My trip to the Odeon


When the lounge became so much better than the cinema for me.

It’s not often I get to go to the cinema. I live a busy life. I’m not a sporty person, or much of an adventurer. But I do enjoy film. So when I do get the opportunity to watch a new film – I like to make the most of it.

Usually I have the choice of two local cinemas in Brighton. Cineworld or Odeon. Neither boast brilliant screens but I usually go the extra mile or so (in distance) to visit Cineworld. From memory, I recalled it being a bit better.

Because of film times, it made more sense to meet my friend in the centre of town and then see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes at the Odeon (the sequel to the prequel to the remake). But this isn’t about the film, this is the story of my trip to the Odeon in Brighton…

I like to get good seats when watching a film. Especially now that films last around 2 hours on average. So I naturally met my friend a good hour before the film started to get snacks and take our time. I parked in the car park adjacent to the cinema, where you can get your parking validated after watching a film. Great, considering Brighton parking is astronomical.

Upon entering the cinema, we were greeted by an already-large queue. Fortunately we came early. We paid our £9.90 per ticket (!!). I’m amazed at the price here, but at the time I thought that this was my evening off – I’ll pay the price – I’m sure I’ll enjoy this experience as much as buying two meals or one recently released DVD.

After reviewing the snacks at some insanely marked-up prices, we had to conclude after paying nearly a tenner for a ticket, we wouldn’t be able to eat too. Sad, but budget cuts mean less spending.

We walked passed a glorious gateway to the upper floors, with lights and posters. We looked at the tickets and saw I screen wasn’t amongst them. Screen 8. Where was this mysterious screen 8, if not with the others?

As we wondered around the cinema, we eventually found what looked to be a dark fire-exit with a guy standing at the door apologetically. The doors were closed shut and he was standing a way away from them. Once showing our tickets, we opened the doors and went through. My first reaction was to laugh. Was this a joke?

The first thing that struck my was the sIze of the room. I’m not great with measurements here, but let’s just say 6 car parking spaces tops. Crammed into this basement room were 8 tight rows with no central aisle. By the time we got there, it was about half full already (15 minutes before the film).

As I stepped into the room, the next thing that hit me was the heat. At the beginning of August, I was going to sit through a film in a basement in the heat. No air con. Brilliant.

After awkwardly shuffling along a condensed aisle to get to some gaps. We sat down. Then came the biggest realisation. The screen size and the screen position. No bigger than some of the posters out in the lobby. It would be exaggerating to say my TV is bigger, but at least if be more comfortable watching it. The screen wasn’t centre either. Because there were two fire exits immediately either side of the screen. How do I know this? Because the bright, over powering, glowing signs were basically touching the screen.

The next hurdle to overcome was the slant of the seating. Normal cinemas are relatively steep to ensure that everyone can see over someone’s head. Not this one. No, the slant was so shallow that no-one could see the screen. This problem was only amplified by the fact that Odeon had sold out the tiny room, resulting in two hours of people sitting on their coats or swinging their heads to try and see what was happening in the film.

So somewhere into the first ten minutes of the film I began to realise this isn’t going to be a fun experience. And I was right. Crammed, hot, obscured view, sound that was barely louder than my headphones and to top is all, I was fully aware of being in a cinema the entire time because of the blaring fire exit signs (which I had a better view of, than the screen!).

Two hours into the film, an Odeon staff member came into the sauna to check we hadn’t passed out. After seeing 90% of the audience faning themselves and obviously being himself overwhelmed by the stench of sweat, he decided to turn the air conditioning on. The film ending 10 minutes later. Everyone left moaning about the experience. If I hadn’t paid a tenner for this torture, I might have found it funnier.

On the way out, I queued up again to get my parking ticket validated. But because I’d parked at 5:00pm instead of 5:30pm, they wouldn’t give me a penny. So I then had to pay a further £6 for parking.

My friend and I left the cinema feeling ripped off, glad of fresh air and completely put off going to the Odeon ever again.

I don’t care what the film times are in the future, I will always ALWAYS choose another cinema over an Odeon. And for a day and age where cinemas need to deliver – otherwise people will wait for the DVD – this is the worst service I have been provided with in a LONG time.

I tried to contact the Odeon before posting this blog. They did apologise. Half heartedly, with implications that I a) should have left the cinema during the film to tell staff about about the air con and b) should have paid attention to the seating plans that were located somewhere in the building (but not clearly as I never saw them). Thanks a bundle, Odeon. I’d have re-written this if you’d made a bit more of an effort.

Fanatical about film? Try fanatical about ruining your night off. Next time I’ll Netflix it.