26 November 2013
Catching Fire at the BFI IMAX
As the clock struck 11, I scurried off from my one night in NoHo and caught the tube down to Waterloo to complete number 13 of my 25 before 25: go to a midnight showing. As part of the string of housemate birthdays (three of them turned 25 in less than a week) we bought tickets to the midnight premier of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire at the BFI IMAX.
The BFI's one of the most recognisable sites in London and it's been part of my London for as long as I can remember: coming up to London with my parents, commuting for work experience at fifteen, driving past on the way home for a weekend, clattering back up ever since...that bright wheel of light pulses like the city's heart. I've always wanted to go - most notably to one of their Lord of the Rings marathons (unashamed admission) - and finally got the chance, seeing one of the most hotly-anticipated films of the year.
The screen's the biggest in the UK and you feel fully immersed within it. When the film finally started (they were using IMAX film and were having a little trouble) you were thrust right into the world of Katniss, Peeta and Gale with the arena leaping out at you in a previously unimaginable way. Being a big reader, I've read the books a few times and see them as a good romp - somewhere between Twilight and Harry Potter on the literary scale - but not the most challenging or write-home-about of stories (obviously). The darker undertones are more present in this second part of the series and the increased budget is evident, but it just shows how the story has captured imaginations (even if there are some comparisons between Battle Royale).
I'm just glad I've crossed another thing off the list and got to do it at the BFI IMAX. Tickets are a little bit more expensive than your average cinema ticket (which are extortionate these days) but there's something special about going to a midnight showing and doing it in style. Particularly when you buy a glass of red and a pack of Munchies, just to keep it real.
We got out around 3am and began the forlorn hunt for a taxi - but you can't be despondent for long when this is your view...
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