Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pete's Dragon in its 2016 form

Greetings to you, the people


And so, for the first time in three years, I went to the cinema. The movies, look you see. Well, no, I didn’t go alone, although I used to very much enjoying solo visits to the cinema. Indeed the whole family – which is to say I and the 75% of my family that you all like a good deal more than you do me – went along.

Mindful of the last aspect of that laboured and poorly edited opening paragraph, here you go with a picture of the indeed mentioned 75% waiting for the film to start.

This would be the first trip for me to the cinema since Alpha Papa, I think, back in 2013. As for my (considerably) better half, it was her first trip with me since The Dark Knight Rises. Prior to that, it would have been Tangled that she last took James to, and William had not been before at all. Quite an exciting outing, then.




What did we go see? After some deliberation and debate, and after explaining to James that the law of the land says he can’t go see Suicide Squad in a cinema, off we went to see this new take on Pete’s Dragon.

How was the film, on the off chance that you are here for a review of the film alone? Outstanding. I think that I recall the sticker album book of the film more fondly than the actual 70s original, but it was one my (considerably) better half holds dear. Her comment is that it is one of those rare instances where you get upset with a remake because it is better than the original version and so puts something of a different slant on your memories.



Robert Redford and Bryce Dallas Howard are amazing. The child actors, however, really “knock this out of the park” to borrow an American colloquium. In terms of effects, they’re fantastic, really grade a work. Overall, then, a funny, emotionally engaging, well made and thoroughly entertaining film.

The overall cinema experience, for those reading on and with more of an interest in us and the peripherals rather than just the film? Pretty good, with some predictable problems. Let’s go on, then, but if you’ve only looked at this so far as you were wondering if Pete’s Dragon in its remade form was worth seeing, bye.

We haven’t been to the movies much as James has always been hesitant if not reticent to do so. He very much liked the idea of them, but often found the theatres and sheer size of the screen somewhat overwhelming. Years have been kind in this regard, and he was just fine. I suspect it is not long now before Mummy & Daddy are dropping him and his mates off to go and see whatever it is that takes their fancy. As for William, a first time experience and, with his spirit of adventure, one that he loved. He’s compiled a list of other things we are now to take him to the cinema to see, with Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them being close to the top.

A thing which upsets otherwise happy patrons of cinema here in England is the level of advertising before films. I would normally agree with this. Over the last few years films I have seen in cinemas in England would include Red Lights, Amazing Spiderman and the aforementioned Alpha Papa. All of them featured 30+ minutes of adverts and trailers. This, happily, gets toned down some for children’s afternoon showings, it would seem, and there were only 20 or so minutes of such. Of those minutes, a good deal seemed to be spent promoting the film Storks, which is good as it looks smart, that does.

Ultimately, however, cost is a major factor with the cinema these days. It is not cheap to go, but also it is not unreasonable – at least not in terms of admission. A “family ticket”, for either 2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children (presumably single parents always have three kids?), costs ₤28. Gone are the days, then, of summer 99p specials down at the Odeon.

To go entirely the world of clichĂ©, however, the cost of the concessions stand really is a nightmare. Yes, I know this has long been the bane and the thrust of many complaints and jokes, but for those interested let’s illustrate the damage to a wallet this does.



Let’s do a cost perspective of just how much the concessions stand nails you for at the cinema, shall we? Yes, we will, you don’t have a choice in the matter, sorry for posing it as a question that you cannot answer, or if you like rhetorical.

Family of four cinema ticket : ₤28

Burger King – 2 x double bacon and cheese burgers, 1 x Prague ultra special burger, 1 x cheeseburger, 4 x fries, 4 x cokes, 6 chicken nuggets - ₤22

Concession stand – 4 x small cokes, 2 x small popcorn, 1 x bag of them Starburst things off of that documentary with Michael Bolton in it - ₤24.15

Yes, I know, “cinemas need to make a profit”, etc. Every other business, in particular in the world of entertainment, has however adapted to the modern world in a way that attracts customers and still makes a profit. Only cinema, it would seem, believe that scaring people off with prices is the direction to go.




Oh, for sure, you don’t actually have to have popcorn and a drink, but let’s be serious here – what’s a movie without movie snacks? And but of course you are blocked from taking your own, more reasonably priced in with you.

Shall we be going back to the cinema? Absolutely, in particular for that one upcoming film mentioned and undoubtedly for Rogue One, which has Darth Vader in it and had better have Boba Fett otherwise that’s one absolutely massive wasted opportunity to bring him back in a sensible, practical way. We might well, however, just have the one drink and the one bag of popcorn between us, and not pay ₤3.15 for the prestige of a bag of chewing sweets off of that documentary about how fruit grows.

So, then, Pete’s Dragon in its 2016 incarnation is very much worth going to see, my family loves the cinema and I express nothing but support for those brave revolutionaries who manage to evade elaborate security and sneak their own snacks into the cinema with them. Nice one.





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