As you can deduce from the poster above, I went to see Star Trek Beyond tonight! Before I give my review some gripes with cinemas in general that aren’t related to the astronomical ticket prices (£22??? 5 cinema trips at those prices and I’d be able to go on a cheap holiday!!).
No my gripe relates to deaf issues again, and the fact that many film distributers and cinemas see disabled people as 2nd class citizens. I know they have improved many venues now, improving access to many screens for wheelchair users as part of fulfilling their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act. But the fact of the matter is, for many deaf people, this still isn’t enough.
Let me explain, in the UK alone, there are now more than 11 MILLION people in the population who have a hearing loss of some form or another. That is a staggering 1 in 6 of us, which means the likelihood of you working with, being friends with, having a family member or even bumping into someone that is deaf is very high indeed. Yet all major cinema chains will still generally only offer films with subtitles once a fortnight, possibly twice a fortnight if we are lucky. For people who don’t know, subtitles are essentially captions of the actors words, sometimes also providing captioned clues to sounds in the film which deaf people may miss. For many of you, unless you do know of someone who is deaf, being able to go cinema anytime you want to see any film you want is a given. However, for deaf people it is a different matter entirely, because we rely on subtitles on helping us understand what is happening in a film. A lot of films have actors with beards, or they mumble words, or it may be taking place in a dark room, this instantly negates our ability to lip read. And if the camera is panning around while talking is going on, well, thats the film done with and we have to just watch the film and hope for the best.
Apparently it costs the cinema more to “buy” the film stock if it has subtitles, and the reason it costs more for them according to the film distributers/makers is that they have to pay extra money for the captioning to be added to the film. But let me put that figure out there again, 11 MILLION people. That’s a potential market of 11 million extra cinema visitors. Surely in this day and age they would be crying out for extra audiences and doing everything they can to draw them in. It doesn’t take a genius to work out the extra money they could make. But no, instead they offer occasional subtitled films, and then put them on at strange times, recently I’ve seen them from 11am on a Sunday, 5pm on a Monday and 2pm on a Thursday. I know they can’t cater for all the market but they seem to have some bizarre reasoning that all deaf people don’t work?? They then wonder why when subtitled films are released, they don’t get many people showing up. Well duh! You’ve got it on so early no one has managed to get home yet! I remember one cinema chain manager came out to me after I complained saying “well why don’t you all meet up and get a letter/email signed and we can show that to the film distributers”. Just so you know, being deaf doesn’t automatically get you entered into a Secret Society of Fellow Deaf People! That would be like me going “oh you wear glasses! You must have exciting Friday nights out with fellow glasses wearers!”. I know this is just an education thing, but it shows the uphill battle we face. All we want is more choice of films and more varied times so we can have a freedom to go cinema when we want to, not when the cinema feels inclined to. This is why many deaf people will wait till a film has been released on DVD/Blu Ray so we can finally watch a film with subtitles.
All I will say, to any deaf people, just keep moaning to your local cinema manager! They will eventually get fed up and hopefully add some more films for you, and the last I saw, it’s not against the law to moan 😉 Hopefully in time, we will be able to all enjoy the magic of a movie on the bigscreen how it should be seen!
Well, gripe over, what about the film? I loved it! I did have reservations with it having been penned by Simon Pegg, don’t get me wrong, I love his comedy shows/movies, but something as giant as Star Trek?? (Yes, I’m a geek and a trekkie, no apologies will be given!). However, by the end of the film I was silently clapping my hands in my head, and I got goose bumps at the final reveal (Don’t worry no spoilers given in this review!). You should know by now of a main character reveal and should it or should it not have been done better, I won’t go into it in detail, but I agree with Simon, sometimes less is more, and in the context of this film, I think the subtleness of the moment made it more natural and more impactful then making it obvious. There are opportunities in future films now the reveal has occurred to explore this character further without it being a big thing.
Many people are still not keen on the direction this new brand of Star Trek is going, saying it’s not being faithful to the original. I admit, having grown up with the original, I will always have more of an affinity with Nemoy, Shatner and co. However, those films are over 30 years old now, so these new ones have to entice today’s younger audience in while trying to keep some elements of the original for the old timers. I think they’ve done well and I’m loving the relaunch! The only sad thing is the untimely death of Anton Yelchin who played Chekov. Will it be possible to carry on with this crew without him? Only time will tell. But for me, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed they do!
Live Long and Prosper! \/