In a quest to be THE high street cinema for your movie nights out, Vue has to not only beat Odeon and Cineworld with quality, it has to provide you with the experience too.
One of my favourite things about movie dates is that if you’ve got a great film in front of you, a great venue enhances the film.
Also, if you’ve just met someone or if you’re running low on talking topics, a film can provide at LEAST five lines of conversation afterwards.
The thing is, I don’t really want to be spending those five lines of conversation complaining about the cinema.
If you’ve read our Starcity review, you know that getting here is far easier by car, but both the bus and train options are suitable alternatives if you don’t mind a little, or twenty- minute walk.
Now the Vue itself is quite easy to get to, it’s simply a quick walk to the entrance of the inside complex where the bowling and arcade are and a short trip up the escalators.
Once you reach, you’ll be greeted by what is a lovely, open and airy foyer with classic movie headliners above your head. In a strangely pleasant, yet unnecessary way it reminds you that you’re at the cinema.
But no matter your reservations, this kind of reminder builds the excitement of what going to the movies meant to me as a child and what I still feel standing in line for a themed ride.
Seriously, the décor harks back to standing waiting for a Finding Nemo Ride at Disneyland. I’m not going to complain, it makes waiting for service a little easier to bear.
But there’s a price to pay for these memories of nostalgia and bubbling feelings of excitement. After paying almost £19 for standard tickets, it suddenly becomes bemusing as to what you may be paying for that justifies a £3 per person premium over Odeon or Cineworld’s premium seating.
Snacks aren’t particularly cheap either, though things like the 3 for £10.99 deal makes the popcorn, nachos and hotdog a little easier to swallow, even if it means the two of you are sharing.
And to Vue’s credit, they do have a somewhat wondrous concessions stand, offering not only the dearly beloved and once Odeon exclusive: The Ben and Jerry’s stand, but also official merchandise at the kiosk too.
It’s a nice addition in my opinion since it essentially allows the two of you to leave with a memento of your evening that will hopefully last a lot longer than a receipt or torn corner of the popcorn bucket.
For the cinematic part of the Vue’s cinema- It’s sadly nothing particularly special.
Wait. I will give credit where credit is due. The seats are comfy and even though the armrests are the worlds most intrusive cuddle blockers, they are wide enough so that the two of you can have a healthy amount of space in that dark room.
Legroom for those of you above six feet tall is better than your average standard seating arrangement too. This is because the seats in front of you are far enough away that you can slouch comfortably and are not set within a foot well that prevents you from seeing your toes in should you need to escape during the movie to visit the loo.
The 4K screen is well balanced on the brightness side, saving you a splitting headache or the need for sunglasses and the look of foolishness that comes with it.
I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m not particularly enthusiastic about Vue in this review.
And the reason is simple.
It’s because whilst it is a ‘nice’ cinema, the ones occupied by people who have fairly decent jobs- nothing about it fully justifies the price.
The customer service, whilst helpful is slow and somewhat misleading. After attempting to purchase just two drinks, we were encouraged to partake in the 3 for £10.99 deal and were upgraded once again to a large for an additional £1. This took our initial ~£5 to more than double that through upsales alone.
When we tried to correct this, we were told that it would require a manager, the daunting prospect of having to stand in line and then miss the start of the movie was not one we wanted to deal with after paying more than £18 on tickets.
The next problem we then both had was that Vue tries to be more than just a cinema. In the pre-film presentation, Vue boasts to be an all in one seated venue. It’s a cinema, a theatre, an art gallery all rolled into one and by doing that, it felt like it didn’t do anything particularly exceptionally.
Yes, the screen is great and the audio is clean and well set up- but is it a better cinematic experience than Odeon or Cineworld? Barely. It’s not £3 more better though.
In fact, at £8.75 for a student ticket, you’re knocking on the door of Everyman Cinema or the Electric which truly are better cinematic experiences and are a far, far more effective at impressing a date or leaving a lasting impression.
So what is the Vue? Well it’s a nice cinema. It’s a slightly upscale reimagining of your local high-street cinema chain with a price premium that doesn’t weed out the riff-raff, it only puts them off.
Well, if you’re going to the cinema, I can’t recommend Vue over a premium seat at the Odeon on New Street or the Cineworld at Resort World or Five Ways. However, if you’re already in Aston or at Starcity and you want to extend the life of your date by going to the cinema, Vue is a venue that you can trust your date in.
- 4k screen does take your visual experience up that extra level.
- Design ques really make you feel excited to be at the cinema again.
- The concessions on offer are fun, even if they are familiar.
- The option to buy merchandise means the two of you can leave with a long lasting memento.
- Comfy seating in both standard and premium trim.
- Expensive tickets are difficult to justify to yourself.
- Customer Service is keen to up-sell.
- It tries to be more than just a cinema which.
- Your cinematic experience never feels as if it has been made any better.
- It is a half-way house between your regular cinema and your truly upscale cinemas such as The Electric and Everyman Cinema.
- Concessions my be nice, but they aren't any different that anywhere else.