As far as I can recall, my first ever trip to the cinema took place in 1989 when I was five years old. The film was Honey I Shrunk The Kids, and the screening took place at the old UCI Cinema in Solihull. That was a site I returned to many times in the following years, mostly because it was the nearest/most convenient cinema to get to from my home town. That and it had a Pizza Hut attached to it – most convenient for pre or post-film dining. That cinema has long since closed, my last film viewing there was probably The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King back in 2004. Actually no, in hindsight it was perhaps Casino Royale in 2006, which came out just before our local cinema in Redditch opened in early 2007. We have a family tradition of going to see the latest Bond film together which dates back to The World Is Not Enough in 1999. We had been without a cinema in Redditch since 1999 when the much revered ABC Cinema closed. My last film at that particular cinema could very well have been Small Soldiers in the summer of 1998. I’ve seen a lot of films from ’98 since then, but all of those were after the fact on one of them newfangled DVD devices.
Anyway, back to that first cinema visit in ’89. I remember quite a bit from that trip, surprising given the twenty five years that have since passed. I was taken along by my uncle and, having purchased some obligatory snacks, we took our seats on the right hand side of the busy screen and I recall enjoying the film despite my tendency at that time to be scared of pretty much anything and everything. I mean, what could be potentially scarier to a child at that age than seeing people shrunk down to an inch in height and terrorised by ants and other common garden objects? In all honesty most kids would likely enjoy such a story, and from what I recall I was able to put aside my inherent fear of such things and thoroughly enjoy the film. It may have been the novelty of visiting the cinema for the first time, or that the film isn’t all that scary in the first place, I genuinely can’t remember.
In any case, it did help start a love of cinema that would later lead me to take my brother along to several screenings of films at the old ABC cinema in Redditch – no doubt a subject for another blog post further down the line. I’ll admit that I don’t recall being desperate to go back to the cinema at the earliest opportunity, but it’s something I eventually got round to turning into a regular occurrence, more so in the last couple of years since starting up this blog. Over the summer I had the opportunity to take my 2.5 year old niece on her first cinema trip to see Frozen on the big screen, and she’s been back there a few times with her Mum. I’m looking forward to the next few years when I can start introducing her to more essential films and trying to lead her down the cinema path. And if she ultimately chooses not to follow that, there’s always her younger brother to try and convert in a couple of years. Fun times await, and cinema is the name of the game.