder, ‘Are they just going to… leave it that way?’

I could tell what was wrong. At least, I thought I could tell. There seemed to be two projectors, each one projecting an image. My guess at the time was that each one was projecting a 35mm print to the left and right sides, which, for people who know what they’re talking about, makes no sense other than the fact that 35 and 35 makes 70mm which is what IMAX is. The issue was that one of the projectors was out of focus. The right side of the image was fuzzy. The placement of the image was ever so slightly off, so it didn’t line up with the image under it, making it double. It was like the optometrist asked you which one was better, the right or the left, and before you answered he just made that combination your prescription.

I WANTED TO BE OKAY WITH THIS. I wanted nothing more than for my night to be perfect. To be able to see this movie on the big screen. So I sat. And I waited. Waited for the IMAX to fix itself.

Taking the idol set off a trap, and Satipo runs from the onslaught of traps. He swings across the chasm and accidentally takes the whip that had been left there earlier. From the right side of the screen a brown fuzz yells, ” Throw me the whip!” Satipo replies, “Throw me the idol!” And so the brown fuzz throws the gold fuzz to Satipo, who runs off with the idol. The brown fuzz isn’t happy, so he jumps across the chasm and becomes Indiana Jones, but not before he is half-fuzz/half-man in a close up.

The Army Intelligence men said that the Nazis had found the city of Tanis, and the shot stayed on Indy on the left side of the screen, who looked back at Marcus on the right side of the screen and the camera rack focuses to show Marcus’ expression but the IMAX projector is already so completely out of focus that it doesn’t matter and it makes you hate yourself. It was like cinematographic blue balls.

But in the end, it was Marion that did it for me. She’s on the left side of the screen. Her bar collapses. She yells at Indy one of my favorite lines of the movie:

“I’ll tell you what; Until I get back my five thousand dollars, you’re gonna get more than you bargained for. I’m your goddamn partner!”

She holds up the medallion and it became nothing but black fuzz.

That was it.

I couldn’t take it anymore.

I grabbed my bag, and my popcorn, and walked right out of the theatre. I went to the customer service desk, explained the problem to them and asked for a refund. They told me that there was nothing they could do, as there was no IMAX technician available at 10 PM. They apologized, and gave me two movie passes, a popcorn pass and a drink pass.

I have never walked out of a movie in my entire life. I’ve seen at least 200 films in theatres over the course of my two decades, and I have never been angry enough to walk out of one. When I saw AVATAR, I sat in the front row in the rightmost seat, and I STILL sat and watched the stupid movie, all three awful red, blue and green colors of it. (Because that’s how it looked to me.)

Believe me, through that entire movie I wanted to trick someone in a middle row into thinking the movie was anti-Semitic or something and anger them enough to leave, but I wouldn’t dream of walking out of a movie myself. But I just did it.

For the first time in my life, I walked out of a movie, and it had to be Raiders of the Lost Ark.

What is wrong with me.


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