Skip to content

The “Born Again” Cinemagoer.

February 13, 2013

Last week’s trip to “Les Misérables,” was actually the first time I’ve been to a cinema since 1997 (“Return of the Jedi” anniversary, as I recall).

That’s partly down to stuff that happened in my life between now and then, and also the obvious pressures of running Theatremonkey and life in general. It doesn’t help either that there are no cinemas left within walking distance of where I live any more, nor the fact that it is far cheaper for me to go to the theatre than see a film now.

Anyway, I wanted to comment on what I noticed about cinema in the 21st century.

First, the ticket price. At an IMAX cinema not actually in the centre of the West End I paid £18 for a ticket. I could have seen the live show for less, and indeed the first time I saw the original show (and I saw the original cast in the first 6 weeks at the Palace) my ticket was just £13 even back then.

Second, the girl who sold me that ticket wasn’t even born when the show opened, though happily had the good taste to love the film and sing me an extract as she did the booking.

The cinema I went to was totally refurbished last year, with the IMAX screen added. Very clean and luxuriously appointed public spaces, with a decent bar and “gents.” Comfy, wide seats that were perfect for the 2 hours 30 marathon – didn’t cramp at all. Only problem was that if it were a full house, I think you’d have heads in the way as they didn’t build up the tiering high enough, I’d say. Oh, and the walls at the front of the seating block cut off the edge of the screen.

And speaking of the screen. OK, it’s IMAX, the size of a large house… but… nothing new, I remember the “proper” old cinemas with vast screens. The only difference was that those screens were further from the audience. And they were bigger. In fact, I used to live within walking distance of the second largest cinema screen in Britain. It was wonderful, but I do remember having to always sit on the aisle of the centre block, not the central seat, to get a centre view. Years later when they stupidly got permission to tear down the place, I found out why as the outer wall fell and you could see into the old place for the last time. Turns out there was a slight bend in the building site, so everything was just off centre.

Anyway, the IMAX projection was crystal clear. In fact, I found it didn’t have as much personality as the warmth of real film, with the odd scratch to show how popular the reel was. The sound, though, was a marvel and added to the experience.

As for the audience, exactly what I expected. One young female couldn’t get through without her phone to play with – forgetting the light in the dark auditorium. Two elderly people whispered, sang along and banged noisily to and from the toilet a few times; and there was one person who obviously wanted everybody to know that she hadn’t eaten for a week and wasn’t going to live off her (considerable) stored fat reserve either – and yes, I’m taking a pop at her weight as revenge. Sue me.

Still, I’m glad I went and may go again, just possibly buying every seat in the place before I do though… oh for a lottery win!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: