Monthly Archives: April 2013

In-Flight Entertainment

I have returned from my vacation! Miss me? While  I’ve been traversing the globe, I’ve had a few good ideas for posts. One such idea came to me while I was trapped on a plane for a 10-hour transatlantic flight. But first, let me back up a bit.

The last time I flew from the US to Europe was two years ago. I flew Delta, and it was one of the older model planes. This meant that there were a series of monitors placed throughout the Economy cabin and we the passengers would watch whatever it was that was presented to us.  We all had to watch the same thing.  While an in-flight movie or TV show is most excellent, there was no choice in the matter. So in 2010, for my flight over the pond, these were the entertainments provided (per my journal notes):

  1. The King’s Speech (Oscar-winning and very good but alas edited for language which ruined one of the funniest sequences in the whole movie.)
  2. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (meh)
  3. The Karate Kid (The new version with Jackie Chan and Will Smith’s kid. Luckily, I think I slept through most of this)
  4. One episode of The Office
  5. One episode of Glee (by this point, I wondered if we had all died and this was perhaps Hell.)

On the flight back home, which is a longer flight btw, we were horribly punished by way of in-flight entertainment:

  1. Little Fockers (Noooooo!!!!)
  2. The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader (eh…it was okay, but honestly I can’t remember much about it)
  3. Secretariat (This one was pretty good. High point of the flight home)
  4. One episode of The Big Bang Theory (a show I happen to enjoy)

Did you notice how there was less entertainment for the longer flight?  I sure did.  Anyways travel ahead to two years later (present day) and I’m on the plane again headed over the water. To my joy and surprise, Delta had upgraded their planes and now every passenger was given a personal screen with an array of film, television, and game choices!! Huzzah!

Choice! A fine thing unless you are watching the Matrix films in which the notion of choice becomes a HUGE philosophical cluster. But we aren’t at present, so let’s continue.

On my flight over this time, I mainly planned to sleep. That was a stupid plan because I’ve never been able to relax and sleep on planes. Also, while the airline offers seats with more leg-room, really they should be focusing on the fact that their seat cushions (while supposedly useful as floatation devices) are about as comfortable as a wooden church pew. A severe case of flatt-butt makes it difficult to snuggle into the plane seat. I digress….

Here are the shows/movies I watched on the way over when I wasn’t attempting some mode of sleep:

  1. An episode of Top Gear in which they went over the history of the Bond car. Richard Hammond hosted and it was really fun.
  2. The Girl (The HBO movie about Tippi Hedron and Alfred Hitchcock while they made The Birds and Marnie. I love Hitchcock’s movies, and found this behind the scenes story to be pretty good. Toby Jones was really creepy as Hitch. This was also really fun to watch since the airplane cabin was dark)
  3. Most of Wreck It Ralph (I was fortunate to have a very pleasant passenger in the window seat next to me, so we actually conversed with each other during our meals and between movie choices. For that reason, by the time I started this film, there wasn’t enough time left in the flight to finish it. So far so good though…)

On the flight home, I had an idea. I decided to watch two very different type of movies to see which would be the best kind to watch on a flight. After all, this was a tiny screen (smaller than the iPad). Would an action film not play out as well? Or, seeing as the flight back was longer and seemed so, would a drama increase the tedium? As a result, the following were watched:

  1. The Avengers I had seen this in the theater, so this was the first time watching since. (Sadly, my view screen was selective in any settings actions. I had to watch half the movie with only one ear bud in since I couldn’t get the volume down from 11 to a kinder, gentler, NORMAL volume. At some point though, the volume went to normal or else my eardrum just gave up) Overall, I’d say that while I enjoyed the movie greatly, I would have preferred to see it on a much larger screen as most of the action is just lost due to the size of the viewing area.
  2. Anna Karenina (the Keira Knightley version). I’ve never been a big fan of this story, but this adaptation totally sucked me in. For two hours I forgot I was on the plane. So maybe a smaller movie plays better with the limited space.
  3. Brave (This is the Pixar one that came out last year.) I had never seen it before. Animated films play out well on the view screen too. However, I wasn’t overly crazy about this one. Maybe it’s me. It was funny, sweet, exciting, and yet felt a little predictable. I felt it could have been a wee bit more than what it was.
  4. Hitchcock (the Anthony Hopkins version). I thought I’d bookend my flights with yet another movie about Hitch and his moviemaking. This one follows the great director as he worked to get Psycho made. I have the film on my Netflix queue right now because about halfway though the movie, everyone’s view screens froze up, and the flight attendants had to reset the system. If I wanted to finish the movie, I would have had to fast-forward through it, but the system didn’t fast-forward very quickly. A huge flaw, if you ask me.

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Thoughts

Hooray for choice even though it comes in the form of a tiny screen! While action films might not work out as well, many other film and TV type options did. Boo for flawed touch screen technology, however. While I mainly had volume problems, the lady across the aisle from me couldn’t get her screen to even work. She had to sit and stare out the window for most of the flight. Lesson learned? Always pack a backup entertainment device be it iPad, book, or crossword.

 

Intermission

Believe it or not, but….I haven’t watched a movie in well over a week. Crazy, right?  I think so. I’ve been busy playing catch-up on Sanctuary (just finishing up Season 3), playing Batman: Arkham Asylum for the PS3 (it’s on loan, so I’m trying to get through it quickly), and prepping for my upcoming vacation.  On top of work and other life activities, movie-watching took a much needed break.

I have a review I’m working on for you. I recently watched Blood of Beasts which um..was a little bloody and there was a beast so they have that in their favor. When I finish the review, it shall be posted. No need to fear missing out on that one. I have more than a few things to say.

Anyways, the point I’m trying to make (and am doing a terrible job at doing so) is that in a couple weeks, I’ll be more than ready for some serious movie-watching, heckling, and reviewing. I hope you will tune in and laugh with me (or at me–whichever). 

Until then, enjoy the intermission music.