June 27, 2005
Michele and I went to see the new Batman movie (“Batman Begins”) yesterday afternoon. We noticed that our favorite multiplex now sports an IMAX theater, complete with a huge screen and over amped speakers. So we decided to see it there.
The matinée price was $9 each. Rather steep, but acceptable - after all we were going to see the movie in a special way. Right? Riiiight.
Arriving 15 minutes before show time we discovered that the theater was nearly full. Only single seats here and there between groups of people were available, and the only seats together were in the second row. Learn from my experience, do not, EVER, sit in the second row of an IMAX style movie. Particularly if you wear bifocals. The screen was so big and so close that I was unable to see all of the picture in focus at once.
Since the edges of the screen were beyond the range of my vision the action sequences were painfully disorienting to watch. I was unable to keep my focus on anything faster than a pan across the scene, so the fight scenes were lost in a multi-colored blur. Or would have been had the picture been bright enough to have color.
You see, viewing it from the extreme angle we had, the top third of the screen and outer quarter on each side of the screen, were dim, almost unlit. IMAX uses a curved screen, and is best viewed from some distance away. The local theater chain, in an effort to make money, gives up any shot at customer satisfaction, but putting seats so close that you can’t really view the movie.
Having seen many IMAX productions in the past from a proper seating perspective I know that it provides an unparalleled visual and auditory experience. However, the greed of the Hollywood movie industry was evident since the seating in this theater was designed for maximum sales and not viewer satisfaction.
We won’t be watching a Hollywood release in IMAX again any time soon.