The Masters of Immersive Cinema Triumphant Return – One Night in Secret Cinema : Blade Runner
It’s crazy to think it’s now been over 10 years since the groundbreaking Secret Cinema was launched. From their humble beginnings screening The Third Man in Kabul right up to the now legendary events including screening Back to the Future in a 1950s Hill Valley town (actually Stratford) – or showing The Empire Strikes Back aboard a very believable Star Destroyer. As with every Secret Cinema, each event seems to go far beyond the last – and keeping to that manifesto it’s fair to say with Secret Cinema : Blade Runner (Directors Cut) they’ve absolutely done that once more.
Stepping through the gates of Utopia and fighting your way through LAPD who vigorously demand your papers, your cast into a futuristic world which is absolutely believable as downtown LA in Ridley Scott’s vision of 2019. There’s wealth to see and do along these futuristic streets as wherever you look there’s seemingly a never-ending stream of futuristic entertainment on offer. It’s quite simply phenomenal.
What’s notable in particular to this Secret Cinema compared to previous outings is simply how much more immersed you feel. It’s particularly hard to try and identify who are the actors and who are guests. Something which keeps your mind firmly set in a very believable backdrop from the film. The narratives interwoven into the immersive theatre is particularly impressive. As replicant designers we’re given specific directions to meet with some very shady characters. But amidst this mission we have fun tailing off, exploring other areas and interacting with a vast array of characters recognisable from the beloved sci fi. The feeling of depth is remarkable and you quickly feel at home in a world you’ve only ever seen on the screen before.
At one point two girls come up to us at one point and ask if we’d like to buy ‘memories’- but within moments they’ve disappeared into the shadows. We’re left second guessing if that was part of the show or purely part of someone else’s character narrative! It’s really impressive and very much sets it apart from previous outings. We highly recommend leaving any English reservations at the door and to leap out there, interacting with as many people and locations as possible to fully enjoy the full SC experience.
It also has to be said the drinks and food options this time around are spectacular. It was no secret that SC’s screening of 28 days later was limited in the catering department. But in Utopia there’s a vast array of food and drink on offer. The cocktails are thoughtfully created (and delicious) and the vast variety of food on offer is impressive. That mix of street food smells hitting you as you walk the neon stained futuristic streets, will absolutely convince you that you’re in downtown LA 2019 (without the risk of getting mugged by a cyberpunk.)
But most important of all is the screening itself of this cult sci fi classic. Gladly, this feels epic in every sense of the word. The live action recreated moments are particularly impressive and with the sheer scale of the screens you very much feel you’re amidst the action. It’s true that this time round Secret Cinema have opted for a change in their pricing which affects the live recreated moments – offering a range of tier packages, meaning that higher tiered ticket holders will get to see more ‘acted’ moments from the film – but at the same time this has allowed a lower tier of ticket prices, making SC much more affordable for movie fans on a budget. A great idea and something which we think worked particularly well this time around.
As an opportunity to step into such a legendary film, Secret Cinema : Blade Runner is undoubtedly the team’s finest foray into immersive cinema yet. As a feat in itself, it’s simply breathtaking. Film fan or not make sure you grab a ticket before the show’s ending. It’s a once in a lifetime experience. Incredible.
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Photos – Camilla Greenwell