The many joys (not) of Dubai cinemas
Grumpy Old Raver is on a well-deserved holiday (even grumps need downtime), and so this week her protege Grumpy Young Raver is giving us a piece of his mind about why going to the movies in Dubai…
I went to the cinema the other day, to watch the new Star Wars film. I know, I took my sweet time. I’ve been terrified of going near phones or computers for the past few weeks, in case I accidentally caught a glimpse of a spoiler. But, finally, I saw it – and it was great (although slightly disappointed by the absence of Jar Jar Binks. He’s always been my favourite).
Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to see it; I’m not one of those people who are weirdly proud that they’ve never seen a Star Wars film. In fact, I’ve been excited about seeing the film ever since it was announced a long, long time ago, in… well, in 2012. No, I was waiting for all the fuss to die down – for everyone else to watch it, and get it out of their systems, so that by the time I went to the cinema, I could enjoy it in peace.
And if you’ve ever been to the cinema in Dubai, you’ll understand why. There’s something about going to the cinema here that makes me want to scream. Take the last time I really wanted to see a film in Dubai – the Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Off I went, on the day it was released, all happy and excited. The place was packed, and I was sat next to a man and his five-year-old son. I ended up missing most of the film, because the two of them kept having the loudest conversations and laughing – not even about the movie.
People just love making as much noise as humanly possible in Dubai’s cinemas. They’ll clap, cheer, or decide they need to make a loud phone call during one of the tensest moments of the film. I’ve even been in the cinema while people have got up and wandered around the place, chatting with their pals. Noise, for noise’s sake (although I will make an exception for the time everyone cheered when the Burj Khalifa appeared during Mission: Impossible 4. That’s one building worth cheering).
There’s also an obsession with cinema extras – 3D, 4DX, etc. I saw Star Wars in 3D, but didn’t realise that until I walked into the theatre and was handed a pair of the 3D glasses. By that point, though, I was already wearing my normal glasses, so I was forced to wear the fancy glasses over the top of the normal ones. Always a great look. I couldn’t take off my glasses because then I wouldn’t have been able to see the film. I would have had blurry spaceships and bits of stormtroopers flying at me, and wouldn’t have been able to appreciate the magic of it like everyone else. Someone needs to hurry up and invent 3D contact lenses. That would make everyone’s lives a lot easier. I think…
In the end, the cinema was still packed when I turned up, even though I’d waited nearly a month before caving in and buying a ticket. As I sat down with my vat of popcorn and made myself comfortable, who should walk along my row but… a family of six. Cue small child plonking himself down in the empty chair right next to me.
I considered leaving – or at the very least, looking for another seat – but before I’d made up my mind, the kid thankfully swapped seats with his grandmother. Luckily, she didn’t try sparking up a conversation. In fact, I didn’t hear a word from her for the whole two-and-a-bit hours – mainly because she fell asleep halfway through. She was probably hoping to see Jar Jar Binks again, too.
(Grumpy Old Raver is somewhere in the Australian bush at the moment and will be back in a few weeks – that’s if she doesn’t get lost or eaten by a crocodile.)