First Screening: DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon”

how_to_train_your_dragonNote: This entry may include spoilers after the break so if you don’t want to know about the movie, don’t read beyond “SPOILER ALERT!”

Sometime last week, Ann got an e-mail from about a free, pre-release screening of a DreamWorks movie “from the people who brought you Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar.” So being we had nothing to do today and it was free, we went ahead and signed up to go.

Unlike most movie screenings, this one wasn’t in Hollywood but in beautiful, downtown Brea. (I’m being facetious, folks.) Had we known there wasn’t a freeway close to the damn city so we would have taken the streets to the place, which is exactly what we did on the way home.

When we arrived, there was already a group of people waiting to get in since seating was on a first-come, first-served basis. While waiting outside the theater, people from the Nielsen survey company gave us questionnaires asking us about our movie viewing habits: what we’d seen, what we’d want to see, if we prefer 3D or traditional, etc. We also got wristbands upon entry to show the rest of the moviegoers we were more specialer than they were.

As indicated in the e-mail invitation, there were quite a few stipulations for this event, including:

  • Being accompanied by a child between 6-11 since it was an animated feature
  • You couldn’t be or appear to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs (?)
  • Cameras, cell phones with cameras or any type of recording devices were not permitted and those caught trying to record would be removed and subject to criminal charges
  • Attendees were subject to a physical search of their belongings and person

Remember that this was a first screening so it was serious business and as such, extensive security measures were taken, including all participants having to walk through a metal detector. There was also a guy in the theater with night vision binoculars so he could spy on the audience while the movie was showing. His stoicism and appearance reminded us of Crazy Steve from Drake and Josh, a guy that could go off at any second and for any reason.

Before the movie started, the Nielsen people scanned the crowd for potential post-movie interviewees who would have a chance to speak with the makers of the movie/studio suits and give their opinion. It kind of reminded me of the “Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie” episode of The Simpsons where the kids were taken into a room and shown potential new characters: “Would you kids like to come with me?”

Once picked, they took the names of everybody in the group and from the looks of it, they already knew who they wanted to talk to: families of four with a boy of at least 8 years of age, so unfortunately we didn’t make the cut. That’s too bad because I would have liked to give them some input.

Finally, once all the seats were filled and interviewees finalized, the title was revealed: How to Train Your Dragon, yet another movie based on a children’s book, because Lord knows we haven’t had enough of those lately.

SPOILER ALERT! If you don’t want to know more about the movie, don’t read beyond this point!

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