Once you start to focus on something, more of the same starts to come into your life. Some of it is to do with a part of the brain that’s activated by that focus. So, if you buy a particular model of car, suddenly there are loads of them around you. The same if you buy a dress (we’ve all done it, haven’t we?).
It was inevitable, then, that, having been dazzled by the news I could start looking out for old films to watch at the cinema, more events would come to my attention. The latest has some resonance with me because it relates to the first film I saw at the cinema. If you can’t remember which one it was, the clue is in the title of this post. The answer, of course, should be sung:
Somewhere over the rainbow
Weigh a pie…
Okay, stop groaning, and let’s move on…
The Wizard of Oz was already thirty years old when I first saw it (and that was nearly fifty years ago). To have the opportunity to see it at the cinema now seems remarkable, and that certainly seemed to be the case when I stumbled across something on the Net a few weeks ago. If you take into consideration that two or three generations have since grown up only able to watch it on the small screen, it feels even more so.
Although I enjoyed it in the late 1960s, I haven’t felt any urge to watch it again for at least twenty years, and even then probably just to keep my kids company. But I was willing to revisit my childhood experience again when I discovered it was being remastered so it can be watched on IMAX screens.
I’ve already referred to IMAX elsewhere, but I’ve not gone into great detail about it and I don’t propose to do that here either, because I don’t think you can fully explain it in writing. You have to experience it.
The first IMAX screen in the UK was in Bradford. Not the obvious place for something so innovative, but Bradford does have the National Science and Media Museum – though, in 1983 when IMAX was installed there, it was the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television.
So IMAX has been available in the UK for 35 years, but only now is it becoming more mainstream. That said, I saw my first IMAX film around fifteen years ago. Back then, they were mainly made specially just for those screens, so they didn’t reach the broader audiences. Still, they were incredible to watch.
As the movie industry has latched on to the potential, over the last 10-15 years, more of them have begun to be made in that format, including the later Harry Potter movies and Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. IMAX can be shown in 2D or 3D, but I have to say 3D is more effective – if it’s done well. Probably the best film I’ve seen like this was Avatar. The combination of the large screen (the most obvious difference with IMAX) and the 3D meant some of the aerial sequences felt as if you were actually in there, swooping up and down on the backs of the flying creatures. If you suffer from motion sickness, you might not enjoy it as much as I did.
But any film that offers a spectacle (Marvel, Bond, Star Wars, Mission Impossible, etc.) all benefit from the experience. You do pay a premium for it, but it’s worth it with the right film.
For me, this format has the potential, if done well, to provide the cinema-goer with a really immersive experience. But it’s fair to say that, like other variations that have come into play, they can be hit and miss. Still, I would recommend giving it a go.
When I first took my partner to see an IMAX movie, she thought she’d never be able to enjoy a film shown on a boring old standard screen again. She was wrong. They still work really well, but there are some movies you see coming up and you just think to yourself: That’s one for IMAX!
The format has become more common, with an increasing number of cinemas offering it as an option, so the chances are that there will be one not too far away from wherever you live. They do vary in quality and size (I don’t care what anyone says, disappointingly, it does matter). The only reason I mention the quality is that there are some really superior quality screens that are worth building up to if you can. Living in the north(ish) of England, I’m fortunate to have two of the best in easy travelling distance. I’ve already mentioned Bradford’s. After all these years it still offers something very special. For sheer size, though, Cineworld at Sheffield is impressive even before the film starts.
If you like the movies, haven’t done this already and want to try something different, pick out a film that offers a real spectacle, and get yourself to an IMAX.
As for The Wizard of Oz, although I’d not felt a burning desire to see it again, I did get excited at the prospect of watching it on the really big screen after all these years. Until I went back to check it again, and realised the showing was in 2014. (I really am overdue a visit to my opticians.) So I missed that boat, but that part of my brain has been activated now and I’ve no doubt other opportunities will come my way.