Watching movies has always been a favorite pastime of mine, be it at home or at the theater. In Manila, I’m more than willing to shell out 200 pesos for a movie ticket, even more for premieres. I know the price is silly, but come to think of it, even if the movie sucked, the sound quality and comfy seats make the experience partially worthwhile. The cinemas at Greenhills Shopping Center and Powerplant are the best in my book. In Davao City, there are only a few worth mentioning. Here they are, in order of preference:
1. NCCC Mall Cinemas: The newest movie theater on the block. The premises are consistently clean and the seats are comfortable enough with lots of leg room. Sound is ok, air conditioning sometimes too cold. Restrooms very clean. Rating: 8/10
2. SM Cinemas: They offer different rates for balcony and orchestra seats. Cleanliness could be an issue. Sometimes empty wrappers and cups can be found on armrests and on the floor at the start of a movie. Food sold at their counters is limited if not unappetizing. They seem to be selling only snacks manufactured by SM. It’s become so ridiculous that they restrict patrons from bringing in even canned softdrinks. Obviously, they don’t want you to buy sodas or food from outside. Restrooms are ok. Rating: 5.5/10
3. Gaisano Ilustre Cinemas: This one is pretty old. The place could use some renovation and more upkeep. Restrooms questionable. Rating: 4/10.
4. Gaisano Mall Cinemas: Plain horrible. Rats and cockroaches will fight for your attention as you watch. Restrooms require NASA-grade space suits if you value your health. Rating: 1/10
5. Victoria Plaza Cinemas: Just as horrid. Creepy crawlies attacking in the air, on the ground. The place reeks. Rating: 1/10
Conclusion: If you want to get the best movie experience, hands-down, you have to watch it at NCCC. If you want to see a movie that’s not showing at NCCC, try SM. SM is “ok” for me. It’s actually a decent place to watch a movie. But since NCCC is just 5 minutes away, why settle for less?