One of our favourite hangouts is the Barbican Centre in EC2.
We were there last week, scoping out the Food Hall, cooling out by the fountains on Lakeside Terrace and then ducking in from the evening heat to check out one of their current exhibitions.
Watch Me Move is a showcase of animation dating from early shadow theatre at the turn of the century to the modern day magic of Disney Pixar. The exhibition is split into 6 zones, starting with the occasionally creepy Apparitions, where you have to feel your way through black curtains as a backdrop for the images jumping into life.
If you turn up with kids, you’ll get a warning sheet that some of the material’s not for younger ones – so I made sure the babes stuck close and quickly skipped past anything that seemed unsuitable.
Ezra was tickled by Disney’s Skeleton Dance (1929) and Luxo Jr, in which those famous Pixar lamps made their debut, but got a little bored by some of the artsier animation I wanted to linger on.
Luckily there’s plenty to entertain the minis throughout the exhibition, including a brilliant Daffy Duck vs. Bugs Bunny cartoon, and clips from Pinocchio and Snow White.
The boys’ favourite sections were Characters – storyboard galleries filled with heroes and icons like Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Betty Boop and the Toy Story gang – and Superhumans, which zooms in on the rising appeal of Marvel, DC and Japanese manga.
In this room, there are two massive screens on either side showing clips from films including Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Hulk, The Incredibles and Sailor Moon.
We sat on soft cube seats with headsets on, relishing scenes we knew by heart, and discovering films that are now on our must-see list. Jed was content to watch Mickey Mouse over and over again in Steamboat Willie (his first appearance in 1928) while Ezra and I were captivated by vivid action sequences from Princess Mononoke.
Watch Me Move costs a tenner (online, £12 at the door) and is totally free for under 12s, and it’s a richer, more varied experience than you’ll have at any cinema this summer.
Don’t miss it.
Watch me Move: The Animation Show is at Barbican Art Gallery, Barbican Centre, Silk St EC2 until Sep 11