Earlier this night, I was able to catch a screening of the Little Mermaid: Second Screen Live thanks to Stitch Kingdom.
So, what is this Second Screen Live?
For a limited time in select theaters across the nation, moviegoers are invited to bring their iPads to enhance their viewing experience of the Little Mermaid. That’s right – that warning that plays before the film and tells us to turn off all electronic devices? Ignore it. Disney is embracing the new age of interactivity and hopes to see their guests join Ariel in her adventure.
This new experience debuts tomorrow, September 20th, 2013, but it has already received some concerns from some pessimists; do people really want to see an audience filled with glowing screens? Is this going to be the future of theaters everywhere?
After experiencing it for myself, here is my detailed recap and thoughts.
SPOILER ALERT: Ursula dies in the end.
Upon first hearing about Second Screen Live, some of the early criticisms I’ve read included the idea of not being able to enjoy the film with iPad screens illuminating the audience. I can say that it is not a problem that you can’t watch the film “in peace” as concentrating on the film will not be your main focus. Yes, you read that right. I will also say the experience is not wholly on the iPad. Disney has done a wonderful job of using the iPad app to compliment the film and allow us to enjoy it in a whole new way.
This new experience is being utilized on a film that came out a quarter of a century ago and is obviously geared towards families and Disney fanatics everywhere. I would hope that even the casual movie goer would have seen the Little Mermaid at least 2 times in their lifetime by now, so having a ruined movie experience shouldn’t be seen as an issue. You will be so entranced with your own iPad (and your friends’ as well) that you won’t even notice there are other iPads in the theater.
Throughout the film, we are presented with various challenges, trivia, and even crab-eoke. Within the first few seconds of it starting with the famous Disney Studios opening title, we see a cool “second screen” theme where our iPads feature King Triton’s castle/kingdom of Atlantica while also putting on a fireworks show at the same time.
Moving on, we are told in my advance screening that the iPads keep records of everyone’s individual score in the audience, and whoever has the highest score at the conclusion of the film will win a cool prize, an exclusive Little Mermaid poster. (You already know what is processing in my head.)
Every few minutes we are given a mini game to play. From mazes to trivia to balancing the ship so that Grimsby doesn’t get too seasick, Disney thought of everything to theme our games to the current scene in the film. It becomes a little too fun for those competitive types (which I honestly know nothing about… :P) who like to compare their scores with friends once a game has ended. It can sometimes get so intense that you’ll hear talking/screaming from families in the audience as they try to work together (or against each other), and this actually enhances the enjoyability of the experience rather than ruin it. We’re all coming together under one roof to celebrate a film we love, and we’re sharing it together as a community. It’s even cute when one of the songs comes on, and we’re invited to sing along. People actually do sing, and so should you when you go out to see this!
I don’t want to give away too many spoilers concerning the games you play, but you can scroll through this slider to take a peek at various stills from my game.
When you’re not playing a game or singing along, you are still entertained by the iPad’s enhancement that truly does attempt to make it an extended second screen of the film. Below is a still from the final battle with Ursula and Prince Eric (or rather, a ship).
If you’re looking for a fun family experience, I highly recommend this as you won’t be disappointed. If you’re a person well into their adulthood, I could still honestly recommend it, too! For a real treat, bring your most competitive friends and let the hilarity ensue. I was certainly entertained seeing how competitive Stitch Kingdom could get, but I’ll leave you guys with this image of the final score. 🙂
So do you plan on seeing Little Mermaid: Second Screen Live? Check to see if your local theater is participating! I know there’s a certain YouTube video out there that could probably help you prep before you go… 😉
What other Disney films do you hope to see take on this Second Screen Live experience?