3. The Performance
Bearing in mind I left the comfort of my home to see a film, I still have some issues with the viewing experience. These are:
Retard Retail therapy
All the adverts.
SO many adverts.
The same adverts that we’ve seen on TV, but this time they’re the unedited, longer versions that we can’t avoid on the massive screen. Usually we’d ignore them at home by making tea, fast forwarding (if it’s a recorded program) or muting them entirely.
Not at the cinema.
Nope, here you have to endure it all in high definition with super loud digital surround sound.
In addition to the adverts for cars, yoghurts, perfumes, mobile phones and alcohol (seriously, what exactly IS the demographic here?), they have at least 3 or 4 adverts about the cinema experience.
It’s basically 10 minutes spent telling us how great it is to visit the cinema and how much you should go to the cinema and what to expect at the cinema…..WHILST YOU’RE SAT IN THE CINEMA!
Surely these are the adverts that should be on TV? I really don’t understand the point of advertising a product to people who are already using it.
“Try Oxygen….it’s great!”
In addition, they advertise that “It’s not too late to grab a Coke from the foyer”.
This isn’t because you’ve forgotten to buy refreshments, but because you’ve already finished your drink during the 40 minutes of crap you’ve had to endure prior to the film.
Blurry screen, sound out of sync, all the lights staying on, lines and marks on the picture throughout, bad sound etc… I’ve experienced it all.
The daddy of technical fuck ups, however, was back when ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ was having its run back in 2013. I had already seen it in 3D, but I really wanted to see it again in IMAX so I decided to go to a late night showing .
The film got to around 10 minutes from the end when suddenly the screen went pitch black. The sound was still going on, but there were no visuals.
Never before has a film’s title been so appropriate.
After everyone in the cinema had heard the end of the film, a staff member came out and apologised. He then said they were going to restart the film from the place we’d lost the picture. We all breathed a sigh of relief and sat back to watch the last 10 minutes properly.
They started it from half way. The film is over 2 hours in length.
I was getting tired, but I decided to Klingon until the end of the film.
I eventually left the cinema around 2am.
The limbo moment
I hate this moment in movies.
It’s that span of silence between the BBFC film card…
…and the first bit of anything actually happening on screen.
The reason I hate this is because people are unable to put away their phones or stop their inane conversations until something actually happens on screen to distract them. They’re like fucking cavemen seeing fire for the first time.
Once something happens (dialogue, action, anything), their conversations die down and their phones (mostly) get put away.
It’s like distracting a crying baby with a set of jangling keys.
The only Limbo moment that I love (which always commands total silence in a cinema) is the one between the 20th Century Fox fanfare and the trumpet blast of the Star Wars opening Crawl.
That silence is gorgeous.
Then the ‘Lucasfilm’ logo comes up, sparkles for a bit and disappears, followed by the words: “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….”.
Without exception, I get goosebumps of anticipation every single time.
In fact, I’m getting them right now, just thinking about it.
I felt a pang of sadness when I heard that Disney had bought the franchise. Not because I think they’ll make it all childish (after all, George Lucas was responsible for Jar Jar Binks and Disney did a great job with the Marvel franchise), but because I was going to miss the 20th Century Fox/Star Wars crawl combo.
Will we get that goosebump moment?
I really hope they open with an X-Wing or the Millennium Falcon flying over (or through) the Disney castle at the beginning.
Anyway, all this got me thinking about how I’d love the cinema experience to be. How would I run the cinemas if I was calling the shots?
Well, here are the rules and regulations I would put into place:
- No mobile phones allowed in the screens. They will need to be checked in with staff, or switched off and inserted rectally.
- Only quiet foods allowed, such as Marshmallows or warm soup (hot soup would involve too much slurping). All food will be served in bowls; nice quiet bowls.
- You can still have popcorn, but only as much as you can carry in your hands.
- Food prices will be reasonable, negating the need to sneak in your own (we all do it!)
- No talking. Snipers with tranquiliser darts will be deployed in all screens.
- No babies in the screens. Ever. Babysitting services will be provided.
- Children will be allowed. Snipers with lower dosage tranquiliser darts will be deployed in all screens.
- No adverts. Plenty of trailers and previews of course.
- Large, soft, reclining seats with footrests. Most will have vibrating massage features as standard. Plenty of legroom.
- Allocated parking. One vehicle per party. If there’s a lot of you, hire a minivan.
- Friendly staff. Preferably film lovers and nerds. All staff will be required to watch every movie with free food and drink provided.
That will do for starters, although I get the feeling I may have gone a bit too far here.
I don’t care.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the movies.
I love movies and I will always love movies. To be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever stop going to the cinema because, despite its shortcomings, it’s easy to forget all the hassle when you’re engrossed in a really good film.
One day I will find the perfect cinema experience (in a galaxy far, far away?), but until then my search will continue.
 The best time to go to the cinema is for a VERY late showing, ideally around 11pm. Then it’s usually only you and some fat guy in a black t-shirt. On this occasion there were a small handful, just like the popcorn in rule number 3.