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May 13, 2009: "The Great IMAX Scam" 
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Post Re: May 13, 2009: "The Great IMAX Scam"
I spent an afternoon in Sydney's (Australia) IMAX theatre a few days ago. It's a superb venue which advertises its screen as the "largest IMAX screen in the world". For all I know it may well be, it certainly is enormous! I watched 3 one hour nature type features of which 2 were 3D. The experience was wonderful - the resolution was excellent as one would expect and the 3D was not intrusive, but in fact was quite immersive and compelling, particularly in "Under the Sea".

Then Star Trek 2009 started to roll. It had to be one of the most disappointing cinema experiences of my life. By comparison with the true IMAX films I had just watched the resolution was appalling. It was like watching an old VHS copy. All the sharp definition I had been enjoying for 3 hours was replaced with fuzzy edges and muddy colour. Combine that with the jerky camera work in many of the battle scenes and the film was virtually unwatchable. I would have walked out except I was right in the middle of the theatre and it would have meant disturnbing 40 or 50 people since the theater was PACKED!

I will never see another non IMAX film on an IMAX screen again, it's so disappointing for a true movie buff. But I suspect the cinema operators will continue to show them. For the nature flicks there would have been less than 50 patrons each time, except for one where around 200 enraptured school kids filed in. However the audience for Star Trek must have been at least 400.

Interesting to read about the multiplex IMAX. I don't think we have therm here in Australia but if they arrive I'll be avoiding them like the plague!


Mon May 25, 2009 4:34 pm
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Post Re: May 13, 2009: "The Great IMAX Scam"
jamest wrote:
Yet this was not enough to get the IMAX format to take off and become as popular as the IMAX executives thought it should be. The casual observer will feel little sympathy for IMAX's lack of take off - but you have to realize that IMAX was and is fighting for its life. Technologies take basically three trajectories - they take off and become omnipresent, they lower their goals and retreat to some small easily defended niche, or they try for the former, bankrupt their company, and perhaps have their tech bought out and made into one of the later.


Then, quite simply, it should fail. Diluting the quality of a product in a desperate attempt to erase a deficit on a balance sheet is not defensible. That's tantamount to watering down beer.

jamest wrote:
This brings me to my point 5 in factors that make an IMAX screening enjoyable, "The quality of the particular movie". When I read what James wrote about how he did not think it is worth paying $4 to see a movie on IMAX I thought to myself "This guy is crazy!".


Is it worth an extra $5 to see an old-school IMAX version of certain movies? Of course. But it's not worth that price to see ANY multiplex IMAX screening of anything. I got another first-hand experience of multiplex IMAX with NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2. My verdict: it's just like any other big multiplex auditorium. The screen isn't that impressive (certainly not immersive) and there are times when pixelation is evident. It doesn't matter what the movie is. The small incremental improvement of seeing it in a so-called IMAX environment does not justify a 40%-50% increase in ticket price.

I have seen movies in all three formats I have discussed: traditional IMAX, OMNIMAX (curved IMAX), and multiplex IMAX. By your own admission, you have not. Once you experience IMAX in its reduced format, you may re-think your position.

But my basic argument isn't that the surcharge should be dropped (although I think it's unreasonably high) but that there should be some sort of written explanation at the box office of what IMAX means in the context of the theater.


Mon May 25, 2009 6:33 pm
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Post Re: May 13, 2009: "The Great IMAX Scam"
Yes I agree with James's article completely -- I have been ranting about the same thing to my friends.
I went to Matrix 3 in a full IMAX screen and it was incredible.
Now I went to star trek in the AMC IMAX screen and it was so small. The only thing I noticed different was that sound was better than a regular non-IMAX setup, and that the screen had a better resolution it felt.
But it can in no way match the actual IMAX screens.
And that they never mentioned it anywhere -- I also noticed that, didnt have anybody to talk to who had seen both. Until I read this article. :-)


Fri Jun 19, 2009 9:53 pm
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