I had a new experience Saturday, R and I went out for dinner and a movie. Sound routine? Well the difference is that this time, they were in the same place at the same time. AMC has opened a new theater near us that has special auditoriums where dinner and cocktails are served before and during the screening.
The seats are huge and powered like first class seats on airplanes, but are more comfortable. There are trays about 14×24 inches that pivot so you can eat off them and then move them aside when you are finished. It was an extensive menu with everything from burgers and pizza to salads and shrimp tacos (they were great). The food is all freshly prepared and delivered by servers dressed in black who kneel before you when they arrive so they don’t block anyone’s views. The rows are at least four feet apart so there is plenty of room for servers and others to get in and out. Stadium Seating, of course.
When you enter there is a place setting already at your seat and a menu. After you have selected you press a button next to your seat and a server materializes in front of you and takes your order, or brings your another wine, or whatever.The food is delivered quickly and efficiently.
This is not cheap. The movie seats, without any food or drink were $20 each for the Hobbit. The food was not super expensive. I think we paid about $50 plus tip for our dinners and wine. So it wasn’t that much more than if we had eaten somewhere else. The nice thing is that we had a great meal, saw the movie (in 3D), and didn’t have to spend the entire day doing it. There is a bar in the lobby of the theater so if you are early and want to have a drink before, or after, its available.
Granted this is not something you may want to do every weekend. But for a ‘night out’ or a special date, its a great idea.
The most surprising part is that the servers don’t detract from the movie. You may see them walk by, but they work the room with skill and stealth.
As for the Hobbit — if you liked the Lord of the Ring, you will like the Hobbit. The special effects are amazing. I thought it could have moved along a bit in the beginning when the Dwarfs were trying to convince Bilbo to join them, and again when Bilbo was arguing with Golum, but the final 20 minutes when the Dwarfs, Gandolf, and Bilbo were racing from the goblins, fighting off the orcs, and ….well just see it. Of course you can’t get enough of that beautiful elfen queen, Kate Blanchett.
Ian McKellen, I’m told, didn’t want to reprise his part as the wizard, Gandolf, but filming was scheduled so he could fit in a few plays on London’s West End. For you “Sherlock” fans you may be wondering whey you won’t see the modern day Sherlock Holmes series again until 2014. The lead in the Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, is non other than Sherlock’s Watson, Martin Freeman,and Sherlock himself, Benedict Cumberbatch get’s a walk on, well maybe a drift on, as Sarun, the necromancer. Heavy makeup and CGI makes recognizing all but a few of the actors in this Middle Earth fantasy impossible.
Great fun, great story, the wine helped a bit through the slower parts.