The IMAX Virgin

Today I watched my first movie on a giant, curved IMAX screen. I’ll give you 3 choices as to the movie I saw:

a. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

b. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

c. Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol

The answer, clearly, is that the first two were sold out, so I was dragged into Mission: Impossible. Fine, I’ll go see a movie by the director of one of my favorite movies (Brad Bird of The Incredibles) with a great cast, futuristic technology, and an extended scene filmed on the exterior of the tallest building in the world. But only if I absolutely have to.

This Mission: Impossible was released on IMAX screens a few days before it will be released on regular screens. There’s nothing I love more than seeing a movie “early,” so that was a big selling point for me. But I thought it would also be a good excuse to see an IMAX movie for the first time even though the closest true IMAX theater is 30 minutes away from me.

My observations:

  • IMAX is really proud of itself. There were 3–count them, 3–promotions before the movie that talked about how great IMAX is. It’s as if IMAX is an excited little kid that can’t stop talking about how high he can jump in his new sneakers. I somewhat expected the movie to be interrupted by more IMAX promotions, perhaps voiceovers during key scenes where IMAX footage was featured.
  • It’s not that big. Okay, it’s big. At least, it seemed bigger than normal theater screens vertically. But the way it was hyped, I thought the screen was going to rock my world. I thought that walking into theater would be akin to walking into a theater for the first time when I was a little kid (I’m pretty sure my first theater movie was The Jungle Book, but it might have been Showgirls. Apples and oranges.
  • Big action scenes are pretty awesome on IMAX. I have to give both Brad Bird and IMAX credit for this–the big action sequences truly are larger than life on IMAX. I can’t think of a better way to watch that Dubai tallest building scene, not to mention the half dozen other action sequences in the movie.

Bottom line, is it worth the $16? For 99% of movie, no. But based on the trailer I saw today for The Dark Knight Rises, for some movies it’s definitely worth it.

What movies have you seen on IMAX, and what do you think?


10 Responses to “The IMAX Virgin”

  1. Mena says:

    Africa: The Serengeti, in 1994 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109049/). It was awesome. I watched another one since, but I can’t remember the title. I bet IMAX technology has improved since that first movie.

    Were these advanced tickets for Mission Impossible just generally available or was it a special screening?

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      I could see Serengeti-type movies being pretty awesome on IMAX.

      Also, just to clarify, there’s a different format called Omnimax that’s kind of like you’re inside a giant globe, and the screen is projected on the interior of the globe. That’s different than IMAX. IMAX is basically just a giant movie screen with a very slight curve to it.

      Mission: Impossible was released on about 450 screens this weekend, all IMAX. You had to know the right people to get tickets, and by “the right people,” I mean the guy at the ticket counter at Ronnie’s Cineplex.

      • Jasmin says:

        Omnimax at the Science Center is awesome with those short films about stars. I didn’t know Ronnie’s got IMAX. Good to know if I ever want to see an IMAX worthy movie.

        • Katie says:

          Oooh, I remember seeing some kind of documentary about the ocean on the Omnimax at the Science Center. It was incredible. I was young, but had to remind myself a few times to breathe because it almost felt like I was in the ocean.

          I also saw some kind of movie in junior high about air force pilots that included a lot of in-cockpit footage of twists and turns. It was amazing, but definitely left my stomach churning! 🙂

  2. Red says:

    In your opinion, which is the better investment for fast moving action movies? Imax or 3D?

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Oo, good question. 3D is a little cheaper than IMAX. I’m pretty sure there’s even such thing as IMAX 3D, which must be even more expensive.

      I would say that IMAX is worth it if it’s a huge action film that’s filmed specifically for the IMAX format. And I’d say 3D is only worth it if it’s a movie that has received rave reviews for its use of 3D.

  3. Lorena says:

    I saw Equilibrium in IMAX. Definitely a good film for IMAX. I kind of want to see it again now… that was back in early 2000s. I remember liking it, but it did really poorly in the box office. Hm. Come to think of it, maybe it wasn’t released in IMAX and I just saw it at the theater that has an IMAX screen? Who knows. But it was an action film that would be awesome in IMAX hehe

  4. Colleen says:

    I’ve seen Harry Potter both in IMAX and 3D. I think the last one may have actually been a combination of IMAX and 3D together. The 3D aspect seemed to make more of an impression on me than the IMAX, though – I guess because there were several flying scenes, fight scenes, etc. that made me feel like I was right there in the middle of it. Avatar was the first movie I saw in 3D, and I’ve also seen Sherlock Holmes and Green Lantern.

    But back to IMAX. 🙂 I haven’t really seen many movies in that format.

  5. John Aughey says:

    I can save you a lot of money and still get the IMAX experience. Sit closer to the screen.

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