I love movies. I love going to the cinema. I love watching art house and blockbuster movies. I love the whole movie watching experience (especially back in the UK).
I just don’t love going to the cinema in the UAE.
In 2005 when I first came here, the problem with going to the cinema was the censoring of movies. The censors would cut the movies so badly that you could see the rips from the scissors on the film. The films would make no sense. The violence would remain but everything else would be cut. Supposedly violence is fine.
Then it progressed to people talking on the phone during the movie – to their families in other countries or mates in the mall waiting for them . Why they couldn’t talk to them outside the cinema screen was always a mystery for me and other cinema goers. And it always has to be loud. On their bloody Nokias!
The recent issue has been with babies and kids. For some reason it is perfectly acceptable for babies and kids under 10 to watch movies which are classified PG13, PG15 and 18+. Yes, that’s right we have had babies screaming at their top of their lungs during an 18+ movie.
I recently complained to one of the cinema chains and have been having daily phone calls with them arguing that these movies are not meant for under 10 year olds or under 17 years old if it is an 18+! . Their argument is that if it has PG on it, and parents take them to the movie, they can watch a PG13 or PG15 movie. It does not matter if there is violence, sexual connotations or rude words in the movie. They are being escorted into the cinema with an adult so they can see the movie.
The cinema chain have told me to complain to the cinema ushers if I have a concern in future during the movie, which means I should disturb the people sitting near me, get up, complain and miss part of the movie. Awesome. So it’s either suffer watching movies
Maybe I am getting old, and admittedly there was no PG12 and PG15 until I was in my teens, but these movies are NOT meant for kids. They are meant for teenagers and adults. Kids should be watching Disney, Pixar and Minon movies.
My bigger concern is allowing babies (under 1) into the cinema. The movies are too loud for us grown adults let alone babies. It cannot be healthy for their ears and no wonder they are screaming if they are hearing the Avengers kill the badies at millions of decibels??? My argument with specific cinema chain was that they should be allowing adults with babies to buy the tickets let alone into the screenings, but I was advised that it was permitted by higher authorities!
I have no idea who the higher authorities are, but if you work for them or do know who they may be, can the issue of allowing kids into the cinema to watch movies not meant for their age be raised? What is the point of cinema classification if kids of all ages can enter the screening?
Update: As wisely pointed out by some readers, there should be a complete ban on children going to late night/midnight screenings. The children want to sleep and instead are being forced to stay awake and cannot sleep due to the loudness of the movie. Parents should have common sense and be more responsible, but cinemas should put their foot down as well.
Please use #UAECinema to spread the word about this issue in the cinemas here!
Let’s try and make some positive changes to our cinema going experience.