With its origins dating back as far as the 1920s, 2020 has seen the revival of Drive Ins. And, as the film industry is effectively being shut down by Covid-19, with many cinemas shutting down as a result of struggling to enforce social distancing, many brands have capitalised on the sterility and security offered by the Drive In; they’re like your own personal film screening and let me tell you, the seclusion is bliss.
As lockdown restrictions eased, and we were allowed to see people outside of those we live with, my boyfriend booked us tickets to see Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts in Richard Curtis’ 90s classic Notting Hill, at the Luna Drive In, in Gunnersbury Park (West London). Avid day-outers may already know the Luna Cinema for their screenings of well loved films, in locations such as the Natural History Museum and Hampton Court. However, now they’ve branched out to Drive Ins and are doing an excellent job of it.
As we arrived, we were greeted by the staff who presented us with what can only be described as an ‘absolute unit’ of a wireless speaker. Unlike traditional speakers that are either attached to your car – or where you have to tune into a sort of radio station that plays the film’s audio, this speaker is wireless and does not drain your battery. The Luna Drive In offers you state of the art sound that rivals the quality of actual cinemas, with volume controls, and a touchscreen you can use to order food throughout the film (brought to you on an electric scooter). The speakers are disinfected for reuse between each screening, affirming their promise of a covid-secure event. The screen itself is picture perfect, and the rows of cars won’t infringe on your view. Unfortunately, iPhone cameras don’t lend themselves well to the size of the screen, but trust me you won’t miss out on a second.
Extra benefits of the Drive In are that you can bring as many people as you can fit in your car. With Luna charging £35 a vehicle, they’re even better value than actually going to the cinema, even with student discount. On top of this, you’re free to relax; you can stretch out without the scorn of other cinema-goers. Perhaps, the best bit is you can bring your own snacks, instead of paying the price of your first born child for a medium popcorn! For those that don’t have a car, there’s also the option to book a space in the park for you and your mates to sit in, so it’s open for anyone. Moreover, with such a range of films available, the experience is highly recommendable, even just for the novelty of going to a Drive In.
Their open air cinema experiences and drive ins will run as usual when lockdown is eased, but on the premise of socially spacious cinema for the time being.