The Cinematic (or not so) Ferry Experience


(me – right, enthusiastic girlfriend – left)

If you don’t like people who ramble, then read no further. The other day (my followers will know), I was onboard a ferry, upon which, I was delighted to discover had a ‘cinema’. They were only charging £5.50 for a ticket, a bargain these days. But, I soon discovered why and found myself wanting to throw the tickets overboard!

I entered the screen slightly jubious to the fact it was empty 10 minutes before showtime. I sat down, front row, middle seat. I’m sure your now thinking, “but the front row is a horrific place to sit!” – too bright, too loud, sore neck etc. However, in this cinema, it was the only place one could sit to actaully enable a clear view of the screen. The rows inclined a mere few millimetres as they went back, and to compensate, cinema ‘bumper seats’ were offered – a seemingly pointless invention I didn’t know existed! However, the few kids that shortly followed my arrival seemed absolutely fascinated and delighted by these ‘bumper seats’. Though, the kids were not to be fooled. Once seated, a little girl said to her mum “It’s not as good as normal”. This brings me on to the fact that the screen was inexplicably small to be classed as cinematic. A large TV set would be a more accurate description. If the multiplex was America this would be Singapore.

10 minutes later, the cinema is still only a tenth full – seems some fortunate people have been on this ferry before. Considering the auditorium only holds 66 people, 6.6 is not an impressive tally (myself being the .6 as .4 of me was drifting off into the ocean).

The ‘projectionist’ enters (I hyphenate for good reason, who wouldn’t in this era of mass digital media? Mark Kermode would – read his ramblings on the ‘death’ of projectionists in The Good, The Bad and the Multiplex). All this man did was press a button twice, twice as the first time he forgot to point it at the projector. The poor man was probably taking on ten jobs at once.

To my horror, as the lights dimmed and the projector lit up, the picture was spilling a few inches over the left-hand side of the screen – not to mention the scaling down of the image to fit the academy ratio (4:3) of the screen! Of course, the small children would hardly know any different – I was fuming! My girlfriend, she was annoyed but clearly not as concerned.

Once I’d adjusted to this cinematographic disgrace, it became blindingly obvious that the picture projection was juddering in all directions. I’d certainly not bought a ticket to see Cloverfield or Blair Witch Project. Understandably, this on-screen quiver was being caused by the ferries movements, though, after taking one look at overhead projector, a few questions were explained – it was clearly time for an upgraded system!

I had to find someone to whom I could direct my anger but that turned out to be impossible. The cinema was accessible via 2 fire exits both located at the front, the film had already started, I couldn’t just burst out and disrupt the ‘show’. Especially not with 5 excited and alienated children as my nieghbour. Did I mention it was a screening of Monsters University?

So, I sat through the entire film, itching and twitching at the constant screen shuffle and disappearance of Sullivan’s right arm. I found myself continually etching my vision away from the screen, it was starting to make me dizzy. However, the stunning animation and my love for Monsters Inc. kept me afloat right through until the credits rolled. I then made a rapid escape and took to the nearest restrooms.

Watch Monsters University, but, never ever, get excited by, or even contemplate, contributing to the Ocean-bound box-office.


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