Written on: 30/07/2012 by reviewkitten (280 reviews written)
I visited the Odeon in Richmond for the first and most probably the last time when my boyfriend and I went to see The Dark Knight Rises.
I knew that the cinema was a little different to most as it's screens are split between two different sites but I had no idea what the layout would be until we sat down to watch.
We bought tickets at the cinema and decided to have extra legroom and more comfortable seats and got Premiere seats which when we have had then at Guildford and Kingston have had really good views of the screen and felt the extra money was worthwhile.
Not in this case. Had I known that we would be seated behind a barrier that is quite high and painted in part in silver paint (very distracting) then we would have waited and gone to our local Cineworld but we were eager to see the film before seeing friends so we could discuss it with them and presumed that the cinema would be at the same standard as all the ones we have visited locally (including the really old one at Brixton).
The screen room was an old theatre room with a distinct stage.
The screen itself was really low down and all the seats near the middle looked down on it which was novel...except that we could not see the bottom of the screen comfortably. I would never have placed the Premiere seats in this position as it meant that we had to sit bolt upright for the duration of the film which is just not how most people watch the film.
Also the lighting in our area was much lighter than the rest of the cinema. Normally you cannot see that much in a cinema but this area seemed to have all the lighting above us making it feel no darker than a restaurant in the evening. I could have easily read a book in the light.
The sound also seemed to be a little quiet where we sat also. This appeared to be down to the acoustics of the room as it is not a uniform shape.
To us it felt like we had paid extra for the worst seats in the house.
I sent an email to the Odeon complaining and suggesting that they change either the price for the seats (still the same as much superior cinemas in the area like Kingston) or move them. The response I got continually stated that the website mentioned the barrier (I did not view the website before going to the cinema) and that they were "surprised" we had problems viewing the film as they have measured it and found that anyone over 5' 6 would have a "good viewing experience". I am taller than this as is my boyfriend and we both found it very distracting having the barrier in front of us cutting the bottom of the film off.
All I received was an apology that asked me what I suggest they do to change things that are all down to "health and safety reasons". I already suggested that with the large amounts of money they have taken for a poor cinema experience they should alter that room as even the staff cleaning after us stated "these seats are terrible. You can't see the screen properly".
They said: "We do try to achieve the very best in customer service but we cannot resolve concerns once the visit has passed and as you have clearly stated, you will not be visiting again, for that I am truly sorry, but I would like to know how I can change your views on the cinema if I am unable to reduce the barrier or the lighting levels."
Patronising to say the least.
Possibly the worst cinema experience ever.
I'll stick to Cineworld and the Odeon in Kingston.
If you are after a great cinema experience avoid the Odeon in Richmond. The price you pay does not reflect good value for money in my opinion.