The new Star Trek movie and fake IMAX
Well, the new Star Trek movie opened on Friday. And since Saturday was my birthday, my wife and I went to see it on Saturday afternoon. And since our local theater has AMC IMAX, that’s the format in which I wanted to see it.
First, I’m going to talk about the movie, then I’m going to give you a bit of a public service announcement about AMC IMAX.
First off, I’m a Star Trek fan. Not a Trekkie (or Trekker) but a fan. I loved the original series, Star Trek: The Next Generation and most of the movies. I even enjoyed reading Bill Shatner’s Star Trek Movie Memories book. So I was excited to see that JJ Abrams was re-imagining the original Star Trek crew. However, when I saw some of the casting choices, I was a little wary (except for Zach Quinto as Spock) because my love for the original crew was causing knee jerk reactions. But, when the first trailer was released…HOLY CRAP…I was on board in a big way. This thing looked fantastic. So on my birthday, I grabbed Steph and we went to our local AMC to watch the new movie. And since they had it in IMAX, I picked that because Star Trek on IMAX is gonna ROCK! Beam me up, Scotty!
And yes, the movie was everything I wanted it to be and more. Chris Pine was FANTASTIC as young Kirk. Played him perfectly. The scene where Kirk defeats the unwinnable Kobayashi-Maru test is everything I wanted it to be. The dynamic between Spock and Kirk is perfect. Karl Urban as Bones is phenomenal. The rest of the crew is also spot on. The action is awesome and the story lines are interesting and handled well. I want to see this again. Actually, I could watch it two more times. I couldn’t have asked for a better Star Trek movie. This is better than the majority of existing Star Trek movies. The only movies I’d put above this are Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and Star Trek: First Contact. And this new one may move up the list as I watch it more often. My wife even loved this movie, and she doesn’t really like Star Trek. Go see it. I plan on watching it again.
Okay, now it’s time I mention the IMAX screening on which I saw Star Trek. AMC has really been pimping out that they are showing IMAX movies the last few months. I was excited, but I waited until a movie that would really show off the format was released before plunking down the extra $5. Star Trek was it. However, what I found out is that AMC IMAX is NOT the IMAX you are thinking of. When people think IMAX they think 70 ft screen and sound that blows out your eardrums. However, when AMC says IMAX, they mean IMAX’s proprietary digital picture and delivery system. The screen is only slightly larger than a regular movie screen, which is a FAR cry from the traditional IMAX screen. Check out this comparison I found on LFExaminer.
The article on LF Examiner reveals that IMAX licensed their name to this digital delivery system (sound and picture) and any theater that uses the IMAX digital setup can use the IMAX name, regardless of 70ft screen. While I admit, the sound and picture were top notch, it is misleading to call this an IMAX screening. The article also revealed that AMC and certain people in the IMAX company wanted to differentiate the experience by calling it IMAX Digital, thereby not “fooling” people into thinking they are getting a full IMAX experience. However, the CEO of IMAX felt that IMAX is more than just a “big screen”, it’s the whole digital picture and sound. The CEO said that people don’t say a BMW 325i isn’t an actual BMW because it’s not the BMW 725i, so a small screen IMAX setup shouldn’t be called something else. As ridiculous as that analogy is, the CEO doesn’t take into account that the two BMWs he refers to are labeled differently (325i and 725i) and priced differently. This new fake IMAX setup costs $5 MORE than a standard digitally projected movie. I’m fine with paying $5 more if I’m getting a 70ft screen, but for digital picture and sound, there is no justification for premium prices. It’s highway robbery, plain and simple.
So, head’s up people, if you are going to see an IMAX experience screening of Star Trek at AMC or Regal, make sure the screen is 70ft before you plunk down the extra money. Otherwise, it’s no different than seeing the DLP screening of Star Trek.
Regardless, however, GO SEE STAR TREK.