I watched Avatar in 3D with my friends at Lido last night. We each received good quality 3D specs at the door.
There were repeated reminders outside the cinema, as well as on the cinema screen, as well as audio messages, for us to return the specs in good condition at the end of the movie, failing which we would have to pay $10.
All good there.
We watched the movie and immensely enjoyed three hours of a gripping story set in a fantastic, vibrant world.
And then the movie ended and the credits started.
Accompanying the initial credit roll were awesome 3D footages of the world of Navi accompanied by awe-inspiring music.
Unfortunately, we never got to enjoy it. Two seconds after the credits rolled, lights flooded the cinema, the music was muted and a recorded announcement came on, reminding us to return the 3D specs, failing which we would have to pay $10, blah blah.
I was annoyed.
The movie had ended too soon and I craved more of it. I was sad at having to say goodbye to the world of Navi and I wanted to enjoy the ending music and footages to continue the illusion of still being immersed in the world.
The recorded announcement and muting of the music shocked us out of our immersion like icy cold water to the face.
We endured the announcement for about 20 seconds, waiting for the music to come back. The screen was still showing footages of 3D scenery but it was hard to watch since the lights were all on.
Then the announcement ended but the music didn’t come back.
Three seconds later, the announcement started again. The same damned announcement all over again.
I was very, very annoyed. By muting the music, turning on the lights, and playing the stupid announcement, Lido had robbed us of our final few minutes of enjoyment of the movie, an experience which would have given us the closure we needed to wrap up our otherwise impeccable experience of the movie.
It’s like sex without a proper climax.
Did they really need to remind us to return the specs over and over again? After all, there were two guys collecting the specs outside a very narrow exit doorway.
No one could possibly escape.
We left the hall and the Goonfather demanded to see the manager.
We were shocked at what the night manager had to say.
He said we weren’t the first people to complain. Unfortunately, he can’t do anything about it because he is only following orders.
The management of Shaw Theatres had ordered the recorded announcement to be played before the movie officially ended. And even with repeated complaints and suggestions to play the announcment later, the management refused to budge.
The answer was, “Don’t care them lah.”
The manager also said that, by right, it wouldn’t hurt to allow patrons to take the specs home. After all, we paid extra for them. The tickets cost $14 each.
But Shaw wants to make more money, so the specs are collected back and recycled.
The manager also told us that care is taken to wash the specs thoroughly before they are reused, but he was probably lying. When we collected our specs, they were all greasy and covered with fingerprints on the lenses.
In the end, there was nothing we could do. Nothing he could do. He told us to complain directly to the Shaw Theatres management and, maybe, if more people complained to them, they would take notice.
This is very disappointing. Not only did they rob movie goers of the last few crucial minutes of enjoyment, the management of Shaw Theatres also showed great disrespect to filmmaker James Cameron.
To truncate his movie like that!
How grave is the insult for a pioneer of Singapore’s movie industry (Shaw made movies in the early 1900s) to disrespect a film like that, and all for the fear of losing a few plastic spectacles?
I am deeply disappointed.
Be warned. If you’re going to watch Avatar in 3D (and I absolutely recommend that you do), don’t watch it at Shaw Theatres.