A few months back, Ster-Kinekor launched its VIP Screening Experience, which aims to provide a more atmospheric experience to cinema patrons, while at the same time pre-screening some of the biggest movies in the process. Back in March, SK had planned an outdoor experience for the premiere of Kong, which, sadly, had to be abandoned due to inclement weather. This time around, however, there were no such issues as they once again hosted the SK VIP Experience for the much anticipated Wonder Woman.
As is the setup of these VIP Screening Experiences, SK aims to bring a different experience to movie-goers for each of the events. With the Wonder Woman premiere, the Fox Junction Event Venue hosted the group of would-be fans. What’s great about the location is that it accommodates a number of different food and drink vendors, from the simple hot dog to the more intricate curries and the likes, which includes Halaal and Vegan options for those who require. Additionally, there’s also a full stocked bar, a live band, and various other entertainment options on the night. Kicking off a full two hours before the actual screening of the film, attendees could take the time beforehand to unwind and enjoy the “experience” – and what an experience it turned out to be.
Things were running quite smoothly as we sat down to enjoy the live tunes from the band while enjoying our drinks before the film. But the evening slowly started to unravel, at least from my side, as things started to go horribly wrong.
For starters, as we headed towards our seats, we noticed rows upon rows of plastic seats cable tied together. And while they were fitted with cushions to make them a bit more comfortable, I can assure you, they weren’t – at all.
Heading towards the popcorn and drinks stand, a long queue awaited me to purchase my standard movie snacks. Unfortunately, the selection was limited to regular sized popcorn and two flavours of Slush Puppy. I didn’t mind this so much, as it forms the basis of most of my snacks at the movies in any case, and my assumption is that these are the more popular options at SK theatres, hence the selection choice. After spending close to 10 minutes in line, which was actually fairly quick considering the length, I went back to my selected seating.
I soon realised that this wasn’t going to be a smooth sailing viewing experience. It didn’t get any better when a group of rather tall individuals filled the row in front of us. Moving further to the left to avoid this situation, it still wasn’t sufficient for me to see the bottom of the screen. Once most of the seats had been filled, it became a tight squeeze between my partner and the lady sitting to my left.
As the screening began, I couldn’t help but yearn for the comforts of the more conventional viewing experience – you know, sitting in a comfortable seat with the luxury of a cupholder. In addition, while the screen was reasonably large, it wasn’t as clear as at most cinemas, especially in comparison to the 4K digital projection of most modern cinemas. The sound too was not the most pleasing, although I won’t go as far as to say it was bad.
Thirty minutes into the film, I needed another sip of my slush, which at this stage had become quite awkward to grab from my feet and lift to my face, especially while I was attempting to balance my popcorn at the same time. And this is where things got really bad. A few seconds of juggling my snacks sent my slush flying through the air, landing a quite substantial amount right in the middle of my pants, all the way down my right leg. It immediately became so much worse when I realised I had spilt a fair amount on my partner and, much to my horror, on the lady on my left. Thankfully, both of them were gracious enough to accept my apology, as I cleaned up as best I could before retreating to the bathroom for a more thorough cleaning.
It may have been the alcohol served beforehand that may have added to the situation that greeted me in the men’s bathroom – but it’s not something I would share in this forum.
Shortly after my return, however, a brawl broke out in the row behind me, which, thankfully ended quickly. After all the drama off screen, I finally managed to power my way through to the end of the film, not without a really sore neck, back, and near numb behind.
As for the movie itself, Wonder Woman provided some great entertainment. Unfortunately, I’m unable to share my thoughts on it until the embargo is lifted on Monday evening, but I can assure potential viewers that it is worth the watch. I can also confirm that it far exceeds Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad.
In terms of the VIP event, I can’t recommend the experience (I’ll choose IMAX, or a regular cinema, over this any day). However, it isn’t all bad as the venue does offer some variety and a different entertainment option.
Despite it all, I do look forward to the next SK VIP Experience, not simply because there’s a good chance we’ll get to view the movie a week in advance, but also because I’m interested to see how the event grows, and how SK will iron out all of the teething issues.
Thanks to SK for allowing me to share the experience.
Wonder Woman starts this coming Friday, 2nd June 2017, and will be available in 3D at IMAX.