Blank Screen

I went to a screening of Incredibles 2 tonight. I walked into the theater about five minutes before the scheduled start. The screen was blank. That’s a bit unusual these days, but it was an IMAX screen; I figured that perhaps they didn’t have any commercial fluff that was in IMAX format.

The starting time of the movie came and went. People were still entering the theater. The screen stayed blank. People sat and watched the blank screen.

I began to entertain myself. “OK, this is a trailer for The Invisible Man Returns. Next, we have the trailer for Pitch Black. Now we have a trailer for a black-and-white movie, but because of a limited budget they couldn’t afford the white.”

I waited for twenty-two minutes after the scheduled start time, which is about how long trailers last these days. Finally, I asked the people sitting next to me to please watch my stuff as I went to the customer-service booth.

I asked the people there if anyone had reported that the screen in theater 10 was blank. No one had. A staff member said he’d check it out.

I went back to the theater and announced, “In case anyone’s interested, I just reported the problem.” A few minutes later the movie began.

The projectionist skipped the trailers and went straight to the movie… or what passes for “straight to the movie” these days. There was the warning about shutting off cell phones.

Then there was a special introduction from the voice actors and the director of Incredibles 2. More they once, they said that they’re sorry it took 14 years to make a sequel. But Samuel L. Jackson thanked us for our patience and assured all of us that it was worth the wait. Mr. Jackson, your words were truer than you know.

The chief antagonist of Incredibles 2 is the villain ScreenSlaver, who uses the power of hypnotic patterns on a screen to control people’s minds. During the film, the ScreenSlaver gives us the usual super-villain monologue about how everyone was mindlessly looking at screens.

Oh, poor ScreenSlaver. You worked so hard on your hypno-screens. Little did you realize that you can hypnotize a theater full of people with just a blank screen.

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