Transfomers/The IMAX Experience - Movie - Review

*** WARNING!!***

Spoliers may be divulged in this review. For those who may have not seen this movie at all, or for those who are planning to see the IMAX version, there may be scenes revealed. I assume no responsibility for any spoilers being revealed. You read this review at your own risk.

Transfomers the live action movie has been a blockbuster of a movie. As of this writing, it is ranked as the 3rd highest grossing film of the year. Considering #1 and #2 are sequels and Transformers is a first-run, that is quite impressive. Starting in late September, the movie has been running at IMAX locations. What makes IMAX so special versus the normal theater experience? And does IMAX made this stellar eye-candy of a movie even better?

IMAX was originally a project started in the late 1960s by 4 Canadians. Their first successful IMAX film was ran at Expo 1970 in Osaka Japan. Commercial roll out of the IMAX theater for permanent viewing goes back as far as 1971 in Toronto, Canada. That theater is still in use. As of 2007, there are over 230 IMAX theaters worldwide, with 60 in the North America region. The film stock used for IMAX is 70mm, twice as wide as film used in a standard theater projector. The film is also ran sideways at 24FPS. Using other tricks with lenses and speed motion, this results in a 586x magnification that can create an image, on average, 73x53ft (22x16m). The sound is ran on a seperate, but synchronized, 35mm tape due to the fact that the film is ran through the projector at 3x the average speed.

I am fortunate enough to live within driving distance from 3 different IMAX theaters. Being this was the first IMAX film I was going to see, I ended up at the AMC Loews stadium within the Metreon in San Francisco, CA. It's a pretty impressive theater of it's own, utilizing up to 12,000W of Dolby Surround (yes, that's 12 THOUSAND watts). The speakers are located behind the transparent screen which was absolutely enormous. For anyone who thought the battle scenes were a bit blurred, this problem was solved with IMAX. There is just so much real estate on the screen (covering your whole field of vision) that it "spread" the action. You could easily think you were seeing new film footage, but it was just footage that was too compacted beforehand. Things like Optimus Prime actually beheading Bonecrusher and seeing his head roll off in the distance.

Speaking of new footage, the IMAX experience promised 2min of exclusive footage. It delivered, but as thought this footage was negligible to the movie. However, it is explained how the shortwave radios were acquired in the city with an added scene. For those who have the benefit of living in an urban or metropolitan area with an IMAX theater within distance, it is most definitely worth the trip. I went with fellow staffers from this site who had seen the movie several times and they remarked how they picked up alot of new things from the movie just due to the huge format. Therefore, even if you saw it once a week for 8wks straight, chances are you'll still be finding something you haven't seen before. For those who are more rural, or those who have an IMAX screen that isn't commercial, IMAX is definitely something that should be taken in at least once in your lifetime. Even, unfortunately, if it's not this particular movie. I was previously skeptical of paying $15 for an over-glorified screen.

Believe me, it's worth every last penny...

DateOctober 1st 2007  
Score 10 stars (10 out of 10)  

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