As planned, I went to the new cinema in Dundrum last night. I expected it to be a big modern multiplex, its not. There are two reasons for this. Firstly they appear to be going for a retro look in the lobby. Thats quite nice, though with todays drive for better technology in cinemas, digital films, better sound and the like, it is a little surprising that they decided to go with an older look and feel. Surprising but not off putting.
Secondly, and this is a off putting, is the way the lobby and toilets seem old and worn in places, and I don't mean old and worn in a homely way. Nor do I mean its just that the building work is unfinished it looks worse than that. I mean old and worn in a 'cheaply built and open for years' kind of way. They do appear to have some teething problems and delays in opening but at the moment it does look like some work hasn't been finished or finished very cheaply. Thats a shame and I would be concerned that if they have done things on the cheap and it will only get worse as the public use the cinema. Plaster work has holes in it, even in the coffee area (see picture), paint looks worn and chipped already and needs another coat. There seemed to be a leak in the toilets as there was water of the floor. Also only one pre-booked ticket console was working, but no one was using it so the others may have just been turned off until they get online booking working. Those are all minor concerns and can be solved with a few more weeks of work. Though they need to get them sorted before the cinema gets a bad reputation. And of course I went on a Sunday night when the skangers were passed out after a weekend drinking so I dont know what it would be like on a Saturday afternoon when it could be full of kids and trouble makers.
All the typical cinema snacks are there. I didn't buy any popcorn and it was only after I had gone though the ticket check that I saw popcorn comes in what look like microwaveable bags, that's odd, I like my popcorn in a proper boxy container. It was €9.30 for a ticket, expensive, but I suppose its the new price in some other cinemas as well. There are concession prices for earlier shows, something other cinemas have stopped doing and something I applaud Dundrum for doing.
No one goes to the cinema to sit in the lobby and eat popcorn, we only do so while waiting for the screen to be cleaned, The screen (Screen 2) was about as nice as cinema screens in Ireland get. It had a new car type of smell to it (who doesn't like the new car smell?). The seats are highbacked and cushioned, I imagine they could be a little narrow for some, but they were comfy for me. As I said they are high backed, so when you sit down the first thing you think is, 'God I'm going to have someones head in my way', but I would think most peoples heads wont go over the back of the seat, at least not once they get settled. Though if their head does come over the top of the seat in any amount then they will block the view. Heads blocking my view was one of the reasons I stopped going to the cinema in Stillorgan which is run by the same company.
I have no idea how big the other screens are, the one I was in (Screen 2) was a small sized screen. I was in row C, third from the back, and the view was fine. I forgot to check how many screens there are (yeah this is a piss poor review :-)). There are lots of movies on show, so I imagine they must have lots more screens down stairs.
Ok, so, conclussion? It wasn't the new modern multiplex I expected. It seems to be aiming to be a more traditional type of cinema. It has a few minor issues that I'm sure they will sort out. But if they don't sort them then the cinema could go downhill very quickly. If the cinema has been done on the cheap and attracts the wrong crowd then it could be a major problem. I would have to go a few more times before making a firm conclussion. I thought it was comfortable. Its expensive to go to the cinema any where now, but Dundrum do have off peak prices. I would like to see how they cope on a Friday or Saturday evening when the place would be at its busiest, but overall I do think I like it and I'll be going to the movies more often now that I have a cinema so close.