We took the Boys to the Imax on Southbank yesterday, to see the wonderful movie, 'The Polar Express'.
This is not a review of the film, however; it's been out for long enough (five years) that there's a pretty good chance you'll already have seen it, and if you haven't, I suggest you rush down to Sainsbury's where the dvd is usually on special offer at Christmas for around £5. Then settle down for an afternoon of escapism with your children - I defy you not to be swept up in the story...
No, this is actually a review of a trip to the BFI Imax with two small boys.
First up; location. It's quite centrally sited, and so near to Waterloo Station - approximately five minutes walk - that you really don't need to take a car. I imagine that parking would be tricky in any case, not to mention expensive.
Next; Booking Hall. This is right at the basement level of the complex, and since we visited first thing in the morning on a weekday (our film showing was at 10.30am), not busy at all. I can imagine though that at some of the later performances it would have been heaving, and am not sure how easy it would be to negotiate crowds there if you had a buggy, as we did. Having said that, the staff were very helpful, taking it from us as we entered the theatre and giving it back to us as we left by a different exit.
The whole point about IMAX is of course the 3-d effect. To achieve this you need to wear an enormous pair of comedy spectacles. Boy #1 at five-years-old was fine with this, it simply added to the excitement for him, and he and I spent the duration of the movie squinting at each other and trying to catch the snowflakes that looked as if they were floating down right in front of our noses and ducking the Polar Express as it raced out of the the screen towards us.
Boy #2, however, would not allow the glasses anywhere near his face, preferring instead to watch the action in double vision. Luckily he knew the story so I don't think it was too much of a hardship for him, though if it had been a movie he hadn't seen it would have been a shame. In future then, no 3-d for him until he's at least four, I think.
Once the movie was over the exit went smoothly, though if you take a buggy it will slow you down a bit. You leave at the top of the theatre (after entering at the bottom), which means that you will need to take the lift down, and since there are only two of these, there can be a bit of a queue. (Boy #1 and I abandoned Boy #2 and his dad at the top to walk the quite steep stairs instead; it's a long way, but perfectly negotiable for a five-year-old. Again though, if it was busy, it might have been a little more of a challenge for him).
Overall though, it was great fun, and we will definitely do it again, though at £45+ for the four of us, it was not a cheap way to see a film and will probably be saved for special occasions. Boy #1 of course is unphased by that, and is already suggesting that the dinosaur movie he saw advertised might make great rainy-day entertainment...
You can find details of the BFI Imax showings, locations, and pricing at: https://www.bfi.org.uk/whatson/bfi_imax
This post was written by Potty Mummy, who blogs at The Potty Diaries, where she chronicles the trials of potty training her boys and tries to keep from becoming potty.