How often do you go to the cinema? Have you counted down to a release date? When did you last take a trip down to Blockbuster? Ever leave torrents downloading overnight because of a shoddy internet connection?
I’ve got caught up in a few discussions about cinema recently and blustered my way through, but now I’ve decided it’s about time I wrote about it. Personally, I believe people either love films or like them. Enjoy a trip to Odeon once in a while but don’t mind waiting for the DVD or planning which film to see when and where weeks in advance? I’m definitely in the latter. I can’t see everything, time and money just won’t allow, but then I’m ridiculously luckily to have a plain magnolia wall and an epic projector to make my very own cinematic experience.
The thoughts and conversations I’ve been having mostly centre around cost and value. Worth. What is going to the cinema worth? Orange Wednesday anyone? Who’s going to the cinema on the other days of the week? Are they really paying £10 a go?
Last Wednesday David and I headed to our local Odeon to watch Skyfall. Which, by the way, has one of the best opening credit sequences I’ve ever seen. It is BEAUTIFUL. Anyway, off we went. David had nipped in straight from work to buy tickets, knowing full well how busy it gets down there. And it was. SO. BUSY. I’d guess the queue snaking around the dividers, out of the entrance area and back around meant around an hours wait. We breezed through avec tickets when I decided, rarely for me, that I needed a coke to keep me going. I’m one of those who’ll smuggle in my popcorn to avoid the prices but I was shattered and wanted some sugar-caffeine mix. The queues were, again, ridiculous. People were fractious, servers were slow, time was ticking on, I WAS GOING TO MISS THE TRAILERS (the “best” bit).
As (finally) we walked into the cinema, took our place in our seats and watched the obligatory DON’T FILM THIS MOVIE IT’S BAD messages I couldn’t help wondering whether they thought the kind of experience we were having was really the way to elevate film-going to the kind of “it’s about the EXPERIENCE” status that these anti-piracy warnings alude to. Quite frankly, these big, cattle-market-esque cinemas are shooting themselves in the foot. I left having enjoyed the film, but thinking that the only way for cinema-going to survive is in the small, independent cinemas we usually go to. If at all possible, we visit Harbour Lights Picturehouse. It’s smaller, comfy, relaxed, serves nice wine. Or, if it’s a real treat, the Everyman in Winchester with extortionately priced cashews.
A friend’s argument was that we should all stop going, boycott the cinemas until they have to reduce their prices. But surely the prices are so inflated because fewer people are paying for the privilege of watching a film on the big screen. It’s easier to steal, or download, and watch at home on our fancy tellies. But I do still LOVE the cinema. But I think if it’s going to cost that much, you need to be getting more. No muppets who end up getting thrown out in The Dark Knight Rises for bringing a grumbly todddler, or the couple who took it in turns to take their babe in arms out during a late night showing of Super 8, or the couple of girls who spent the entirety of The Descendants on facebook, once pausing to ask who George Clooney is. On that note, why are they paying for the experience?!
[Lord knows why I didn’t publish this when I wrote it, way back in November 2012. Anyway, it’s here now.]