I'm going to try to be fair in this review, but to be honest my movie experience at Odeon Kensington was one of the worst in a very long time. First of all, it's a very small theater, the screens are tiny (screen 2 at least), so it often sells out (this was the third time I'd been to this theater to try to see a film, finally got in by booking online several hours before). In such a small theater anything out of the ordinary from the audience can ruin the experience for everyone else - the woman behind me laughing out loud at very inopportune moments (it was NOT a comedy!) obviously had a very strange sense of humor, and the kids in the front row running around during the film needed to be much better controlled. That said, I'm not going to hold that against the theater as you could get that anywhere. Instead, I'm going to base my review on things they can control...
1) Probably the must uncomfortable seat I've ever had to sit in for 2+ hours. My lower back hurt and neck hurt by the end of the film, and the two friends I was with also had the same complaints as we left the theater.
2) Another complaint about the seats - I'm tall but definitely not a very wide guy, and I barely fit in the seat. Luckily the seat to my right was empty, and the guy sitting next to me on the left was a friend of mine, so rubbing elbows a few times wasn't terribly awkward.
3) The small screen was too highly positioned to be at a comfortable viewing level - I wasn't anywhere near the front row, but I still had to arch my neck to look up at the screen.
Time for an upgrade Odeon Kensington. Small theaters can be great, but not when they obviously haven't been modernized in awhile. Maybe I'm being a little generous with two stars, but I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt because some of my complaints had nothing to do with the theater and everything to do with the people in it.
This is a large multi-screen cinema, on High Street Kensington, just past the junction of Earl's Court Road and opposite the entrance to Holland Park. It's my local cinema, and it's good for avoiding the trek into central London to see the latest major releases.
The cinema building is of traditional design: Construction began in 1923-4 and it was opened in 1926. Designed by the architects Julian R. Leathart and W. F. Granger, it was considered to be 'one of the more interesting and encouraging designs' in its day. Seating 2,350 in the main auditorium, it was said to be the largest cinema in England at the time.
Although the facade remains intact, inside it has been rebuilt to provide six screens, the largest of which seats 520 people, and the smallest just 66. Screens 4-6 have spaces for wheelchairs, and all the screens (as well as the Box Office and retail points) have hearing loop systems. Guide and hearing dogs are welcome at all showings.
As a commercial cinema, it tends to show mainstream Hollywood and some UK productions. Ticket prices reflect standard (ie high) London cinema prices. They also have a bewildering array of tariffs: the standard peak rate ticket is £13.50 for 'premier' (ie wide comfy) seats, and £10.50 for standard seats: off peak - and what defines this varies for children, students and senior citizens - ranges from £6 for Youth Hostel Association members to £7.90 for adults.
Off-peak family tickets are also available for £24, for an adult + 3 children or 2 adults + 2 children. Carers accompanying disabled customers (with a CEA card) go free.
The cinema is ten minutes' walk (500m) from High Street Kensington station (turn right at the main High Street exit). There's a bus stop immediately outside, served by buses 9, 10, 27, 28, 49, N9, N10, N28 and N31, and one in Earl's Court Road (50m away) served by the C1 and 328. There is also a cash-point in the adjacent Post Office and bank. If you want a bite to eat before or after, there are a several restaurants close by.
I saw Batman on opening night at this theatre and was most likely on the largest screen in the building and still found it rather standard. The ticket cost was ridiculous but that seems to be standard now.
Where this theatre failed miserably was in service. The opening night of the movie was crowded but not full by any means. The tickets sold had seat numbers (you could either book your seat online or, I presume, pick your seat when buying tickets at the door). Two audience members got into a rather noisy fight about who had the right to sit in a particular seat. There were a number of other seats available nearby and one man clearly had the ticket with that seat number. The staff were summoned several times and increasing numbers of staff members just stood around watching the two argue then seemed to give up and leave while the pair still fought nosily even after the film began. The staff were useless and it was a maddening experience that should have been quickly resolved by a manager.
When the [incompetent] staff aren't necessary, I suppose this is a fine theatre.
Just visited Odeon in Kensington.
Nice staff, good film, OK seats, clean toilets, but picture quality was poor. White flickering screen - can give you a headache...
Have been there twice and both times the staff apparently couldn't count so tried to over-charge me for snacks. Not a nice experience!
Unless you are sure you are in Screen 1, DO NOT USE THIS CINEMA. Get on a bus and go to the Vue in Fulham. Or go home and watch Film4 instead. You will pay a fortune to sit in a room probably smaller than your own living room and watch an ancient, crackling screen chug through a modern blockbuster (or beautifully shot arthouse film). Either way, it'll leave you grinding your teeth about being ripped off, and that's if the pong doesn't get you.
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