My movie-going attitude has changed completely.
For a few years I’ve been almost completely turned off from seeing movies in the theater. Whether it’s the cell phones ringing, or people texting or talking or the (literally) meth-head-ghetto-hillbillies sitting next to me. At almost every screening I fill with anger at some point due to rude audience members who think they live in a bubble and have total disregard for the other viewers. Or, in the case of “The Tree of Life” a groundbreaking, thought-provoking, philosophical film with an extremely (for the most part) respectful audience the projectionist used the wrong lens for the 2nd or 3rd reel so the total immersion of the film was completely broken. Paying $10.50 to increase my blood pressure and misanthropy is not worth it. So, for the most part I’ve dedicated myself to going to New Haven’s Criterion Cinemas on Tuesday night when the theater is mostly empty and it only costs $6. That’s worth it, right?
I used to think so until last night when I saw “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: part 2” at the IMAX 3D theater in the Connecticut Post Mall in Milford Connecticut.
Two weeks ago I saw the new Transformers movie in 3D at Criterion Cinemas. Throughout the movie I felt like I had to focus to be able to make out the 3D effects. It was like looking at one of those hidden-image 3D pictures. I expected the same of the new “Harry Potter” movie. The best 3D experience I had had to date was “My Bloody Valentine” in 3D, the movie looked great and the 3D really popped. I wasn’t too impressed with Avatar’s 3D. There were some good effects but it wasn’t a game changer for me, it was still just a gimmick.
“Harry Potter” in IMAX 3D changed all that. I cannot stress enough how amazing this film looked. I was truly transported and mesmerized throughout the film. The IMAX screen and massive sound blocked out the fact that I was in a sold-out theater. The 3D was impeccable and, dare I say, magical. It doesn’t hurt that the movie was fantastic too (I wasn’t much of a Potter fan before watching the last 3 movies over the previous 2 nights). But, I came away with the impression that even a crap-tastic film would move up at least one or two notches in my opinion based solely on the IMAX presentation. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. A true event movie-going EXPERIENCE.
A ticket cost $16.50 which seems like an enormous price to pay just to go see a movie, and I choked when buying my ticket on-line but now I have a new value system applied to what I will pay for a film.
$6.00, Tuesday night discount at Criterion New Haven: It’s still pretty much worth it to see the top-notch art-house films or even the big budget blockbusters after opening weekend.
$8.00 – $11.00, Matinee – Regular priced at most theaters near me: Not worth it. The typical experience of seeing a movie in a theater is a waste of money at these prices. I won’t see a regular movie at these prices again. (add in the $3+ surcharge for standard 3D and it’s DEFINITELY not worth it)
$16.50, IMAX 3D – Truly the ONLY way to see movies going forward. I was on the fence about seeing Cowboys & Aliens, if it plays at IMAX 3D I’m there. Captain America, I’m there. The extra cost of the ticket pales in comparison to the experience. (edit: Just found out the next IMAX 3D movie scheduled is “Real Steel” which I wasn’t too interested in, but you can bet I’ll be at it now!).
At first I thought I would never see a “regular” movie in the theater again (My home viewing experience is just fine, actually it’s preferable to most of my experiences in the theater) but then I realized that “Another Earth” is out this coming weekend (July 22nd) and if it plays in New Haven I’ll go see it for $6 the following Tuesday.