The Jurassic World : Fallen Kingdom Los Angeles Premiere was held at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, a facility designed by famed architect Frank Gehry and not known for screening films. I was surprised at the venue to say the least, but there was also an incredible Jurassic World activation, which took up an entire city block in downtown Los Angeles.
There had free custom screen-printed t-shirts being given away, but they were out of the blank shirts by the time I had arrived. They were just handing out pre-printed Jurassic World t-shirts by the time I had arrived. There were various dinosaurs on display inside and outside the activation.
They were also handing out bags of Skittles candies. There were VR simulators, too. I walked around taking pictures of everything while waiting for my guest to arrive. Once inside we got our popcorn and drinks and headed to our seats, which were on the upper level.
I never learned why a movie premiere was held at a classical music venue, but it was a fun experience.
Entertainment Weekly’’s PopFest was held at The Reef and the parking lot is where most of the events were happening. The main stage was located outside as well as various activations and food trucks. There were some panels held inside The Reef building itself. More on EW PopFest here.
The Supernatural Panel was held on Saturday, and though I’ve only watched a few episodes of Supernatural my youngest niece is a huge fan so I went to the panel to take pictures for her and make her jealous. She was away at school at the time so she couldn’t go. I texted her a few photos I took on my phone, and I mailed her all of the photos from my camera on a flash drive.
I’ll probably get around to watching Supernatural after the series completes its run in 2020. I thoroughly enjoyed the Supernatural panel at EW PopFest, because Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki are hilarious together. At one point Jared goes to do a mic drop, and Jensen gives him shit because microphones are expensive. Jared had tried to catch the microphone with his foot and it hurt his foot. The whole panel consisted of them teasing each other, and it was great. They clearly have a lot of fun together and we got to laugh along with them.
Entertainment Weekly hosted their own pop culture convention in Downtown Los Angeles the same weekend, and only a few blocks from where Stan Lee’s Comikaze was happening at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
EW’s PopFest was held at The Reef and the parking lot is where most of the events were happening. The main stage was located outside as well as various activations and food trucks. There were some panels held inside The Reef building itself.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Panel
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Panel
On the Friday before PopFest officially began, they held an early screening of Doctor Strange at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood for the first 250 or so VIP weekend badge purchasers. There was a Q&A with Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson.
El Capitan Marquee for Doctor Strange screening
Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson
Some of the panels at the main stage included Supernatural, Arrow, The Flash, and Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them. The only panel I saw inside The Reef was for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, but I also went to the preview screening of the pilot episode of Good Behavior (at which they had t-shirts on the chairs for the attendees.) They also had author signings where I had my 20th Anniversary edition of Outlander signed by Diana Gabaldon.
Some of the outdoor activations included photo ops for M&Ms and for Ash vs. The Evil Dead. The Ash vs. the Evil Dead activation also gave away foam chainsaw “hands” and t-shirts. There was also an activation to compete in Survivor skills. They had trivia, too, where you could win prizes and a Lip Sync Battle stage. There was a beer garden near the main stage, but I’m not much of a drinker and I hate beer so it wasn’t something I was interested in.
Lip Sync Battle Activation
Survivor activity course
It did rain a little bit throughout the weekend, so that was a bit of a downer for the outdoor events, but it was light and sporadic so everyone was able to have fun. The event seemed pretty well run given that it was the first event of this size Entertainment Weekly held. They had a smaller activation called ConX during Comic Con 2016, which I had visited but hadn’t seen any of the panels or live music performances. I think the event would have had more success had it not been held the same weekend as Stan Lee’s Comikaze (now Los Angeles Comic Con).
On Saturday of WonderCon 2019 we were treated to a screening of the full first episode of the new AMC show NOS4A2 which is based on the novel by the same name written by Joe Hill. I hadn’t heard of the book prior to the WonderCon panel, but I had heard of Joe Hill as he’s no stranger to the world of comics and comic cons. Joe Hill also wrote an Eisner winning comic series for IDW Publishing called Locke & Key. Locke & Key is currently being adapted as a series by Netflix.
I watched the episode with only a vague idea about the show’s premise based off of the title, and I’m not going to recap the episode here. Here’s a trailer for you to give you an idea of what the show is about.
I thoroughly enjoyed the episode, and it introduces the story and characters quite well while leaving a lot to be discovered. Zachary Quinto is unrecognizable when we first see him as Charlie Manx. The panel with the cast creators followed the screening. There wasn’t much information given except to say that Ólafur Darri Ólafsson’s character, Bing, plays an important role.
After WonderCon I bought a copy of the NOS4A2 book to read before the show premieres on AMC on June 2. I read the book in about one week, and fans of the novel will immediately notice a huge change in the show. The age of Victoria, our protagonist, was changed from a child in the book to a teenager in the show. Ignoring logistical reasons for the change, I feel the change allows for the show to be more accurate in other ways. Reading about an 8 year old child experiencing these somewhat dark events is easier to stomach for most audiences, but seeing an 8 year old in these situations would keep many people from watching. The book also makes a few time jumps of a few years each, and time jumps in television and film usually feels clunky or just plain lazy.
The book is great, and I hope that the series continues the quality of storytelling seen in the first episode. Will we be seeing you in Christmasland on June 2nd?
On November 19 and 20, 2016 Netflix hosted a free fan event for their “revival” of Gilmore Girls on the University of California Los Angeles campus. I got there 2 hours early, but I still stood in a line which lasted over an hour.
You were checked in while in line which included being given a wristband and a map of the various activations. My first stop was to take a photo in front of the gazebo, then I went to get some free coffee at Luke’s. My next stop was Taylor’s Olde Fashioned Soda Shoppe where we were given backs of saltwater taffy and small candy stick pieces.
There was also “Kirk’s Button Emporium” where you could select a button of your choice, and this great sign was posted asking patrons to only take one button.
There were some black umbrellas hanging from a few trees for photo ops and they had umbrellas available for the fans to use because of the rain. Each umbrella had “In Omhia Paratus” printed on one side so there were plenty of people taking fun photos.
There was a photo booth inside the Stars Hollow Gazette, and a large tent held “Kim’s Antiques” which contained various “antique” furniture as well as props from the original Gilmore Girls series.
It lightly rained sporadically throughout the day, but the event was a lot of fun and completely worth waiting in lines in the rain.
I headed to a local movie theater which has very low ticket prices in the mornings and matinees to see Avengers: Endgame a fourth time. Since it was part of a smaller theater chain I was hoping they would still have some Avengers/Marvel collector cups and popcorn tins available. Arriving at 10:56am I was still in time to buy a ticket for the 11am show and was seated next to a father with his daughter who appeared to be approximately 8 years old as far I could tell in the darkened theater. This is about this girl and how her responses to Avengers: Endgame really affected me enough for me to still be thinking about it days later.
This little girl was fantastic. She laughed really loud at the funny scenes and was completely engaged in the happenings in the movie. In the early part of the movie Tony Stark is adrift in space with Nebula, and Tony lies down and Nebula comes to check on him. When Tony doesn’t respond to Nebula’s moving his face I heard a sharp intake of breath from the girl. I just thought “just wait.” From what I could tell from the girl’s responses to the movie I believe she’s seen most if not all of the MCU films to date.
Two main instances I want to cover focuses on when Mjolnir goes to Captain America and when the women surround Captain Marvel to assist her in getting the Infinity Stones to Ant-Man and Wasp at the van. When Mjolnir flies into Captain American’s hand most of the audience in the theater applauded and cheered, but the little girl just said “Whaaa?!” quite loudly. I couldn’t help but to laugh. I turned to her and she was looking at her dad (who was sitting between us) confusedly. Her reaction told me that even if she doesn’t know much of the Marvel comics or lore, she knows from the films that only Thor can wield the hammer.
The audience didn’t cheer when the women came to Captain Marvel, but the girl loudly said, “girl power!” and clapped her hands. I looked over at her and she was absolutely beaming at the screen thoroughly enjoying seeing these women kick ass on the screen.
When Thanos and Captain Marvel are fighting for the stones and Thanos pulls out the Power Stone, the girl quietly said, “oh, no.” Later, everyone in the audience cheers when it’s revealed Iron Man has taken the stones out of the gauntlet Tony had made, and the girl jumped to her feet clapping and cheering.
I wasn’t able to talk to the father and daughter duo after the movie as they left just as the credits began, and I left after the six core Avengers’ credits (with the actors’ autographs) finished. The girl’s reaction when the women come to assist Captain Marvel is just another reason why we need more female superheroes and female leaders in television and films. This little girl definitely knew the characters and some of the lore, yet she got the most excited seeing women support another woman and see them fight a common enemy alongside the all of the men. We need to see more females leading figurative and literal battles on screen for the younger generations of all genders.
**Spoiler Warning: this review is based on viewings of Avengers : Endgame and contains spoilers**
Two years ago I wrote a review for WeirdLifeofV.com comparing 4DX and DBox premium theater options available at that time. You can read that review here.
I saw the first shows of the morning for each showing, and both where in 3D.
I saw Avengers : Endgame in in Digital 3D in the MX4D theater at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood at an 8am show time. This was my second experience seeing a film in MX4D the first was for Captain Marvel. I noticed that the wind bursts appear to come from the armrest, near the cup holders. It may also spray a bit of water, but if it did it was so minimal that I don’t recall it happening. There was limited scents, but I noticed the metallic, burning metal smell more than any other scent (it was almost unbearable during Captain Marvel). A nice touch is the rain effect. In the scene where Hawkeye/Ronin is in Tokyo and it’s raining at the end of the sequence. The rain effect is enough that I and a few others covered our popcorn, but not enough to soak you. It doesn’t rain on you during the entire scene out in the rain or you would get soaking wet. The motion for MX4D is mostly “punches” and vibrations of the seats with something to smack your legs for the instances when a character is having their legs swept during a fight sequence.
Something to note is the onscreen warning about the motion effects of MX4D and the 40” minimum height requirement. Also, there are wheelchair spaces with companion seats, but there are no seats with lap belts which the 4DX at the Regal LA Live does have for those who need it (at least they had a few seats with lap belts in December 2016—I didn’t verify these seats this time.)
At the time of my initial review of 4DX there was only one theater in Los Angeles or Orange County to have 4DX which is at the Regal Cinemas at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles. There is now a 4DX theater at the CGV Cinemas in Buena Park, which I’m hoping to check out in the next few months as it is a bit cheaper than the Regal 4DX. We’ll talk about pricing later.
I saw Avengers : Endgame in 4DX at the first showing on a Tuesday at the Regal Cinemas at LA Live. 4DX has sets of 4 seats which are connected together. The seats for 4DX actually move tilting up and down and tilting a bit to the right and left. For example, when the camera swings up during the funeral scene the seats gently swing up along with the camera’s movement. There is a control on the right arm rest to turn off the water effect for your seat. The water effect sprays from the back of the seat in front of you (I don’t know how the effect works for the seats in the front row.) The spray was pretty intense which required me to wipe the water off of my 3D glasses almost every time. It has the same “punching” and leg motion effect as MX4D. Wind effects come from large fans mounted along the right and left sides of the theater. These can be very loud if the scene of the movie you’re watching is quiet. There isn’t a rain effect for the 4DX, and they don’t have a warning image displayed on the screen, but they do show a sort of trailer with full effects before the regular trailers for upcoming movie releases finish. This gives you time to get out if you find you can’t handle it. There is more strobing in the 4DX than I noticed in MX4D leading me to believe that MX4D doesn’t have any. There is minimal scent in 4DX, and I only noticed it when we see Tony Stark at his cabin by the lake. I could hear something being blown/sprayed, but it was a minute or two before I could smell the pine scent. The motion during the last half of the movie was intense. Beginning with Thanos’ attack on the Avengers facility all of the way through to Iron Man winning the battle the seats were moving with the action. In most theaters you feel a rumble in the seats because the sound is too loud, but in 4DX the seats vibrate without blowing out your eardrums.
For pricing, TCL Chinese Theatres has a set pricing of $29 for MX4D in Digital 3D with no senior or child pricing available for any show time. Regal LA Live has 4DX in RealD 3D for $25 (child) up to $29.50 (adult) for afternoon and evening show times. Morning / matinee shows are slightly less. I went on a Tuesday morning. Tuesdays at Regal are $9 for any show if you have their rewards card, which I do. There is a surcharge for premium formats so I paid $17 versus the $25 it would have been without the Regal Rewards card to see Avengers : Endgame in 4DX in 3D.
The CGV Cinemas in Buena park has 4DX tickets in RealD 3D for Avengers : Endgame starting at $21.75 for morning shows up to $26.75 for evening shows and no senior or child pricing available for any show time. I really want to check it out soon since it’s about the same distance from my home as Regal at LA Live is, and I won’t have to deal with downtown LA traffic or parking prices.
4DX packs more of a punch, though I find the fans annoyingly loud and distracting. The 4DX feels more like a ride than a theater, which I really enjoy. The TCL Chinese Theater has better picture quality for all of their screens (especially their Imax which I HIGHLY recommend) the MX4D experience doesn’t match the high ticket price.*
*If you include the parking fees for seeing the movie at Regal LA Live in 4DX versus at the TCL Chinese Theatre in MX4D, they are about equal depending on where you park for LA Live.
Have you tried 4DX or MX4D or any other immersive/premium movie experience? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.