This is not so much a review of Taken 3 , as a rant about our cinema culture today. With a side swipe to the corrupt classification system.
Saturday afternoon, 3pm showing in a London Odeon. The corridors smell of pee, which instantly puts me on edge. I’m already grumpy because my cheese sauce is served cold and the jalapeños used up one of my ‘sides’ instead of being a complimentary extra. With 10 minutes before the scheduled start time, the tiny screen is empty. Save for a ten year old and his father. I did a double take; I check my ticket, I brave the corridor to check the screen number.
Minutes later four boys, without an adult and of questionable age rock up in front of us. To quote my name sake- I have a bad feeling about this. The film is about to start- the BBFC’s certificate pops up just to remind me that age certifications will ruin everything I love. About a dozen more people have filled the rows behind us- all adults, that shouldn’t be a problem right?
Within 20 minutes, I’d had enough, the four boys were talking; only pausing to shovel enough sweets into their mouths to put them into a diabetic coma. Not only that, but two pairs of adult are providing surround sound conversations. I was out of my seat and expressing my concerns to an employee. They had two people in there within minutes and they spoke to the adults. The boys were sensible enough to quieten down for those few minutes.
Within five minutes, the men had gone and the talking was back. Not only that, but we’d delved into action territory. There was a young disabled girl on the back row, whooping along with every gun shot or loud bang. This, of course, I can tolerate. She’s enjoying the film and after what’s gone before, it’s actually a welcome change. However, what does have my blood boiling is the woman to my left who has, since the film began engaged the person next to her in a loud conversation and repeatedly checked her phone. This woman, this truly inconsiderate excuse of a human being, turns round and gives an accusing stare to the young girl’s family.
Safe to say, my friend and I decided it was time to ask for a refund. The cinema did this without question and apologised profusely. Although, one thing that jarred with me was ‘we can keep going in and telling them, but those sort of people will keep on doing it.’ Really? You wouldn’t think to demand them to leave? I suppose you don’t get paid enough- I know that’s true, but the reputation of your brand (this is now my third visit to Odeon where I have had issues. So 100% of my recent visits have resulted in a tainted viewing experience) is in jeopardy and when you charge so much for cinema tickets- you can’t afford to let this slide. Zero tolerance, much more regular checks of screens and, if you need to get a security guy to be able to do your dirty work.
Now, BBFC; you’re safe for another day, but I do blame you for the hyped up adrenaline junkies (by proxy- hell these kids experience real adrenaline themselves their heads would blow up) invading a film that would have once been targeted for an 18 audience.