As a frequent visitor to this website, I knew about the screening schedule for Rebuild 1.0 about two months in advance and, even though I had already downloaded and watched the subtitled film several times, I was really looking forward to seeing the dubbed version in, what I had hoped, would be a great big cinema, jam-packed with a huge crowd of similarly excited fans.
I tried to get the word out, so I could go with a group, but, unfortunately, I don't know many people who like NGE even half as much as I do. In the end, my best friend, who patiently tolerates most of my hobbies/obsessions, agreed to meet me there (Cambridge, MA) and watch it with me as a personal favor.
Turns out it was playing at a small hole in the wall community theatre in Harvard Square. I guess the people at Funimation figured it might attract students attending the nearby university. I don't know whether anyone reading this has ever attempted to actually park in the vicinity of Harvard Square, but I would not recommend it, especially if you already have concerns about high blood pressure. My friend circled around for about twenty minutes or so, but the place had no parking lot and he didn't want to risk his car getting towed, so he finally phoned me with an apology. He wanted to re-schedule, but this was back in mid-August and it was only being shown for that one weekend.
I was one of the lucky ones, as I found a semi-legal parking space a few blocks away and got there just in time to see it stag. I didn't notice any serious issues with the quality of either the video or audio, but I was still underwhelmed by the rather small screen, which had a distracting vertical seam running straight down the middle. I actually sat right in the front row just to try to simulate a big screen viewing experience. While I guess the speakers in the theatre were adequate, IMO they were no match for any average 5.1 home surround sound set up. The whole presentation just reeked of low-budget cost cutting.
The seats weren't particularly comfortable and the place wasn't even half full. Through most of the movie you could practically hear a pin drop. I spoke to a couple of people sitting in the row behind me during the ending credits, but nobody seemed particularly impressed with anything. All in all, a very forgetable experience.
I think Funimation (or whoever they subcontracted to handle the film's distribution) really dropped the ball. There was a negligible amount of advertising and a relatively small window of opportunity to actually see it in any one place. Did anyone even do any research to check out these venues or did they just go with the lowest bidder? Was this some weird kind of reverse psychology marketing strategy? Maybe they figured if everyone in the audience found the cinematic experience to be completely lacking, they would be more likely to eventually purchase the DVD and try for an improvement in quality from their own living rooms. I must admit, since it looks like I won't have another chance to see it with my friend at an actual cinema, that appears to be my sole contingency plan.
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