Over it’s various guises, this blog has been home to reviews of some of the latest films I have seen, but I’m fairly convinced this is the first time I have actually reviewed a cinema itself [spot check: yes, looks like it is the first time]. But then, the Prince Charles Cinema (PCC) is not just your typical cinema.
Situated just off Leicester Square and with events that have included The Cornetto Trilogy movies back to back (to back) and Labyrinth Masquerade Balls, you might expect the place to be some overpriced, film-hipster hell hole. In reality, the opposite is true. considering it is just off Leicester Square, this showings are ridiculously good value for money and they don’t try and recoup their money by stinging you for drinks or popcorn either!
Although the PCC doesn’t show you the very latest movies, what they do put on for you is a wide range of both classic films and recent favourites from the box office. Me and my friend Tom have gone pretty regularly over the last year and a bit and we are quite often looking a couple of months in advance to decide what films we want to go see (I’ve got my eye on True Romance in 35mm and an Awesome-along LEGO Movie showings in March).
The people that work there seem to know their stuff and have always been really nice and helpful. By all accounts, we don’t often have to interact with them as we book online and collect our tickets from the collection point, but still, nice to know they’re there if you do need them.
Of course, the main reason for the cinema is the films. As I’ve already hinted at, the PCC is great for the ‘events’ the run. We’ve been to a number of double/triple bills, including The Raid 1 & 2 and the aforementioned Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End), as well as a hirarious (no disrespect intended) swear-along of Team America: World Police. More recently, we also attended an over night Avengers Warm-Up Marathon, which started at 9PM Saturday evening and finished at 9AM Sunday morning. Hardcore, I know.
It’s not just all ‘grown up’ stuff as well, my other half and her mum, gran and cousin went to a sing-along showing of the Sound of Music, where fancy dress was encouraged, and they are still regularly hosting sing-along showings of Frozen. There is also an overnight Pixar PJ Party at the end of March, but adults can go to that too, right?
If I was to make this a rounded review, then I would have to discuss some of the PCC’s ‘less-good’ parts. With space being a premium (as it is everywhere around London), you quite often have to wait outside for some of the more popular showings and the line can start quite early for these. I think we were stood in line for 30+ minutes for the Marvel Marathon but we were towards the front of the queue and it was to be expected somewhat.
The other slight downside, and I will add this is something that I don’t normally run in to for single or double film showings, but the seats are quite close to the row in front of you. Providing you can get to your seat and you intend to stay there, there isn’t too much of a problem unless you really intend to stretch out, but if someone wants to try and move past you, there is little option but to stand up and force yourself backward in to your seat lest you have the person rub against you as they move past. Like I say, this is not normally a problem for me, but at a 12 hour marathon, there were quite a lot of people needing to make bathroom breaks throughout the night.
Overall though, it is a great cinema and one of my favourite places to go spend an evening. The films are very reasonably priced in any event, but if you become a member you save at least £2.50 off every ‘event’ you go to, as well as other benefits. Annual membership is £10 (meaning you only need to go 4 time in the year to break even!) and a lifetime membership is only £50.
If you live in or visit London regularly and you enjoy a good film, be sure to check their website for what is being shown. They have something to suit everyone’s taste (except you weirdos that enjoy 3D) and once you’ve been, you’ll start thinking ahead to the next to you go.
I was trying to think of something catchy or witty to sum all this up and, as usual, the creative part of my brain has failed me, but I will say this: in a world of streaming and illegal downloads, the Prince Charles Cinema is the perfect example of what the cinema is all about, a great movie experience.