Monday, September 17, 2007

At The Movies in Hanoi

As mentioned earlier, Hanoi has a pretty nice movie theater that caters to those who are willing to listen to English movie soundtracks, or the odd Korean movie and its soundtrack. The theater, MegaStar, is quite popular and and can help you learn to read Vietnamese, by following along with the subtitles. We go there often because frankly, there is very little to do other than sit around and drink beer for cheap in Hanoi. We're getting too old for that.

Here is a list of the summer movies that we've seen:
  • Spider-Man 3
  • Shrek the Third
  • Transformers
  • Pirates: World's End
  • Bourne
  • 300 (dl)
  • Simpsons (dl)
  • Knocked Up (dl)
  • Live Free or Die Hard
  • Blades of Glory (dl)
  • Ocean's 13
  • Ghost Rider
  • Norbit
  • Disturbia
  • Shooter
As you can see, we 'only' used means other than paying for a movie ticket to watch four movies on this list. IP piracy is very accessible in this part of the world, so why aren't we watching dollar DVDs? Well, we would, except that a locally made DVD player that we bought (new) does not work. And unlike the States, you can't return anything, even defective goods. You can only send it back to the manufacturer - as I have no idea how to receive mail, much less send it, this $50 foray into accessing bootlegged films died a quick death. Oh well, the movie experience is better anyhow. You can buy a Heineken for 20k VND at the theater.

MegaStar just this week opened up a location in HCMC, in District 5. It reportedly cost $4.2mm, which sounds pretty darn cheap actually. HCMC has more theaters, but the one we went to, in Diamond Plaza, was not nearly as good as MegaStar.

And the staff there sucks - we went and bought tickets for Die Hard 4.0. Unbeknownst to us, it turns out they had both a Vietnamese dubbed version at 9 and the non-dubbed English soundtrack at 9:30. We got the 9 o'clock show and, after the opening trailers, realized the movie was dubbed. We went outside and tried to get the situation rectified, but they wouldn't do anything for us. Wouldn't let us come back for the later show. That is some horrible customer service.

Being bored cheapskates, we watched it anyhow. Besides being disappointed that the "D.C." scenes were mostly not of D.C., we really enjoyed the movie. Probably the best one of the list, 'cause of the low expectations. Worse movie may have been Transformers.


vklj said...

"Worse movie may have been Transformers."


D. said...

Too much build up, and so the movie failed to deliver. All the transformers had little character to them - they all looked indistinguishable from one another, or mostly so.

We actually liked Disturbia too, even if it's a modern day Rear Window.