I first visited the Arromanches 360 Cinema in the 1990s and was greatly impressed with it; a full 360 degrees screen combined with a unique film that was engaging and genuinely added a new perspective to the D-Day story; the highlights were the journey out to the Mulberry sections in a DUKW and a 360 degrees ride on a Sherman tank through the Normandy landscape. I was so impressed that it became a regular feature of our early Leger Holidays D-Day tours and in fact I ended up going so many times that I had not been for some years.
In June this year I visited the new version of the Arromanches 360 with a school group; I had told the boys how good it was and to make sure they held on to the railings in the cinema as one part of the film involved a helicopter flight and they would find themselves moving as the copter banked!
Imagine my surprise when the new version of the Cinema also included a new version of the film, with all the modern actuality filming completely gone; no copter ride, no tank journey and no DUKW out to the Mulberry. The use of CGI for the maps was good, but the only ‘film’ was wartime material which was all well known and far from being ‘unique’ in the way the previous film was. Having never seen the original the school group liked it, but personally I felt it was a disappointment and I was left wondering what it really added to anyone’s D-Day journey if they included it in a battlefield tour of the area; seeing the wartime film in a 360 cinema was impressive but there was nothing new and no unique angle; the time spent here could be better used in other locations, perhaps.
So it was a disappointing visit to the Arromanches 360 and sadly one I personally will not be repeating for some time.