The Matrix Reloaded - In IMAX FormatThe Matrix Reloaded was finally released in IMAX format, so yesterday after church, we headed over to Opry Mills to the Regal Cinema Opry Mills 20 IMAX theatre. It happened on a bit of a lark, I just happened to notice that there was a 2:15 showing while glancing at the Nashville Scene as I rode in the back seat of my Mother’s car. We got out of Church at 1:00pm, so it seemed like a perfect fit. Go to church and then go see the movie.

We arrived at Opry Mills at about 1:15pm, so we had about 30 minutes before they began seating. We took the opportunity to browse Barnes & Nobel. Going in I couldn’t think of anything that I wanted. I had purchased all my magazines for the month and I’m already reading 3 books, so I didn’t need another. That’s before I found out that they sold DVDs as well. :). I ended up purchasing the The Animatrix Boxed Set, which includes the Animatrix DVD and the Animatrix soundtrack. It was turning into a Matrix day.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen an IMAX movie. The last one I saw was “The Alamo” when Holly and I were celebrating our 2nd Anniversary in San Antonio. I’ve certainly never seen a feature film released in the format, so I was VERY excited and intrigued in what the differences would be between the 35mm experience and the IMAX Experience.

The first difference I noticed was the ticked prices. We were going to an early movie, which usually warrants a discount of a few dollars. Normally, a film at this theatre runs $8.50 a person. If you go to an early show, the price is $6.50. A ticket to the IMAX was $11.50. Ouch! Oh well, it’s the Matrix, its worth it right? Of course!

So, while Holly stood in line to get some popcorn, I hustled inside to get us a good seat and as soon as I entered the theatre I was awestruck – the screen is HUGE! As I tripped over my tongue, I found three good seats just to the right in the middle row in the middle of the theatre. These were near perfect seats and as I sat there, I noticed the second difference in an IMAX movie. The music.

Most cinemas have gone to the same “movie tunes” music that they play before the trailers. It reminds me of “Eckerd Radio” from back in the day when I worked at Eckerd Drugs as a kid. Eckerd’s was one of the first companies that I can recall to begin using the music they played in the store to market to their customers. They played music, but in between they would hawk their own goods and services. Since I worked there, listening to “Eckerd Radio” drove me insane. Since then, I have a keen ear to that type of marketing drivel and I don’t enjoy it in the least. So, instead of “movie tunes” the IMAX theatre was playing music from movie soundtracks. VERY COOL. I couldn’t place any distinct theme, but it was obvious that the music came from a movie. But it gets even better.

On top of the great music, they didn’t have those stupid Coca-Cola trivia slides that they play before the previews. The slides aren’t near as bad as the “movie radio,” but I’ve really grown tired of them. At this point I had a sudden rush of glee. If they don’t have the “music radio,” or the Coca-Cola trivia slides, then that might mean; no it can’t possibly mean that; or can it? Sure enough, it was true – NO COMMERCIALS.

My hunch was correct. Instead of commercials, we were greeted by a voice over the P.A and then a brief presentation about what IMAX is and some staggering stats. For example, the projector uses two massive Xeon bulbs to project the image on the screen and just one of those bulbs could be seen from the moon if pointed out to space. Funny the things you remember huh?

There was one preview for an IMAX formatted movie coming in December and then it began. Although in IMAX format, the film was shown in letterbox style, meaning that there were black bars at the top and the bottom of the screen. Had we not seen the preview, I don’t think it would have been noticeable, but the preview used the full length and width of the screen. Even with this little change, it didn’t matter. O H M Y G O D, did it look good.

I saw “The Matrix Reloaded” on opening day and I didn’t think it could get any better, but it did. Seeing the credits in large screen format made you feel as if you were swimming into the screen. In fact, I was glad that I had persuaded Holly to take a Dramamine because she gets motion sick quite easily and this movie was about to take us for a ride. 😀

My jaw hit the floor during Trinity’s first fight scene and I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face when Neo’s first fight scene started. Well, that is until the movie stopped.

Right during the middle of Keanu’s first fight scene the projector went out. Black screen with audio for a few seconds and then nothing. Zip. Nada. Bupkiss. Our friendly voice from the introduction came back on (I thought that was recorded) to say that they were having some technical difficulty and that it would be a few minutes. Everyone started talking for about 5 or so minutes, cracking wise and still giddy from the first 15 minutes of the movie – that is until the “voice” came back on to let us know that the movie was not coming back and that we could get a movie pass, or a refund and that they were sorry.

It was like being in the throws of passion and having your Mom walk in. Here we were all hyped up and in the moment only to have cold water thrown on us. It was unthinkable and everyone got up and walked out like zombies. That was the worst tease I have ever experienced in my life. For the next 30 minutes, all I could do is walk around with this big-eyed expression on my face and say things like “Man!” and “I’ve been punk’d” Of course I opted for pass instead of a refund because I am DEFINITELY going back to see it when the projector is fixed. Until then, I’ll have to nurse my wounds with the Animatrix and dream in big screen format. 🙁