‘Oh look, they’ve rolled out the red carpet T’ I commented as we crossed Piccadilly on a rainy Saturday night to get to BAFTA. I’d spied some velvet ropes and given this was after all the UK premiere of the ‘World’s first cinematic interactive movie’ – Late Shift, it seemed logical.
‘Ah, I see they’ve got a super car at the entrance’ was T’s response.
So far, so unexpected. But then in a world where one can choose a date to suit one’s location, deciding where you want your movie to go is simply another option on an ever extending smörgåsbord of perambulations and possibilities in life.
Past the super BMW, through the red-carpetless maze we went, entering the auditorium to a screen which gave us the app downloading instructions. As options flashed up during the movie – enabling us to decide which turn it would take – we would vote on our phones. It was simple: ‘Getting in control is easy’ read the text above our heads.
An audience allegedly predominantly made up of crew with an average age of 28 chose the more challenging route. If the option said ‘strangle him’ or ‘leave’ the former was the majority vote. Conflict always chosen, apart from in the love scene where ‘kiss’ was chosen as opposed to ‘withdraw’. More interestingly when the chips were down and the protagonist had to choose whether to ‘save her’ or ‘protect yourself’ the majority chose the latter.
So, some things never change it transpires. A bit of agro makes a good story, some love interest is required, however perhaps more indicative of a video game – our hero died at the end in a violent bloody scene. ‘You’re the most brutal audience we’ve had yet!’ Kurban Kassam, one of the producers told us as the credits rolled.
It certainly brings a new element to cinema going. A case of if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em which compulsory phone checking throughout enables. I found the most heartening part to be the audience participation: Chuckles arose when certain options were chosen, knowing laughs, the occasional gasp of annoyance when your choice didn’t win the majority.
On the face of it, a potential alienating cinema experience, but in reality an opportunity for human bonding – a unique real time experience through an old skool medium.
‘I wanted the blonde girl to go off with Joe to the party in the Maserati’ I said to T as we left.
‘Well, unfortunately you were in the minority’ said T as he raised the umbrella.
Our decisions are indeed us. Let’s just hope Apple are keeping that back door safe.