Yays to afya who not only spotted that the London IMAX release of The Lion King, scheduled to start on Boxing Day, was instead opening tonight but managed to get us both tickets.
Before the film started a member of staff made a welcoming speech including the scary warning that the large size of the screen might make some scenes disturbing. Her advice to combat this? 'Close your eyes for a few seconds and the scene will change'. I'd never have thought of that one.
So. Lions the size of four double-deckers on top of each other: good thing or no? I worried the animation would look clunky, but it's been extensively cleaned up and adapted and all looked perfect in large format. The opening sunrise was one of the most fantastic sights I've seen in the cinema.
Crowd scenes such as the Circle of Life and the wildebeeste stampede benefit most from the treatment, but everything looks impressive. You really appreciate the care the animators took to make the animals look real when they're running around at double life size. Best of all, the characters' faces look wonderfully detailed in closeup (apparently the lions' whiskers had to be redrawn to stop them looking too thick). The sound was good, too - I felt the seats shake when the elephants went past.
More fun in the foyer, where there were large plaster figures of Pumbaa and a hyena. I asked one of the ushers if she would be so kind as to take our photo posing next to them. "You must be real fans!" she said (which it would have been useless to deny) and obliged. Then I popped to the loo, and when I returned Afya was beaming and holding two yellow rucksacks with the Lion King IMAX logo. Our nice usher had donated them: they were goodie bags left over from the premiere, and apparently we deserved them because we were obviously such fans.
It's not being invited backstage by Shenzi, but - how kind!
Oh, and first to tell me the connection between my Current Music and the movie wins...er...wins. My money's on zorac.