Movies in the Netherlands

The wife and I decided that as things get colder here in Amsterdam we will need some indoor entertainment.  Ideally, we were looking for something cheap, outside of our apartment, and didn’t result in a hangover the next day.  We had heard that the local movie chain, Pathé, offered an unlimited movie viewing pass.  Deciding that it was worth giving a look into, I dug through the Dutch website and found that indeed, unlimited movie tickets PLUS 10% off food and drink could be had for the low low price of 19 euro per month.  What a deal!  It’s extra convenient because we have two of the best movie theaters in the Netherlands just a five minute walk from our front door.

After a couple of weeks using the pass, I can say that it’s a great deal, but my reaction is mixed.  Our first viewing experience was pretty amazing.  We saw Skyfall in the Grote Zaal (Large Hall) at the spectacular Pathé Tuschinski.  We arrived late to the showing because we couldn’t figure out how to get to our assigned seats (yes, they give you an assigned seat in Holland), so I couldn’t get any photos of the auditorium,  but it is quite awe inspiring (see below).  Although our seats were in the second balcony, we still enjoyed the experience enormously.

Our second movie going experience was a matinee viewing of Seth MacFarlane’s magnum opus, Ted.  We had planned on seeing the movie when it came out in the States, but in all of the chaos of the move abroad, we missed it.  When we first arrived in the Netherlands, we were happy to see that it was still in the theaters here.  Move ahead two months and the film is STILL being shown in theaters.  The movie was being shown around the corner from the Pathé Tuschinski at the Pathé De Munt theater.  While the Pathé De Munt offers a more modern multiplex experience, featuring 13 auditoriums, the viewing experience could not have been more different from our visit to Pathé Tuschinski.

Because Ted had already been out in the Netherlands for two months, we were expecting the “private showing” experience that you sometimes get when you go to see an old movie in the middle of the afternoon.  This was not the case.  The theater was PACKED.  Not only was the theater nearly full, but there we a large number of young children in attendance.  I was curious if their parents had no idea what the movie was about or if they knew and didn’t care.  It’s hard to tell sometimes about what the Dutch consider appropriate and inappropriate for children to see.  Regardless, I’ve seen enough Pixar movies in theaters full of children to know that they add very little to the movie going experience. Ugh.

Beyond the fact that I was in a full auditorium filled with children, I was looking directly at the smallest movie screen that I had ever seen.  In all honesty, I think I’ve been in home theaters with larger screens.  It’s not that we were expecting Ted to be one of the big summer CGI spectaculars that requires a massive screen, but I have to say that I was a little disappointed.  I think I would have been a little ticked off if I had paid the full 10 euro ticket price to see the movie on such a small screen.  Part of the reason that I don’t mind paying what is honestly a very high price to see movies in the theater is because you get an experience that can’t be had at home.  If the screen is tiny, the room is packed, and I’m surrounded by kids, I might as well wait a few months for the DVD.

In the end, I have to say that most of the negative aspects of the Pathé De Munt theater turned out to not really matter once the movie started, but I still can’t give it a five star review.  I’ll be back, but hopefully all of the auditoriums at the Pathé De Munt aren’t the same.  Next on the movie going agenda: Argo.

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