Monday 7 September 2020

I went to see Tenet in a Shaw cinema and survived – but my mind is blown

Dear Tenet director Christopher Nolan,

Have you seen Mulan?

If you had directed it, it would probably be called Nalum and it would have been an improvement.

#BoycottMulan for not including the song I’ll Make A Man Out Of You and a sassy cartoon dragon that sounds like Eddie Murphy.

Because of the pandemic, cinemas in Singapore were closed for nearly four months and reopened in July with safe distancing restrictions.

Only up to 50 people are allowed per cinema hall and you must wear a mask at all times except – and this is a giant loophole – when consuming food and drink.

And this is how they get you to fork over your money for their overpriced popcorn and sugar water.

As if that isn’t frightening enough, last week, people were hurt while watching Tenet in a Shaw cinema at Nex mall after a ventilation duct fell from the ceiling.

Wasn’t there a fire during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises at Causeway Point in 2012 as well?

More tragically, 12 people were killed in a mass shooting during a Dark Knight Rises screening in the US.

Watching a Christopher Nolan movie in the theatre has become a rather dangerous proposition.

Besides wearing a mask, you need a helmet, fire extinguisher and bulletproof body armour.

But I went to see Tenet last Thursday anyway because I loved Inception, appreciated Interstellar and Dunkirk, was shocked by The Prestige and am still trying to figure out Memento.

Tenet was the first movie I have seen in a cinema in eight months. I even watched it in Imax because you are such a champion of the format.

But you know where’s the only place in Singapore you can watch your movie in Imax?

Shaw Theatres.

That’s right, the cinema chain where a ventilation duct fell on people.

So I basically risked my life to see your bloody movie.

Was it worth it?

Well, it was nice to see RPatz not sucking anyone’s blood while Denzel Washington’s son establishes his blockbuster cred so that he can potentially take over the late Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther.

Speaking of Marvel movies, since Tenet is essentially about going backwards in time to save the world, it’s a bit like Avengers: Endgame but with less talking raccoon and more Michael Caine.

Coincidentally, Keanu Reeves’ new movie Bill & Ted Face The Music is also about time-travelling to save the world.

It’s stupid and dumb, but what a relief to be able to understand what’s going on in a movie after seeing yours. Hooray for stupid and dumb.

And it’s not just that the timey-wimey stuff in Tenet is incomprehensible.

The dialogue is sometimes so inaudible in the sound mix that the audience can’t hear what the characters are saying to help us comprehend the timey-wimey stuff.

It’s like suddenly everyone in the movie is speaking like Bane from The Dark Knight Rises.

I get that you like to challenge the audience, but I beg of you, the next time you direct a movie, please make English subtitles mandatory.

Don’t make me start the hashtag #BoycottChristopherNolan.

- Published in The New Paper, 7 September 2020