IMAX Screen Comparison
The IMAX you know vs. the IMAX they’re selling

I don’t know about where you live, but Imax seems to be cropping up at more and more theaters around here…except it isn’t. I made a special trip last year to The Bridge to see Shine a Light in Imax and the huge screen was definitely worth the trip. Earlier this year I noticed Watchmen was playing in Imax at my local AMC which is only a hop, skip and a jump from LiC headquarters as opposed to the hop, skip, jump, get stuck in traffic on the 405 going over the Sepulveda Pass, have it clear up for a second on the downward side only to block up again for no reason as we approach Santa Monica Boulevard (or Sunset Boulevard depending on the time of day), another hop, two more skips, another stop as we get closer to the airport and one final jump before spending an hour looking for a parking spot in the overcrowded parking garage. Who wouldn’t rather see Imax in Burbank?

The problem is, it’s not Imax the way you think of Imax. I didn’t think too much about it at the time, but actor/comedian Aziz Ansari is mighty pissed about it and he thinks you should be too.

Who is he and why is he so pissed? Read on…

Most of us think of that huge building-sized screen when we think Imax, but the company itself also thinks of the projection and sound system. In their mind, properly equipped theaters can be labeled Imax even if the screens are only marginally bigger than an ordinary screen. Most theaters of course charge a premium for this “Imax Experience” without telling you up front what you’re getting.

So, who the hell is Aziz Ansari? You’ll recognize him if you watch the new show Parks and Recreation. We don’t, but he was responsible for the only laugh we had in the awful Observe and Report a couple months back: “Why the fuck would I want to blow up the Chick-fil-A? It’s fucking delicious!” Yeah, it’s funnier in context – unlike the rest of that wretched pile of shit. Anyway, check out Aziz’s blog and see what he has to say.

Also, check out this James Hyder editorial from LF Examiner last October. It explains the technology in more detail.

I’m not sure I go along with boycotting Imax or AMC or any of the other lying capitalist pig-dogs, but I do think you should know what you’re getting when you belly up to the box office to buy a ticket. Be informed. Buyer beware. If the screen doesn’t make you go “Holy shit, that’s a big  screen. I wonder what porn would look like on that thing,” then it’s not the full Imax. Complain and ask for your money back.

UPDATED: Imax douche defends his company on The Street.

Once again this is all over the internet, but I first spotted it at SlashFilm.

7 Responses to “Imax? Isux”

  1. nice sum up of Aziz’s efforts, but you’re way wrong on Observe and Report. That movie was terrific.

  2. Why, is that Actionman of H-E comment thread fame??

    Long time no see.

    Whatever you think about Observe and Report, you have to admit that particular line was a high point, don’t you?

    Either way, what about the movie appealed to you? The trenchant satire? The humor? Both fell completely flat for me, but I admit these things are objective and I acknowledge the film has some huge fans.

    I’m guessing if I click over to your blog there will be a review waiting for me…

  3. I chuckled at that movie, but I never need to see it again. And afterward, I kind of hated it.

  4. Well, sadly it appears Actionman didn’t review it so now I’ll never know what he liked so much about it.

  5. So apparently this whole ISUX debate has exposed some kind of odd subculture of rating IMAX theater experiences. I saw a link elsewhere to this barely scientific google map of Real vs. Fake IMAX theaters, which lead me to this more scientific (and slightly interesting)
    database of IMAX theaters in the U.S., broken down by specific projection systems.

    Why do I bring this up? Because I thought I saw The Dark Knight in true IMAX last Summer (along with Beowulf in IMAX 3D) but apparently I saw it in lowly, fake digital IMAX which isn’t really IMAX.

    Huh. Cause man, that screen was big and it sounded great. So I suppose the IMAX or ISUX is in the eye of the beholder, but I know now that I haven’t seen anything in “real” IMAX since going to the Seattle Science Center OMNIdome as a grade schooler.

    Maybe I’ll try to catch a “real” IMAX movie the next time I’m in Seattle, just to compare.

  6. My guess is that what you saw was still pretty IMAXy unless the screen went up sometime in the last year.

    I think the first wave of cineplex IMAXs were a bit smaller than the original science center IMAXs but the new ones are barely bigger than a regular screen. These new ones are the ones that are causing all the gripes. I saw Shine a Light on a huge squarish screen and Watchmen on a perfectly ordinary looking screen.

    If your screen was big enough for you to notice it being big, then that’s all that matters.

  7. Dear Movie Lovers: IMAX digital projection is not really any different from a normal 35mm screening of any film that has digital sound. It might be slightly sharper in it’s subjective manipulated (i.e. DMR) appearance, but don’t forget, it’s just 2K resolution.

    Films that are digitally edited and scanned back onto 35mm print film are closer to 4K or even 6K, so a 35mm print will still, even though digitally processed, will always be sharper than fake IMAX digital @ 2K.

    35mm prints of films, not digitally edited or scanned digitally, but optically processed completely, will have resolutions of 8K and up. However, massive contact printing of 35mm theatrical prints can lower that impressive apparent resolution of the 8K 35mm camera original negative.

    Fake IMAX digital (i.e. The ‘Fake’ IMAX Experience) can look very good, but the screen is just average, and although the sound is top-notch (i.e. no argument there), but so is the sound in the other regular 35mm film theatres, even if their sound systems don’t peak out at 12,000 watts–so don’t waste your money on Fake IMAX digital if it comes to a sharper image of presentation–go to Fake IMAX digital if you want to hear the biggest sound available–they top everyone else in sound specifications.

    . . . Go see a movie in RealD, 3D digitally projected, or a 35mm print of a film with digital DTS, Dolby Digital, or SDDS sound–if you like a big screen, why not just sit closer in the first few rows of the theatre?

    Bonus-wise, if it’s a 35mm film presentation, and you’re very close to the screen, you won’t see any digital artifacts such as pixilization, aliasing, or screen-door-digital-effects up close!

    Sincerely, Grant Sutor Vuille

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