MAXed out

11 06 2012

I went, I saw and I’m here to report back on my IMAX outing.

I’ll start off with an aside but something that may prove of interest to those of you who may wish to follow my tracks to a Cineworld IMAX screen near you. After a little research it became apparent it’s possible to use Orange Wednesday 241 codes for IMAX showings. I must admit I doubted this slightly, but thankfully it worked! We still had to pay two lots of the supplementary fee (in our case £4.50) but only one original ticket price. So this took the admission down from an eye-watering £13.10 to an almost acceptable £8.80.

So, once we’d paid our reduced rate we took our place near the front of the queue to enter the 580 seater venue. We’d deliberately arrived over an hour early as this was the first Wednesday “Prometheus” was out and it was only showing once each day in IMAX. The first surprise came when the 3D glasses were handed out, peculiarly this was done in the queue. On receiving the specs, they felt much more solid and were significantly chunkier than the usual ones, that tend to put me in mind of the free sunglasses McDonald’s gave out in the 1980s. Still impressed by this, we were then ushered into the auditorium and I was immediately struck by the size of the screen. Words can’t describe how huge it is, standing at the bottom then looking up to the top you almost fall over backwards it’s so massive. Now, positively buzzing with excitement, I bounded up to the front row in the top level and held the very centre seats against all comers, so we’d have the best view in the house (only fair if we’re reviewing the thing, right?). After a short wait, the lights went down and show began… well the trailers at any rate but the feature followed soon enough.

There I am and there's most of the screen... (photo courtesy of Sanch)

During the trailers we were initially in 2D and the picture was very impressive, the extreme resolution on the concave screen draws you in beautifully, combine this with the unobstructed view from the stadium style seating and you feel a bit like you’re in your front room but you’ve managed to afford that 70” LED screen and are now sat about 3 feet away from it. The surprising disappointment for me was the sound, it’s just so relentlessly loud, especially in the trailers (where I assume it’s deliberately amped up anyway) the audio was so over the top at points it seemed as if the speakers were giving up and the dialogue became quite tinny. I’d go as far as to say it actually hurt at times, which can’t be a plus in anyone’s book.

We then moved to the 3D trailers and these were horrid, particularly the Spiderman reboot effort. While the players were still, everything was alright, but any kind of fast movement (i.e. Spidey swinging action) it all dissolved into a blur. This was most off-putting but I sat in hope that it may abate when we moved to the feature presentation and I wasn’t disappointed, the image was very clean and the 3D was of a good quality.

Now to my big gripe with the picture, my general opinion is that the extra dimension adds nothing to a film and the best you can possibly say about a 3D movie is that you forget you’re watching it in 3D. My issue is you can never say this about “An IMAX 3D Experience” as whenever you tilt your head slightly, reclining back into your seat or sideways against a loved one, you loose the effect and get a partially blurred image. The reason comes back to the different glasses you’re given on your way into the screening, they’re different for a reason… IMAX 3D works differently to the 3D you’d see in a regular screen, known as RealD 3D. The polarisation that allows the glasses to filter the overlayed images for each eye is linear instead of circular, this basically means that, if your head is not level the polarisation fails and you see the unfiltered image. The tolerance on this is very low and completely unlike RealD 3D, which allows the viewers head to move freely while maintaining the 3D effect. This destroys any sense of immersion because, as you relax into the film you move slightly off level and see the image smudge, pulling you back out of story never mind the effect.

In conclusion, I think I’d have to say IMAX is an OK but ultimately disappointing experience that I wouldn’t recommend or go out of my way to repeat. If you can go to see a 2D feature and get cheaper tickets, then it may be worth a look for a decent action based film. Otherwise I’d save some money, and your hearing, by visiting a modern digital projection screen for your regular movie viewing.

P.S. As for Prometheus, it was alright but made little sense. It was well filmed with good characters and was enough fun to justify watching, but it had nothing to hold the attention of a real Sci-Fi fan, with most of the plot falling over at the mere hint of a closer inspection. Catch it on a mate’s BluRay in six months… 7 out of 12.

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Monday, June 11th, 2012 Ado

2 Comments to MAXed out

  1. I haven’t been to an IMax and based on you review I think I’ll keep it that way.
    As for Prometheus, I’ve heard many people say the same thing. While watching the film it is all well and good and has enough references to Alien lore to keep you wondering what tasty morsal they’re going to throw you next. So much so that something will happen in the story that doesn’t quite make sense. Due to the cinema atmosphere and relatively frequent action scenes, you shrug the doubts aside and carry on watching. For me, it wasn’t until a few hours after the film that I started to dissect the story starting with those parts that didn’t add up. It didn’t exactly take a scalpel to find what appear to me to be inconsistencies. I’ll not go into them as this is an IMax thread.

    I’m glad to have seen the film but I can’t help feeling like I’ve been on an episode of Hustle. All smiles and fun while you’re there, but once you get home you can’t help feeling you’ve been conned.

  2. Poki on June 11th, 2012
  3. @Poki – Yeah, as I said above, I wouldn’t recommend the experience to anyone. It’s certainly not something I’m gong to try again in a hurry. If the price was the same as a normal screening then I’d consider it but with the £4.50 premium my decision is made instantly (which is unusal for me :-) ).

    I may try it once more, in the interests of fairness, when The Dark Knight Rising comes out, as that is completely proudly a 2D only film but I do sincerely hope this is not the future of cinema, as some would have us believe.

    As for Prometheus, I think I’d agree on all your points and please don’t hesitate to discuss here just cause it started as an IMAX article. Everything is welcome all of the time :)

    !!!SPOILERS!!!
    Each time Gina and I talk about Prometheus we find another bit that doesn’t make sense. Last night we talked about the wall paintings they followed to find the star system in which the planet they go to is located. Why did they even exist if, as we’re told later, that planet isn’t even where they’re from, it’s just some military installation where they’ve developed some bioweapon thingy that will later become the Alien species?

  4. Ado on June 11th, 2012

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