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Babes in Cinemas

by doolin 

Posted: 26 July 2004
Word Count: 399

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We all went to see Finding Nemo at the weekend Ė and very entertaining it was too. Such is the popularity of this computer-generated animation, the showing that my kids and I attended was completely sold out. This full-house situation limited our enjoyment of the movie, not least because of the sheer amount of noise generated by the amount of people it takes to fill a large cinema.
When I pay a fiver to see a movie, I expect to hear it as well as watch it. Unless subtitles are added, dialogue is crucial to the understanding and appreciation of the movie. Although it is difficult not to hear the atrociously loud whiz-bang action scenes of any given film, it is tremendously hard to catch the quietly spoken moments in between when there is a barrage of noise emanating from fellow spectators.
The particular noise that had me on the edge of my seat ready to shout ĎShut Upí at a rate of 150 decibels wasnít caused by the mastication of popcorn, the unwrapping of sweets or the ingesting of fizzy drinks through a narrow straw. My irritation was caused by the sound of babies wailing, crying and screeching.
I just cannot understand why parents would take anyone under the age of three to the pictures. Surely they should wait until their offspringís attention span has sufficiently developed to allow the process of events in a one and a half hour movie to be absorbed and understood?
Donít misunderstand me Ė Iím not one of those sour-faced types who believe children should be seen and not heard - far from it. I am all for family-friendly policies, be it in the workplace, in government legislation or simply just in restaurants. After all, dining out is all about noise - chatting, laughing and the odd screech from a toddler are all part of the experience, as far as Iím concerned. But one of the prerequisites of going to the flicks is little in the way of distraction, leaving you free to enjoy the film that you paid to go and see.
Next time I go and see a kidsí movie, I think Iíll forget about booking for the opening weekend. Iíll leave it for a couple of weeks and go after the world and his toddler have been. Itís the only way to stop me from literally losing the plot.

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Comments by other Members

hsl at 13:28 on 29 July 2004  Report this post
Doolin - Rather like you,I'm a child friendly zone but I have to agree that the pleasure of a film can be seriously compromised by the presence of the very old and very young.I expect some parents rather hope that the darkness might encourage toddlers to drift off to sleep but the crux of the matter is that one attends the cinema as a form of escapism and not to experience graphic reminders of the travails of everyday life!

With all good wishes - Howard

philippa at 13:42 on 01 December 2004  Report this post
Funnily enough, this exact subject was being discussed in my local pub last night!
I agree with you (and Howard) but... should we spare a thought for the parent of two (or more) being hassled by the elder, for a trip to the movies, and no-one to mind the baby?

Perhaps, in our day of 'multiplexes',we could have 'saga' screenings and 'still reproducing' screenings.

Oh, who cares. Keep cinemas baby free.

CarolineSG at 09:51 on 12 July 2005  Report this post
...I'm rather with you on this one, but what gets me is parents who take teeny children into see really scary things like Harry Potter!
Those Dementors even give me nightmares!

Luisa at 15:14 on 05 September 2005  Report this post
I just saw this on The Random Read and clicked on it because I am a regular cinema-goer, and having babies hasn't stopped me being one. Until my baby was one, I went to regular Big Scream screenings, which are put on especially for parents with babies under 1. At these screenings, nobody is allowed in without a baby. Surprisingly, there were often queues of babyless people begging to be allowed in, protesting that they didn't mind noise. A few times, these people actually attended the screenings and said afterwards that they barely heard the babies.

I find I can zone out any noise - popcorn crunching, children screaming, thunder - when I'm involved in a film. Maybe this is a result of being a parent of two loud toddlers!

I'm afraid I don't agree with keeping cinemas baby free. If a film has a certificate that designates it a 'family film', then a family should be allowed in.

I think it's a good idea for people who do find children distracting to go to evening screenings.


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