The much awaited Nescafe M-Junction drive-in cinema, dubbed Malaysia's first by the organisers, has finally opened its doors, and we got to experience it first hand.
Having grown up watching Hollywood movies with scenes where the actors watch movies in drive-in cinemas, it was an experience we were eager to enjoy.
Before we share our experience, here's a lowdown on the drive-in cinema: the cinema is managed byTwoSpicy Entertainment Live, the same people who brought in some of the most unique dining experiences such as Dinner In The Sky and Plane In The City.
There are two shows every day - at 6p.m. and 9p.m. - and the tickets are priced at RM99 for 'economy class'
and RM159 for 'VIP'
. The prices are for a car with a maximum of two people, and the entrance fee includes food.
If you're driving a SUV or any big vehicles, you will automatically be guided to the back, so as to not block other viewers in smaller cars like the Perodua Kancil.
A maximum of 50 cars will be allowed for each show, so do book your tickets earlier.
OK, now on to the 'main event': what we really think about the whole drive-in cinema experience.
While it was a novel experience, there were both pros and cons to it. Before you buy the tickets, which aren't cheap, here are some things you might want to take into consideration:
What we like:
There were several things that we really liked about the drive-in, the main one being able to be a part of what can be considered a new experience. The other pros to it are:
- You can wear whatever you want, including your comfy pyjama and fluffy bedroom slippers, since you're going to stay in your car.
- Each car is given a speaker, so you get to choose how loud or soft you want the volume to be. Perfect for when you're watching a horror movie and you know a jump scare is coming.
- Each car is given two portable fans. We really like that the organisers thought about the environmental impact of keeping cars running and came up with an alternative. But we know what you're thinking: were the puny fans enough to keep us comfortable? We'll get into that later.
- A LED screen is used instead of a projector. This makes the movie much clearer, so the experience is enhanced.
- The location. The screening is at MATIC along Jalan Ampang, a stone's throw away from KLCC. When you're watching the movie, you also get a view of the city, especially of the Twin Towers.
- Food and drinks. It's especially great if you love coffee since Nescafe is the main sponsor and they have a truck at the venue. The ticket price also includes food and drinks that are delivered to your cars, which is great. However, don't expect amazing or healthy food lah. The food is what you'd get at any cinemas, minus the popcorn. If you want more than what you get, you can always order more by scanning a QR code that's given to you once you've registered.
What we didn't like:
We're not sure if it was because it was the first show, but there were some glitches that you wouldn't want to experience considering the price of the tickets. Some of the things that we didn't quite like were:
- The heat. Malaysia is generally hot, so staying in your car for so long is not great. We went for the 6pm show, so it started off being quite warm but thankfully, it got better later on. But by then, we were already uncomfortable and a little cranky. To make things slightly worse, one of our fans stopped working towards the end of the movie, forcing us to turn on the car and air-cond.
- The screen is kinda small. It's a 4 X 9 metre screen, which sounds big but when it's outdoors and you're parked a bit away from it, it's not all that big. It's like watching a movie on your iPad instead of a television. It's still OK to watch, but not as enjoyable as watching it on a bigger screen.
- It's a little hard to concentrate with the screen being small, the heat and general discomfort of being in a small space for a long time, so perhaps it'll be better to watch a movie that's lighthearted or one you've watched before. Personally, we'd have loved to watch any of the 'Back to the Future' movies, but we got 'Legacy Of Lies' instead.
- The customer service wasn't great. If you encounter any issues, you're supposed to turn on your hazard lights a.k.a double signals but when we did that when the fan stopped working, no one turned up. Now, we're giving the organisers the benefit of the doubt -- maybe because they were overwhelmed somewhere else, or maybe because they didn't see us -- but we hope it won't be a permanent problem
- You can't get a refund if the screening is cancelled. According to the FAQ given to us, if it rains, the organisers can delay the screening by up to 60 minutes. If the rain still doesn't stop, you can reschedule but you will not get a refund.
If you're going to watch a movie at the drive-in cinema, here are some tips to make your experience comfortable.
- Wear comfortable clothes. Something light and airy would be perfect.
- Bring extra portable fans.
- Bring water. Although no outside food and drinks are allowed, a bottled water you bring from home should be okay, we'd think. Plus, if you bring it in reusable bottles, it's better for the environment as well.
- Bring a bag for your trash because we didn't see any bins around the area. You're also discouraged from leaving your cars unless you need to use the toilets or there's an emergency.
- Go for the 9 pm show. The screen is clearer once it's fully dark and it's cooler as well. Just be prepared for mosquitoes.
- Leave your car windows down. It allows breeze in and keeps you more comfortable.
- Arrive on time. You have to be there at least 30 minutes earlier for temperature checks, to be led to your spot etc.
Despite some discomfort and dissatisfaction, it was still an interesting experience.
Now that we think about it, most Hollywood movies that had drive-in movie scenes involved some romantic scenes with making out involved. Maybe watching movie was just an excuse.
Overall, it's worth going for the experience of being in a drive-in cinema, but make sure you're dressed for the weather and go with low expectations.
You can find the list of movie and showtime for booking here
. Movies that will be showing soon are 'The Greatest Showman', 'Jangan Pandang Belakang', 'Braven', 'Legacy of Lies' and others.
The drive-in cinema will only be at MaTIC for three months so hurry and book your tickets if you are interested.