Not to be confused with the rise of 3D motion pictures in the past decade, IMAX or Image MAXimum has been catering to and conquering its own market since its invention in the 1970’s. During the 1990’s and 2000’s, IMAX theatres steadily popped up in more than 200 locations throughout the United States and over 50 countries worldwide. It initially reached the public masses as short films with a nonfiction or documentary focus as opposed to feature films. Most IMAX pictures did not require viewing glasses and just relied on their large auditoriums, gigantic movie screens and stellar sound quality to give you an unforgettable experience. As IMAXs’ popularity grew however, so did its capabilities. IMAX Theatres can now handle full length motion pictures in 3D, while simultaneously providing the screen and sound people have come to expect.
Entering the Theatre
Be sure to arrive early when going to an IMAX movie. If you are seeing a film in high demand you most likely bought tickets online ahead of time, paying a “convenience fee” to hold your spot. What is not convenient is waiting in line for a seat, because it’s first come, first serve and no one wants to pay $13 to sit in the front row! When the previous group clears out, the ushers will hand you your 3D glasses (which have really come a long way since their invention) and usher you towards the auditorium. The stadium seating stretches from bottom to top, as does the 70mm mega screen which is twice the size of your typical movie screen.
The IMAX Movie
Once the movie begins, you will most likely notice the amazing acoustics and sound amplification first and foremost. IMAX uses 6 separate channels of sound, rather than 1 soundtrack so noises are organic surround sounds each performing on their own sound schedule. This is why so many concert goers enjoy seeing the IMAX version of their favorite bands live. Not only can audiences see each bead of sweat on Bono’s face, but they can hear every chord of Beautiful Day as U2 themselves would have wanted it heard. Documentaries about animal life and nature are also common in IMAX theatres. Large scale sounds and images have the ability to create something real and tangible from the unknown. If you look during the movie, you’ll notice fellow audience members reaching out in front of their face, and hear “ooohs” and muffled yet excited yelps throughout the theatre. Although admittedly the excitement of the third dimension does wear off a bit as the movie progresses, the experience as a whole is enhanced and appreciated due largely in part to the magnanimity of the whole ordeal.
So How Was It?
Upon leaving the theatres, it is commonplace to see groups of strangers strike instant conversations over the most amazing parts of the film and how realistic images were as the seemed to surround you. Be sure to check out upcoming films in IMAX as you leave the theatre since the majority of IMAX theatres can only house only a few movies at a time. Your ushers will collect the 3D goggles to be sanitized and reused for the next batch of excited moviegoers ready to embark on an unforgettable IMAX experience.