The solution to bad cinema manners: Ninjas

Emily Jupp

noisy Ninjasresize 300x225 The solution to bad cinema manners: NinjasWe’ve all had that horrible moment – when you’re in the cinema, you’ve scoped out the best view, snuggled down in your seat and started to get lost in the trailers when, “Da la la laa, da la la laa, da la la la laaa!” (That’s meant to be a ringtone, not Tinky Winky pirouetting before the screen, although both would undoubtedly disturb your movie-going experience). Yes, that moron in front of you has flagrantly ignored the signage and those hilarious Orange-branded adverts telling people to turn their phone off and, without even a hint of embarrassment,  is proceeding to take the call. “Hello?! Yes I’m just in the cinema,” they say in the sort of mock stage whisper that Trigger Happy TV would be proud of.

But what do you do? If you are anything like me, you don’t, as initial instinct tells you you should, throttle them. Instead you shuffle about, re-considering your impulses, trying to self-soothe with an internal monologue: “Perhaps they have a family emergency, perhaps they are on tenterhooks waiting to hear about a new dream job. They’ll probably take this call outside any second now, they can’t be totally immune to the hostility rising around them like a silent but potent fart, can they?”

You look at the person next to you, they raise an eyebrow, you shake you your head and sigh audibly, and then, just as you are just about to tap the offender on the shoulder and become the hero of the scenario, they hang up. They’ve got away with it. They have won. You sit back in your chair and fume.

But this scenario, played over and over throughout the nation, is about to change. Prince Charles Cinema, in London’s Leicester Square, has come up with a rather maverick solution: Ninjas. Groups of volunteers wearing shiny black all-in-one spandex Morphsuits have been trained to disappear into the background of the cinema. The anonymous vigilantes wait, poised for action, until a breach of cinema etiquette is committed, and then – they pounce catlike upon the victim and, um, give them a strongly-worded ticking-off.

The “ninja taskforce”, which has proven so popular it may be rolled out to Odeon and  Cineworld cinemas across the country, will “put a stop to bad cinema etiquette and tomfoolery such as popcorn throwing, feet on seats and the use of mobile phones during films” according to the press release. But what about those other subtle breaches, the ones that are annoying, but not ninja-worthy, like having sweet-wrappers that crackle a lot, or spilling sweet drinks on the floor so your feet get all sticky? Here are the commandments of cinema etiquette that the ninjas also need to protect:

Thou shalt not sit mid-row if you have an over-active bladder

Thou shalt not do the thing where you crouch your head down ever so slightly when walking across the front of the screen. No-one is fooled, you are still blocking the view

Thou shalt not attempt to perform sexual acts at the back of the cinema, or anywhere in the cinema for that matter

Thou shalt not sit near the front row if thou hast big hair

Ditto tall people

Thou shalt not eat noisy food (including, but not limited to: squeaky popcorn, very crunchy food, eating with your mouth open  and slurping at the dregs of your drink through a straw)

Thou shalt not put your feet on the seat in front

Though shalt not kick the seat in front

Thou shalt not pretend the seat next to you is for your friend when you actually just want some extra space

Thou shalt not bring your baby or child under three years of age with you. No matter how much you love them, everyone else will loathe them

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  • rolypoly

    An interesting development. But I wonder what violent altercations might ensue. The most ill-mannered inconsiderate people can be quite nasty I believe.
    In good seats in a cinema a few years ago my wife and I were watching a tense atmospheric film requiring concentration. As it started a family came in bringing bags
    of snacks from a local supermarket and sat in front of us.
    They munched away noisily, rustling and opening bags, handing out sweets, etc. After a while I leaned forward and whispered in the ear of the senior male of the group,
    “would you mind eating those quietly?” He turned a bit back towards me and said in a loud indignant voice; “Don’t be so bloody rude!”

    We mentioned it to the manager after the film and our money was refunded.

  • LondonComedyWriters

    Smart phones are my new cinema hell, every time someone checks an e-mails it is like someone switched on a torch in peripheral vision.

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