Saturday, January 5, 2008

Camping & Drive-In Theater

Well, like it or not, we'll be camping Tuesday night at AGAP. On an Iridium phone-call to the AGAP camp we were informed that the plan was now to have us spend Tuesday and Wednesday at the camp without returning to South Pole at the end of the first day. There's nothing we can do about it, except "remain flexible" as is so often the prescribed course of action to take down here.

I got to spend about 4 hours as a DA once again as Saturday was the galley's day off (since they had to work New Year's) and various departments picked up the baton to feed everybody in their absence. We did a lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches, soup, curly fries, etc.

Saturday also saw pretty much the coolest double feature drive-in movie ever. A big screen was made of sheets at one end of the gym and a laptop and projector were set up at about half-court. We brought in chairs and couches and had the windows all blocked out. When the lights went out and the projector started running, we were watching a double feature of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Star Wars Ep. 4: A New Hope". I seriously don't think you could top that pair of flicks. I'd seen "ANH" on the big screen back in 1997 when they re-released the whole original trilogy, but it had probably been since I was just a wee, blond lad that I had seen "Raiders" on the big screen. It definitely added to the experience. I was struck by how well the scene in Marion's Himalayan bar in Nepal was done. They really had a great set, lighting, and sound effects. The use of shadows as a story telling device was also remarkably effective, and I have to say it was something I'd never really picked up on just watching the movie on the small screen. I sure hope Spielberg and Lucas come through and get us a copy of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" before South Pole Station closes for winter. It'd be so much fun to put on a real movie premiere down here on May 22nd!

I had a similar revelation about the movie "Alien", when it was released back to theaters some years ago while I was still on the east coast. At the end of the film when the Nostromo (the huge refinery ship) is in self-destruct mode and there are a lot of fog and steam being released and flashing/strobing lights going off all over the place, I was amazed at how much more disorienting and anxiety inducing the effect was on the big screen than on a TV. There was just so much more light being flickered before your eyes in the dark theater that it was a whole new sensation to watch that movie. I think both are yet another case why cinemas should never go the way of the dodo and how the big screen and shared movie-going experience in a theater can transcend any sort of home theater system.

Viva la difference!

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