*PR Gifted Tickets
It’s certainly true that this year taught us how many simple joys we took for granted. From hugs with loved ones to mooching around a garden centre. For us, one of the big holes in our life was the big screen. A date night at the movies, saturday afternoon new releases and buckets of popcorn bigger than your head.
Sure we all championed the home cinema, but really truly, it wasn’t quite the same, was it?
We were invited over to our nearest Vue this half term to re-acquaint ourselves with a tried and tested family day out, and see how the new measures in place impacted our cinema experience.
We visited Vue Thurrock – a new movie theatre for us as a family, but located and parked easily and managed to find our way to the cinema which I last visited watching Batman Forever having got the bus to lakeside age 14.
With clear signage, floor markings and guidance that cannot be missed, we picked up our tickets for the animated movie Two by Two Overboard! and loaded up with all the goodies to see us through the film.
There were some noticeable changes – masks to be worn inside (unless eating or drinking), more snacks are behind the counter as opposed to self serve (no pick and mix!), and the seating plan within each screen accommodates a space between household groups.
Some of the changes are more subtle – enhanced cleaning and PPE for staff, reduced touch points, enhanced online booking and staggered start times for movies.
Of course for the kids, who by now are totally oblivious to the wearing of masks on faces all around them, it was just a normal trip to the cinema.
The complex felt clean, spacious, safe, and I’m pretty sad to say, empty for a wet saturday afternoon. Any worries about being in a crowded theatre were not realised at all.
Of course some things never change, like the last minute toilet trip and the ‘shouldn’t have had a bucket of coke’ mid-movie wee, and the facilites were top notch and in keeping with government guidelines.
The kids were over the moon to be back in the pictures; they loved Two by Two Overboard! and though it didn’t get a five star rating from me, the smiles on the girls faces were what it was all about. Let’s be honest – for Mums and Dads an animated kids movie is more about the uninterrupted two hours in a comfy seat in the dark. And that gets a five star rating from me EVERY TIME.
Sadly, since the lockdown news on Saturday, I don’t know when we might get back to Vue for our next movie (a date night please Dad Muddling Through). But I do know that the only thing stopping me will be national measures – not fears, worries or nerves about being back at the movie theatre.
And for the sake of the lovely staff, and everyone in the movie industry which we would be lost without, I sincerely hope the interval is short.