Exciting News! I have partnered up with Backyard Cinema to review their immersive cinema experiences, which continue to change throughout the year (and they are soooooo good!)
If you haven’t heard of Backyard Cinema let me now introduce you! What started out as a personal project in the Founder Doms back yard, has now become a permanent London Fixture in Mecato Metropolitano; a 5 minute walk from Elephant and Castle station.
This is no ordinary cinema. It is a theatrical and immersive cinematic experience aimed to take customers on a journey as soon as they arrive at the door. They put on a range of ‘themes’ throughout the year, showing a variety of everyone’s favourite classics, specifically chosen to fit in with whatever is theme running at the time.
For the next few months they have transformed their usual spot into all things space travel! ‘Mission to Mars’ is now open for Spring and it is their most ambitious and spectacular theme yet. In true Backyard Cinema style, they have put on a range of classic Sci Fi movies including Interstellar, Men in Black, Star Wars, Blade Runner, Wall-E, Independence Day, The Martian, and many many more!
I attended the launch party for their new theme Mission to Mars for a preview screening of Independence Day (which I’ve never seen so was even more excited). As soon as I arrived, I was met with a huge ‘airport style’ entrance or should I say Spaceport? Surrounding it was a variety of food and drink stalls, complimented by outdoor heaters, fairy lights and blankets which acts as a cute cosy spot to grab food before the show.
Back to the Space Port…
This experience is fully immersive from start to finish and makes you feel like you are genuinely on your way to the stars. The story, as described in the title, is ‘preparing for an intergalactic trip to Mars’. As with all trips, you must first check in. This is where you collect your tickets, where you are greeted by a check in guy who informs you about the next stages of your flight. You then proceed to intergalactic security, where you pass through a scanner to ensure you aren’t taking anything illegal on board, or even worse, alien smuggling etc. Once passed, it is time to board the shuttle bus to your spacecraft. The shuttle bus is probably my favourite gimmick. There’s handrails to hold on to as you “zoom off to Sector 14” and a range of special effects give the impression you are moving at great speeds as a short clip is played explaining the flight ahead. Once you arrive at your boarding gate, the doors open and you make your way on board the spacecraft.
The attention to detail on board is truly fantastic. From the introductory journey into the cinema, to the space bar situated at the back of the craft, nothing has been forgotten. Not only is the decoration amazing, which includes an interactive cockpit allowing you to have a play around on the controls before the movie, but even the refreshments being sold at the Space bar are packaged like astronaut food, and have appropriate intergalactic names. I opted for a “Cosmos-politan” and some Space Snacks.
As if the theme wasn’t enough to separate this cinema from the rest – giant beanbags line the floor for the comfiest cinema experience ever!
Onto the show! As you will all know, at a normal cinema there’s usually about 20-30 minutes of adverts to sit through before your chosen movie begins. Here, there are no adverts or film trailers, but instead, a 10 minute theatrical experience as your journey continues. Once seated on your beanbags, your pilot for the flight enters the craft, taking position at the cockpit and begins the launch. With more incredible special effects, and a great act from the pilot, we launched into hyperspace and headed to our final destination…Mars. On our way, the screen gives you a lovely tour of Earth before approaching the Red Planet. There is a short announcement to let us know that we are making our final descent into Mar’s atmosphere before our inflight entertainment starts, which you guessed…is your film.
As for the movie, Independence Day is great! Will Smith made me laugh throughout and I’m glad I’ve finally had the chance to watch the film!
Overall, this was a brilliant experience. I cannot wait to see what else Backyard Cinema has in store, as they continue to grow, getting bigger and better each time, truly changing the face of cinema.
Previous themes have included ‘Miami Beach’, which was put on last summer, and most recently ‘The Snow Kingdom’, that was here for the winter season, and that I also had the pleasure of attending.
The Snow Kingdom consisted of a magical ice cave which you had to walk through in order to enter the Snow Castle. We were provided with a lantern to help guide us on our way, again making the experience as immersive as possible.
So what are you waiting for? Get yourself over to Backyard Cinema now for a truly unique cinematic experience.
To view current films and make a booking, check out their website here: Backyard Cinema
* I received complimentary tickets to review this experience