Across the pond, cinemas still fail to impress

Published July 19, 2014

AMC Theatre

Whilst I was in Houston, I went to the cinema. I haven’t been to a cinema in years, and have pretty good reasons for not doing so, but I thought hey, why not see how the Americans do it? Alright, in all honesty, I just wanted to see how big the popcorn was. It was huge.

AMC Theatre

You can’t really tell because there’s no scale, but the drink is twice the size of normal UK sodas, and thus the popcorn is even more enormous.

I went to see Maleficent which was a decent enough film, although I went with someone who was looking forward to watching a film without their kids… and we ended up watching a kid’s film. Oops.

Obviously I didn’t get to Film Watch it so my review in brief: Angelina Jolie was excellent, but I was slightly more taken by the guy playing the crow-man. It’s always fun to see a fairy story you know well told in a different way, and I thought it was an interesting take. Parts of it felt a bit violent for the genre, particularly the big war at the beginning, and poor Angie’s screams when she woke up that terrible day.

Anyway, review over, what I really wanted to say was, my reasons for not going to the cinema are still in place. In fact, I am more resolute than ever.

On this occasion, there was a screaming baby next to me. Why bring your baby to a cinema? And why not leave the room when it screams? Who knows what goes through people’s minds.

There were also some noisy kids. I know I was in a movie aimed at children, so I was expecting some limited chatter, but this was out of control. It got to the point where a slightly aggressive guy at the back shouted out: “Hey, I didn’t pay $60 to spend my Fathers’ Day listening to your kid shouting.” I was glad it was dark and I couldn’t see where the menacing voice was coming from.

The offending child was escorted out by their guardian and returned only slightly more subdued.

Thus, I still don’t really get what the attraction to the cinema is. There are benefits to the surround sound speakers and the big screen, but I don’t really need that big a viewing experience. The sound was excellent, and something I couldn’t really get at home without spending thousands of pounds. But is it worth the effort? It probably depends what kind of film you’re watching. On something like Gravity, I expect it was amazing. On Maleficent, it was just Angelina’s crisp British accent that little bit more booming.

The sound is the only plus point I can find. The rest: noisy people, not being able to pause, not being able to Film Watch, all make me sure that we have our setup just right and I’m really not missing an awful lot by staying at home.

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