Monday, October 20, 2008

Don't Believe The Hype

"If you like the movies, then Hong Kong is your town. ...although people are asked to shut off their cell phones inevitably your movie- going experience will be punctuated by a ringing phone followed by a loud conversation, heedless of the disruption it causes."

It was this statement in the Culture section of that nearly kept me out of a movie theater for two years. As someone who has no qualms delivering a nasty look to a person kicking the back of her seat or hissing a loud "Shhhh" to people who talk during a movie, I wasn't about to subject myself to an entire theater full of such people. Oh no, I would just ask friends and family to buy DVDs and send them to me...praying that a new Bridget Jones Diary didn't miraculously get made and released during my stint here.

In spite of this, the hubby was somehow able to talk me into trying to see a movie here. (I feel like this happens a lot.)

Movie-going is actually a very pleasureable experience here.
  1. Everyone orders their tickets online or by phone ahead of time and everyone has assigned seats. So, when you go online to buy your tickets, you get to pick your seats (much like when you pick your seats on the airplane.) This is HUGELY convenient, especially coming from a place like NYC where one has to arrive a full hour before the show, then wait in an enormous line that usually snakes around a few corners and down a few staircases before you even step inside the theater. (This is how a 2-hour movie becomes a 5- hour commitment.) Since we had already bought tickets and reserved our seats, Vin and I could stroll into the place a mere 5 minutes before the show started!
  2. I'm not sure if all movie theatres are like the one we went to, but this was one swank affair! Our movie theatre was plopped right in the middle of this super cool book store (think Rizzoli) that featured every travel book known to man and some jaw-droppingly gorgeous coffee table books. It also had a cafe that didn't offer tall, grande or venti anything.
  3. The concession stand -- a place where I thought it could all go to hell in a handbasket -- was like coming home! There were no surprises -- they had popcorn, soda, candy, hotdogs, Haagen Daaz ice-cream bars, nachos. Seriously, this place was more American than the American concession stand. Also -- for those of you who love to drop your M&Ms in your popcorn and eat them together as a salty-sweet treat (you know who you are!), HK popcorn containers have 2 compartments-- one side is filled with traditional butter popcorn, the other side is filled with caramel popcorn!
  4. A large fountain Pepsi was less than $2. (One of the few odd things that costs less in HK.) Our tickets were around $10 a piece, so pretty on par with NYC.
  5. The movie theatre itself was tiny, almost like you were in someone's private home theatre. And the seats were like Buttah! They were these big cushy leather club chairs.
  6. Instead of 8 hours of commercials and that Screen Vision monstrocity they show in the US -- before you even get to previews mind you, HK featured one preview (the new Bond movie) and one commercial (this super artsy commercial for Louis Vuitton; it felt like it was shot by Sofia Coppola or something.)
  7. There was NO TALKING or CELL PHONE RINGING the entire movie! We were able to watch our Leo DiCaprio/Russell Crowe movie completely uninterrupted -- a huge relief given what had said.
While it's no Newport on the Levee, we have found going to the movies to be a great, stress-free HK experience and one we'll certainly be doing again soon.

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