I have a hearing loss so whenever I watch films on DVD or at the cinema I need subtitles to understand what is being said. Last week I went to watch the new Star Wars film which was supposed to be a subtitled screening. However the cinema cocked it up.
When the trailers started showing we noticed they seemed to be in 3-D whereas the screening was advertised as 2-D. So we went to ask a member of staff and they confirmed that the film was meant to be in 2-D. So they turned it off and put the correct version on.
A member of staff then came in to the room and asked everyone if they wanted the subtitles on or off, and unfortunately most people wanted them off, much to my annoyance. It seems that most of the people in the room had booked for a screening without subtitles, so I’m not quite sure how they ended up in the screening that was advertised to have subtitles.
I had to watch the film without subtitles so I couldn’t really understand what was being said, however I got the gist of what was going on. Visually The Force Awakens was great, but if it had subtitles it would be brilliant.
What makes it even more annoying is the fact that there are only a limited number of subtitled screenings every week at the cinema. This screening was the only one I could attend that week, and it’s not guaranteed that there will be another subtitled screening the following week.
In comparison EVERY SINGLE FILM has Audio Description available for those with visual impairments, but for those with hearing impairments the service is lacking.
I know you can’t have subtitles for every single film as not everyone wants or needs them. However it’s not unreasonable to have at least one subtitled screening for every film each week. At least that would give more choice of subtitled films. This week there are only three films with subtitles available, and it varies from week to week. Sometimes there aren’t any at all.
I can’t wait for the day when special smart glasses are available that would show subtitles on the lenses. You can read about them on the Limping Chicken blog by clicking here. Apparently cinemas in the US are already using them but not those in the UK.
It’s the same with everything though. Disabled people are in the minority and cinemas don’t see a demand for subtitled glasses so they are not willing to pay for them. Hopefully though in the future the price will drop enough for individual consumers to buy them for themselves.