Monday, February 2, 2015

(Jon)Snow Screen: Game of Thrones IMAX

It's a blizzard in parts of the country this weekend with over a foot of snow falling on states like Illinois, Ohio and New York. It's never really winter here in Los Angeles as it's sunny and in the 60's and 70's but you know, I need themes for these posts.  I was a tad chilly in a tee shirt, jeans and flip flops walking around Universal Citywalk though when the sun wasn't out and the wind was a blowing.  Super Bowl weekend is notoriously slow at the box office but it's started to pick up in recent years with genre and counter programming titles like Taken, Dear John, Chronicle, The Woman in Black and Warm Bodies ringing in $20 million plus opening weekends.  American Sniper, the polarizing war story keeps on trucking as it set a SB record taking in $31 million.  Popular HBO show Game of Thrones hit IMAX for specially formatted episodes and a sneak peak at April's season 5.  Thursday night attendees received limited edition posters but I'm just too old for a 10:00 o'clock movie on a weeknight.  For episodes that aired last year and have been online since, the special event still managed to bring in a decent $1.5 million from 205 locations.  The exclusive trailer didn't stay exclusive for long as someone posted a bootleg copy online Friday so HBO just went ahead and put out the real thing.

Of course you know I have a love-loathe relationship with GOT.  It started off so slow with so many characters, dead ends and annoying leads that I just didn't care.  Like many subscription channel shows, it made it's mark with a mix of sex and violence with lots of oral and from behind action then stabbings and beheading galore.  Once they hooked audiences, the sex steadily declined while the violence is still a major part of the show.  That's America, I guess.  Nearly 40 hours later and some of the plot lines are starting to pay off, finally. Episode 9's The Watchers on the Wall focuses on bastard son and Night's Watch member Jon Snow as they battle 100,000 united Wildlings beyond the Wall.  Dog Soldiers and Centurion director Neil Marshall returns to helm after last season's stand out episode Blackwater which was filled with battles, castle storming and naval warfare.  The episode moved quite fast as the outnumbered and untrained Night's Watch faced off with the wild, crazy and hungry tribes of Wildlings with Kit Harrington's Jon Snow taking control after one of his leaders is killed and the other loses his nerve.  Holding back giants and wooly mammoths, the show continues to ramp up it's supernatural elements that already include dragons, resurrection, witches and three-eyed birds.

I wondered if they'd edit the two episodes together into a seamless 100 minutes but nope, we get the full credit sequences along with HBO's logo.  Not sure if it was done for the episodes screened or we just missed it on TV because we fast forward the opening credits, but only the names of the actors in the particular episode were shown versus the entire regular cast.  Episode 10, The Children, wraps up with the rest of the story lines as we get the dragon queen figuring out what to do as ruler and her deadly pets, the evil Lannister clan and their messed up family issues coming to a violent end, skeleton warriors killing that kid from Love Actually while Brienne and The Mountain duke it out on a mountain over Ayra Stark.  That fight scene raised many an eye brow last year with it's brutality and outcome and it had even more cringe worthy impact on a real IMAX screen.  Sword fighting, punching, kicking, ear biting and spitting out, rock slamming into the head and being thrown off a hillside, oof! The episodes looked great on the big screen besides the pixelation of titles and text with vast landscapes of snow and green country side and spotting who in the cast had braces as a youth and who didn't.  The teaser trailer for season 5 was just that, a quick glimpse of more shit going down, more people dying, getting it on and maybe that battle of the 7 armies will finally start to happen...yeah right!

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