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Friday, 29 January 2010

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

I went to see it determined I wouldn't like it. After all I'm the sort of person that will rave on about "A Matter of Life and Death" and "Jour De Fete" or "Jean De Florette". Something so Hollywood is not going to win me over.

It all began very much as I'd expected, we'd chosen one of the multiplex cinemas in Wood Green. The building was awful, a metal encased monstrosity with a metal staircase which had the feel of the backstairs of 60's council block, with walls of breeze blocks painted grey. The entrance was cavenous with a bank of fast foods concessions which, we found out later, doubled up as ticket booths. The show started at 7 pm and we bought our tickets from a very pleasant East European woman who asked us what type of seat we wanted pointing to two indistinguishable black seats that wouldn't have disgraced DFS (that is not a compliment). One, I think was called "Arena", I didn't catch the "nom de guerre" of the other; but by this time I was in the self satisfied pit of despondency so I mumbled "we just want two seats, dammit". Still smiling she handed us our tickets and hoped we enjoyed the film.

We had over 2 hours to wait due to a mix up. My friend misread the web page so we turned up on a weekday expecting Sunday film times. I'd left my bus pass at home so the suggested bus trip to Crouch End and back for a meal would have cost an arm and a leg - there being f*** all in Wood Green's hideous shopping centre (It reflects on the quality of local government that such monstrosities - and the country's littered with them - get built). So it would have to be Weatherspoon's which was almost next to the multiplex.

It was huge! Not a pub at all more a canteen with alcohol. One look at the prices and you could understand why half the clientele were old age pensioners. "Fish and Chips with a cuppa" - £2.99 between 12 noon and 5 pm. We'd just missed that deal. But with beer at £1.99 a pint, two pints and two hot meals came to less than £14. No wonder small pubs are falling like nine pins. Rows and rows of tables stretched away into the distance. It really was like the dining room at the Butlins Holiday camp I went to more than 40 years ago. The food was filling and tasty; my beef and beer pie with gravy and steamed veg and mashed 'tats was OK as was my mate's sweet potato curry and rice. We passed the two hours eating, drinking, talking and watching the other customers come and go.

And then it was time to see the film. Except, of course, we were subjected to 15 minutes of visual warm up , previewing the forthcoming blockbusters that would change our viewing experience for ever. Sensible people arrived 15 minutes after the scheduled programme time and quickly settled down in anticipation. I'd anticipated much talking along with mobiles going off and people texting during the film. Some of the many reasons I don't very often visit these pleasure palaces. There was nothing, not even the crackling of crisp bags, although the smell of what I can only imagine was a take away curry did upset my equilibrium for a while. But otherwise I might have been at home.

We left the cinema two and half hours later in high excitement, chatting away about the storyline - bit far fetched; the special effects and CGI - stunning, gob smacking; the overall effect - fabulous.

Oh, I nearly forgot the film: "Avatar".

If you're one of the few people on this planet who haven't seen it I urge you to. If only for the 3 D experience which is blinding. But not if you feel dizzy stepping off merry-go-round - vertigo is the added ingredient in this spectacle.

Let's hope following this film's hugely deserved success we don't get every two bit director and producer believing they can out Cameron the master. If not I predict that by next Christmas we'll be stuffed to the gills with 3D turkeys.

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