Cell phones are magical devices. Yes, I understand that there is considerable science and technological insight that goes into the workings of a cell phone. But really, the fact that I can call my friend at Boston College, check movie times, check my email and play a little video game all with a palm-sized chunk of plastic and wires is a mystical thing that pleases me to no end.
That is, except when I’m in a movie theater.
Everyone has the same tragic story. I went to (enter movie name here), and then some egotistical dingbat pulled out his cell phone and texted through the entire film, ruining the movie and my generally pleasant demeanor.
It’s a terrible situation and also very awkward. Last Christmas, I took my mom and sister to see “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (a poor choice on so many levels), and near the end of the film, another patron’s phone went off … and he actually picked it up. However, no one in the theater wanted to shut him up, risking being rude and causing more of a distraction.
One potential solution is a new patent recently won by Apple. When installed into a cell phone, the patent would use geo-fencing technology to identify when it has entered a theater and turn off some of its movie-disturbing functions.
It sounds glorious, but there are issues that could easily stop this magical patent from reaching consumers. Apple needs to fully develop the patent, and movie theaters would need to install equipment in order for the cell phones to know where they were and respond accordingly. Plus, there might be FCC and legal issues with having one’s phone performing actions like these on their own.
The window is still open for a solution, and one movie theater in England thinks it might have the solution: ninjas.
That’s right; the world’s favorite meme is heading into the seats to stop annoying patrons from ruining movies for the rest of us. Or at least the seats in the Prince Charles Cinema in London’s Leicester Square.
Now, the theater ninjas are not technically Japanese warriors, attacking texting customers with shurikens of silence. They’re volunteers who sit in the auditorium, wearing black skintight outfits and confronting distracting moviegoers with a brief but effective talking-to. The ninjas are paid in free admission and the knowledge that they’ve made the movie-watching world a better place.
Though the idea sounds awesome, there are still problems with the silence-seeking vigilantes. Since the ninjas are not employees and have no real power per say, they might not always be the most effective solution, especially as patrons get used to their presence. Plus, some of the volunteers might get overzealous and over-aggressive toward the filmgoers, especially since they don’t have bosses to truly answer to.
It seems the only real answer to the problem of movie theater texting is just good old common decency.