An interesting time at the movies last night. We went to see a preview of Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 3-D at Warwick Grand Cinemas.

We were the second family in line so once we got inside we pretty much had our choice of seats anywhere in the cinema. We chose the perfect viewing area and started to sit down before realising the seats were soaking wet. We moved to the row in front. There were about ten or so wet seats in a row so we assumed they must have just been cleaned. Pretty poor effort on the part of the cinema to leave a row of soaking wet seats without warning anyone.

There were four seats at either end of the row that were dry so they filled up but after that pretty much anyone who walked into the cinema spotted almost an entire row of prime viewing and headed straight for it only to be told by all those around that the seats were wet. Most of the time it was met with, “The seats are wet?” to which all around would say, “Yes, they’re wet”.

It was great pre-show entertainment as group after group made a beeline for the wet row.

The most interesting situation was when a middle aged guy turned up with his family, was told about the situation, but wasn’t prepared to believe anyone else so he just pushed past the people at the end of the row to touch every remaining seat.

Sure enough they were all soaking wet so he put his tail between his legs and headed out again looking somewhat foolish in front of what was by then a packed cinema. I know that there are times that we need to test what other people are telling us but surely when a cinema is filling up and the best seats are still vacant, there’s got to be a reason. Let’s hope he learned something about trusting what other people tell him.

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Mamma Mia … Here We Go Again

mammamia.jpgWe never had the opportunity to see the stage show but Pauline and I jumped at the opportunity to attend Perth’s Red Carpet Premiere for Mamma Mia! the Movie last Wednesday.

It really wasn’t all that cool to admit to being an ABBA fan back in their heyday but I didn’t care about cool. I had posters and all sorts of other ABBA paraphernalia sticky taped to my bedroom wall, totally destroying the paint job. I would stare endlessly at Bjorn, Benny, Frida and especially Anna, while wearing my trendy yellow ABBA T-Shirt. I even had a certificate to prove that I was an official member of the ABBA fan club issued by the now defunct Perth newspaper, Sunday Independent.

Mamma Mia! is being promoted as a feel good movie and that’s exactly what it is. The joyous, and sometimes tuneful, renditions of many of ABBA’s great songs really brought the audience to life. Most of the cast admirably demonstrated why they had chosen acting over singing as a career. While I would never buy the movie soundtrack, let’s face it, I have the ABBA CDs and they do it so much better, I have to recognise the fact that some of the actors put in amazing vocal performances.

Meryl Streep is a far better actor than singer but she still knows how to belt out a tune and her performance of The Winner Takes It All is remarkable. Many people have singled out Pierce Brosnan’s performances as less than inspiring but I reckon it was a gutsy effort by him and he holds a tune more than well enough for a light hearted movie like this one. It was Christine Baranski who really surprised me with her voice. I think she’s a great actress and her voice was surprisingly good.

If you’re an ABBA fan you’ll enjoy the fun numbers and no matter who you are you’re likely to love the scenery.

As for the storyline, and I use that term rather loosely, it’s fairly obvious that the stage show, which the movie closely mirrors, was written only as a way to string together a bunch of songs by everyone’s favourite Swedish super group. (I had to use the ‘Swedish super group’ cliche sooner or later.) I’ll let you decide for yourself about the morality of a story about a girl who has no idea who her father is because her mother had been with three guys within a very short time.

An interesting moment is where the daughter blurts out in front of a group of people that she didn’t care if her mother had slept with hundreds of guys. The mother looks nervously to the crowd saying that she hadn’t slept with hundreds of men. Obviously it would be embarrassing to sleep with too many men but how many would be too many? It seems that sleeping with three guys is OK but hundreds is a little over the top. I wonder where the line would have been drawn. Five? Ten? Twenty? Fifty?

If you’re prepared to look past the storyline and just enjoy the movie as an opportunity to relive your love of ABBA, go for it.

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