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(Pocket-lint) – Secret Cinema is not at its first attempt. From humble beginnings, the list of franchises the titan of immersive events has worked with continues to grow.
After already conquering the Star Wars universe and forging ties with Netflix through Stranger Things, his latest show in London brings Marvel into the dance. We traveled to Guardians of the Galaxy: The Live Immersive Experience (its full and wordy title) to give us an idea of the evolution of this partnership.
A whole new world
For those unfamiliar with the concept, Secret Cinema offers you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a recreation of part of a fictional world. In the past, it was all about walking around Mos Eisley from Star Wars or Los Angeles from Blade Runner, seeing the sights and interacting with costumed actors.
In this case, a few locations familiar to Guardians of the Galaxy fans are open to explore, all located in an industrial space near Wembley.
It’s all indoors, but that hasn’t stopped the Secret Cinema team from creating some impressive otherworldly vistas, from the space snow of Contraxia to the glowing underground city of Nowhere.
There’s fun signage everywhere and plenty of entertaining nooks and crannies to explore if you’re dedicated enough to sniff out all the possible leads.
That said, the universe can’t be said to live up to Secret Cinema’s work on Star Wars or Blade Runner, for example – and that may well be because, for all its popularity, the cinematic world that Guardians occupy is a little less lively in comparison.
Still, even with that caveat, you’ll find it a very interesting place to spend a few hours, thanks to a still-enthusiastic cast of actors.
Secret Cinema has clearly understood that the best way to engage an entire audience in the story of their world is to give them a central cause to rally around.
This time around, it’s about the idea that the pirate clans of the Ravagers, of which the participants are all a part, must unite against the infamous Collector. This “us versus the system” scheme isn’t terribly new at this point, but it works, so why fix it?
As always, the agenda for the evening is to chat with anyone wearing a costume good enough that it’s likely an actor, to find out what’s going on and what action you can take part in.
Within hours, our group helped rescue and smuggle a kidnapping victim, negotiated a deal for valuable contraband, uncovered a secret message from Rocket himself, and still found time to enjoy some quiet away from the pressure of the main story.
The best Secret Cinema experiences leave you wondering what was in that curtained room you didn’t enter, or that flight of stairs you failed to climb, and Guardians of the Galaxy has that “I’d love to do this again to see what would be different” feeling. That’s what we come to the movies for, people.
That said, the story itself isn’t exactly Pulitzer-quality, and things got a little muddled when it came to getting in on the main story moments. While these are nicely choreographed, they get a little chaotic when everyone is in a rush to watch, which is hard to avoid.
Things end on a high note with a big scene where the Guardians are doing Guardian things, although we were a bit disappointed to see Rocket and Groot sidelined – finding a way to embody their characters using practical effects. would have been something.
The staging nevertheless remains thrilling on several occasions, with details like Yondu’s whistled Yaka Arrow shining in their verisimilitude.
To watch or not to watch
After experimenting with shorter Stranger Things experiences that avoid the “sit down to watch a movie” part of its formula, Secret Cinema made it an optional extra for Guardians of the Galaxy.
Paying full price will get you into a screening room to see the second film with some really solid immersive lighting effects, or you can choose to join in the immersive experience and then leave.
We think that would be a mistake, all things considered: being able to sit back and see the world you’ve explored in all its detail is a great way to reinforce what you’ve done during your stay, and also a good way to loosen.
Once again, however, we’re a bit disappointed by the lack of immersive extras, beyond some cool lighting. It seems the days of actors acting out key moments or fights are over, and while some may have found those moments goofy, we loved them.
This means the movie feels more separate from the experience, which may be part of the goal, but it’s a toning down of the quirky, fun aspect that the old ones offered. series.
Still, even as it grows, there’s still a unique chemistry at play when properly committing to an evening with Secret Cinema. It’s like playing Dungeons & Dragons with a setting, cast, and an entire crew to aid your exploits, and it’s as fun as it sounds.
Written by Max Freeman-Mills.
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Guardians of the Galaxy, filmed by Secret Cinema, reviewed