Maximize theater experience with IMAX
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 21:03
There truly is nothing quite like viewing a motion picture in an IMAX cinema. The clarity of both video and audio in an IMAX theater is unparalleled by any other widespread commercial venue open to the public.
IMAX technology has been around since the 1970’s; however, even up to 15 years ago the format was still not very prevalent at all. Nearly all IMAX venues were housed in conjunction with numerous science centers across the country, mostly presenting educational films.
The next step IMAX took toward its current mainstream popularity was in offering special presentations of classic blockbuster films as a showcase to the formats viability. Films like “Apollo 13” and “Beauty and the Beast” were issued to IMAX theaters years after their original releases in an attempt to make a trip to an IMAX theater something of an “event” for people, differentiating it from a standard trip to the theater.
The first film to be simultaneously released to IMAX theaters as well as conventional ones was Disney’s beautiful, but remarkably underperforming 2002 release “Treasure Planet.” Despite the film’s poor box office reception, the release was a major step forward in format spreading.
In 2004, Robert Zemeckis’ “The Polar Express” was released. Despite a lackluster opening weekend, the film, amazingly, managed better and better totals as the weeks went on. A large portion of these returns came from IMAX venues. For the next few years, the film would be re-released in IMAX as an annual holiday film.
As the popularity of the format grew, filmmakers decided to use IMAX cameras to shoot portions of mainstream releases. The first major example of this was in Christopher Nolan’s 2008 magnum opus “The Dark Knight,” a technique copied in 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises.” Other examples of major motion pictures partially shot in IMAX include Brad Bird’s 2011 release “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” and in J.J. Abram’s upcoming “Star Trek: Into Darkness.”
What exactly makes the trip to an IMAX theater so spectacular? Traditional IMAX venues feature a screen twice as large as those featured in standard theaters. The screen is curved slightly so that when a film is playing, the audience truly has a sense of immersion with the picture. The marvelous resolution of an IMAX screen absolutely dwarfs that of a standard HDTV, while the surround High Definition audio sound system is far more advanced than when viewing a film at a regular theater. (For example. when viewing” Skyfall,” the sound system allows for precision effects such as that of a helicopter that will sound as if it’s just flew above the audience’s head).
IMAX 3D presentations are also state-of-the art. Special IMAX glasses provide a sense of immersion not possible with standard Real D 3D glasses.
Even films not filmed in the format are re mastered for glorious IMAX presentations. Take it from one who has seen them, 2009’s “Star Trek,” “Avatar,” and “Tron Legacy,” among many others. All of these featured IMAX presentations that absolutely blew away a standard presentation of the film. If you ever have the chance, make sure to catch the IMAX presentation of any film you can. The nearest IMAX venue to the UConn Storrs campus is at the Buckland Hills Rave Cinema in Manchester, Conn. just off of I-84.