Two Different Journeys at the Cinema

SATC2 and Journey To Mecca

Take a trip to two different versions of Mecca: four saucy gals (Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte) and a desert adventure,  or a religious pilgrimage unlike any other seen on screen. Sex, or historical substance. The choice is yours.

Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte (Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Catrall, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis) return for another cinema outing after the major success of the television series, which ran for five years, and the huge hit of the first movie. Sex and the City 2 opened two weeks ago and has been on top of the box office charts ever since.

This time the movie finds the girls more mature, however, every one of them is going through a personal crisis. Is Carrie really happy being married to Mr. Big (Chris Noth), or is she still a party girl at heart? Has Samantha lost her libido? Is Miranda starting to hate her job and wanting out? And good grief, can Charlotte not hack being the mother of two young daughters?

This sequel explores these issues, and includes a fab trip to Abu Dabi (actually Marrakech), as Samantha has been asked to do PR for a seven-star hotel there. And once there, they act and think as if they were still in NYC: running into an old flame (Carrie), learning the local lingo (Miranda), being insecure about her marriage (Charlotte), and checking out every guy who passes and keeping a stash of condom in her purse (Samantha - who gets her libido back).

Amidst all the beautiful dresses, stunning locations, ever-changing hairstyles and good-looking men, these four women are pretty much the same as they were when this series started - just older. You have to be a real fan of this show to want to watch the film, which also includes a horrible opening scene of a gay wedding between Carrie and Charlotte’s best gay friends (who once hated each other), a scene which is campier then camp and just plain awful. But if you are a huge fan, then between the tears and the laughter and the drama, it will be like spending two hours with old friends.

The other option is to take a journey, a journey unlike any you have ever taken before in the cinema. This one is an IMAX movie called Journey to Mecca.

The drama/documentary, narrated by Ben Kingsley, tells the story of Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan scholar who in 1325 traveled alone from Tangier to Mecca, Sauda Arabia, to take part in the Hajj, an annual pilgrimage and a duty which must be carried out by Muslims at least once in their lives.

Battuta, played by Moroccan Chems Eddie Zitoun in his first leading role, encounters all sorts of characters, some good, and some bad, on his perilous journey to Mecca. Along the way, we are treated to some amazing cinematography of the deserts and seas which Battuta encounters. When the film switches from drama to documentary we are shown actual, stunning footage of the Hajj. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims taking part, amassing into one big swirl as they walk around the Ka’bah, the cube shaped building which is in the middle of the mosque, and which is just one of the several rituals required to be performed by the pilgrims while at Mecca.

Last year alone, two million Muslims made the pilgrimage to Mecca, so you can imagine watching it on an IMAX screen. The scenes are breathtaking and will leave you speechless and will stay with you for a long time.

Tragically, lead actor Zitoun died in a car crash just after filming ended. Journey to Mecca is one journey that you will want to make.

Journey to Mecca opens Friday the 18th of June at the BFI IMAX in London.