Sunday, May 13, 2007

Robots in Disguise.

This Thursday, my brother and I went to a crazy Transformers-related event. It took place at the parking lot of a Kinko behind a giant building entirely wrapped in a multi-sided Transformers advertisement with light-up eyes. The flyer I saw online was a little vague as to what this event would be. It said something about seeing exclusive footage inside a mobile command unit. I was not interested in seeing any footage (I try to avoid advance footage of movies I already plan on seeing), but the thing said we could get free passes to an advance screening, and the first 50 attendees would receive a Transformers action figure. The action figure sounded like a good deal, so that tipped the scales for us.

Now, the flyer said the thing would start at 7am. So if you wanted to be one of the first 50, when should you get there? 6am? 5am? We ended up leaving at 6am and arriving at like 6:15am, or possibly sooner. There was no traffic because no one was stupid enough to be up that early. However, there were roughly 75 people already in line ahead of us, so we got fucked out of our free Transformers toys. My brother vowed to buy himself one, I guess to balance his zen or something, but this remains to pass.

We stood in line for an ungodly amount of time. Once 7am hit, they started letting people in, but whatever the hell was happening in this Kinko parking lot, it was taking a while, because the line was only moving in snail increments, and we ended up entering no sooner than somewhere around 7:45am. And if there's anything stupider than waiting in a line for over an hour, it's waiting in a line for over an hour, but you have no idea what the fuck you're waiting for. While we waited, a squirrel circled the entire block on power lines. Also, a van pulled up with a Power 106 logo on it, and someone in line recognized the front seat passenger as a DJ named Tattoo. He asked him to say some shit to his girl on his phone, so the Tattoo guy grabbed the phone and screamed some shit into it. By the time we entered, I forgot that I wanted to ask someone what this event was, so I missed my chance to ask the people at the sign-up table. All I knew was that one of the sign-up people referred to it as the "experience." "Don't bring any cameras in because no photography will be allowed during the experience." So the only sure thing was that I had just signed up for some kind of experience.

I then got into a line that led into a semi-trailer truck. This was the Sector Seven Mobile Command Unit. These stoic guys in black suits were letting random amounts of people in for increments of roughly 8 minutes. And whatever was happening inside that semi was a complete mystery. People would exit in varying states of excitement. At one point, the event started getting picketed by three or four protesters brandishing signs proclaiming that Sector Seven was a bunch of lying scumbags, and that we shouldn't believe their shit. Now this was fun! By the time we were let in, it was already past 8am. But we were like the first in our group, so we got a prime spot in front of one of the monitors.

The inside of the semi was lined with air tanks and devices and just a whole bunch of military crap. And some monitors. Then this guy stormed in from a door (which I guess led to another room encased inside the trailer) and got up in this other guy's face, asking him all kinds of questions. He and the other men in black assured us that there was no such thing as "NBE'S," or "Non-Biological Entities. Transformers." Great. I didn't think there were. Then they got this emergency video feed on the monitors from Qatar, and we were treated to footage of Scorponok attacking Tyrese and some other military guys out in the desert, intercut with a guy that one of the soldiers was talking to on the phone. What was amazing about this raw footage being transmitted to us was that it featured lots of coverage, both on the location and off, the special effects were still unfinished, and they were playing the Batman Begins score over it. When the whole thing was over, they reassured us that there's no such thing as blah blah blah, and we couldn't talk to anyone about it. Whatever, fucks. I know what I saw!

The whole experience was kinda like the introductory queue before T2-3D, except there was no kickass show at the end, and we were being recorded for publicity the whole time. Then we got these passes to a hypothetical advance screening of Transformers, of which there is no set date or location yet, but they will notify us. Whenever this thing turns out to be, I don't know if I will want to go to it. Advance screenings are usually filled with desperate people who seem to care more about the deal than the movie. This is just my impression, not an actual fact. I did spot some clear Transformers fans at the experience. But I think I just want to see it at a nice theater on opening night, with a crowd guaranteed to be made up of hardcore fans. I don't want to go to some ass place at a time that's been selected for me and possibly be told where to sit, which is usually the case at these things. I want to see this bitch with the rest of the world, so I can feel the Independence Day magic coursing through my proud American veins. Perhaps these warring robots will epitomize the spirit first carved into this nation's soul by a bunch of farmers and lawyers in Philadelphia City some 231 years ago. God bless America.


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