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The night scenes are vaguely reminiscent of that old Cineplex Odeon reel, with brilliant flashes of neon color amid space-movie black. The aesthetic may seem tacky now, but for me it touches a raw nerve. Cineplex Odeon dominated the first-run market in the area of Chicagoland where I grew up. I must have seen that reel hundreds of times before the company merged with Loews Theatres in 1998, at which point the amphitheater in space no longer appeared. My first impressions of moviegoing are bound up with those 20 seconds of film.
I suppose there are far worse 20-second clips to have lodged in your subconscious. Come to think of it, the idea of a theater transforming into an expanse of infinite space is a nice metaphor for the movies' power to transport us. When I went to the movies this weekend, the first thing to appear onscreen after the lights went down was a commercial for a TV show. I feel sorry for the poor kids first going to the movies now—they might come to think that people go to movies only to be transported back home.