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Thanks to Azrael, me and Ilyn were able to watch Star Trek last night at the IMAX cinema at the SM Mall of Asia. When Az first sent the email asking if I wanted tickets to an IMAX showing of the movie, I immediately said yes. How could I not? I\’ve been a life long Star Trek fan. It was one of the very first shows I ever saw as a youngster. I still remember our old black and white TV, and peering out of it was William Shatner as Kirk, fighting with Romulans in the original episode \”Balance of Terror\”.

The tickets were for an advance screening courtesy of SciFi and other sponsors. Apparently SciFi channel is launching on local cable. Will there be Star Trek on the channel? I\’m assuming there would be since they carry it in the US. I hope they carry Doctor Who as well. It\’s about time the good Doctor made it to our shores, at least the new Doctors. Ah, Doctor Who, the things I can write about it, but that\’s for another article. At any rate, it ultimately won\’t matter to me because we don\’t have cable.

It\’s my first time at an IMAX theater and I was astounded at how huge the screen was. Almost equally astounding was how close we were to the screen. Our seats were on the third row, and I wondered what it would be like watching from that close. The last time I was that close to a screen was when my friend Eclipse and I watched Tango and Cash in 1990 from the first row at SM Centerpoint. It wasn\’t a nice experience.


The Star Trek movie itself, well, oh my God, the movie was simply magnificent. Truly, absolutely magnificent. As a Star Trek fan, I\’m completely happy with it. I initially had concerns about continuity issues, but that went out the window when I realized continuity was perfectly preserved. Yeah, in spite of George Kirk dying before his time, in spite of Amanda dying before her time, and in spite of Vulcan being completely destroyed by a black hole, the continuity of Shatner and Nimoy\’s Star Trek is untouched. That\’s the beauty of it. As any Trek fan who has already seen it would know, with the entry of a future Romulan ship into the past, an alternate reality was created.

It\’s a reality that\’s very very similar to the original series, with characters that are very very similar to the original characters, but as far as storytelling goes, anything can happen from now on. It\’s an alternate reality, a parallel universe. The fact that old Spock remains, he represents the old continuity and that it it\’s still valid and true, somehow, somewhere.

Alternate realities are nothing new to Star Trek of the original series. There\’s the mirror universe in Mirror, Mirror. In TNG there\’s the darker universe in \”Yesterday\’s Enterprise\” and infinite parallel universes in \”Parallels\”.

It\’s an old trick, and old gimmick but it\’s very well done, and it\’s a brilliant move by the filmmakers to allow them to continue unhampered by what has gone before. What\’s great about this is that they don\’t make it an excuse to change things. There are many things here that a long term fan like myself can recognize and appreciate. Kirk was Kirk, Spock was Spock and oh boy, McCoy was McCoy! Bruce Greenwood was awesome as Captain Pike.

The only thing strange that I noticed was Uhura as Spock\’s girlfriend. What? What about T\’Pring? Oh right, she might already be dead.

After the screening I was kinda speechless. I didn\’t know how to react right away. I was in a kind of daze. I didn\’t realize I was just completely stupefied. A brilliant film, and I can\’t wait for future sequels. And I\’m sure there will be.

So really, apologies to Brannon Braga. Franchise Rot, Genre Rot, Sci Fi Rot had nothing to do with it. Trek just needed better creators. Period.

All right then. IMAX. Whoever thought having seats that close to the screen in an IMAX theater should have his brain shrunk. As much as I loved the movie, I was struggling all throughout with the size of the screen. I could only focus on, at the very best, one third of the screen at any one time. There were many things I missed. The storytelling on the more fast paced scenes became somewhat incomprehensible to me. I have better than 20/20 vision but there were times when all I could see were fast moving colors and shapes.

The nurse/doctor that delivered Jim Kirk at the start of the movie was an alien with big eyes. And I didn\’t know that at the time because everything else was so distorted.

Apart from being a comic book creator, I\’m an Architect as well. And as far as acceptable design goes, that theater is a failure. I would not design a cinema in that way. Never mind the \”standards\” if the standards still fail. How much of a success is a cinema design if it doesn\’t fulfill the primary and most basic goal of a cinema? Which is to properly show the audience a movie?

I should have gotten a better seat? The thing is, I shouldn\’t have to get a better seat. All the seats should give a good and comprehensible view of the movie. If you have seats there that interferes with the message that the filmmakers want to give the viewer, then it\’s not very good, is it?


15 Responses to “First time in an IMAX, with Star Trek!”

  1. adam! on May 9th, 2009 11:21 am

    uy! bawal kumuha ng litrato sa sinehan, ha!

  2. adam! on May 9th, 2009 11:22 am

    at nakalimutan kong sabihin na mamaya ako malamang manonood, depende sa perang maiiwan pagkatapos ng isang raket-miting sa MOA. iMAX! hay.

  3. Gerry Alanguilan on May 9th, 2009 1:40 pm

    I think OK ang IMAX when you’re in the farther seats. As in around 7th row and above. He.he. I got the Spock photo from trekmovie.com :D Ipapasurrender din sa inyo lahat ng gadgets ninyo at the entrance inlcuding cameras and cellphones.

    I’d like to try IMAX again if the show is 3D. I can’t wait to see Cameron’s AVATAR there!

  4. jerome dizon on May 9th, 2009 1:40 pm

    IMAX. Front Row seats.. NOT GOOD :)

    same thing happened to me Gerry, na nood ako ng DARKNIGHT sa IMAX … nakakahilo…come to think na nasa middle section pa kami.

  5. plsburydoughboy on May 9th, 2009 5:45 pm

    Man, they should have that IMAX theater renovated. Me and my friends went through the exact same hassle watching Spider-Man 3. Pwede na bang i-facebook campaign ‘to?

  6. dennis villegas on May 9th, 2009 11:22 pm

    There are people who also want the seats at the very front row. Si Ricky Lee nga mismo sa pinakaunang row ng sinehan nanonood. So I guess the best thing to do is to have your seats reserved early so you can choose the seats you want.

  7. Jose Mari Lee on May 9th, 2009 11:51 pm

    I symphatize with you, guys. Imax is a Canadian imvention and the Imax experience here is not like what you are suffering there in RP. It must be related to the construction of the building. It should have at least the height of a 5-storey building to be able to sit in front and not be dizzy. The very first feature I watch in Imax many years ago, is called The Ants, a documentary following the ants and their activities. Seeing these little creatures as big as elephants, I was impressed by these insects’ ingenuity. Details and facts – only an Imax can deliver.

  8. Pinoy Comics USA on May 10th, 2009 3:13 am

    I’ve watched several IMAX movies, 300 and Superman with some portions in 3D, in particular at Universal Studios City Walk in a theater designed for IMAX. I find the best seat is the center seat on the very last row, at the top of the theater. At this position, you’re right smack in the center of the screen, equidistant top-to-bottom and side-to-side. The whole screen really envelopes you. Some theater-goers are finding that out too, in Superman, I had to settle for the next row, as the last row, center seat was occupied, even though I came in early. Then I watched WATCHMEN also in Imax, opting to pay the 5 dollars more to see it in Imax. This was at another theater, which was converted to Imax and it was not quite the same as a theater specifically designed for IMAX.

  9. Jose Mari Lee on May 10th, 2009 11:03 am

    That’s exactly what it is, Rod. In Canada, the Imax corporation makes sure that the buildings should be built exactly to their specifications. It turned out that in other places, they don’t seem to follow the right height and/or distance of the screen. I haven’t gone to the Imax in Universal Studios, but I didn’t realize they charge extra for that in there? Universal Studios is becoming too touristy, isn’t it. It wasn’t that bad in 1980s. Well, we don’t pay extra for Imax in Canada. Unfortunately, we pay too much taxes here. Maybe the government is charging us on the sly for Imax as well, bot not telling us up front about it :(

  10. Pinoy Comics USA on May 11th, 2009 12:38 am

    Yep, Univeral City with an outdoor mall called CityWalk is very touristy, but a fun place to hang out with restaurants, bars, stores, and movies, as well as the Gibson Theater. But parking fees are prohibitive, $10, as much as the movie itself, however the parking fee can go to your movie ticket. I mainly go there for the IMAX, which is apparently built with the IMAX specifications, 5 storeys high, etc. I was told you can seat anywhere and have the same view. When I watched Watchmen in another theater, originally just a regular theater (they simply changed the screen to a large IMAX screen) it was not the same. I really felt cheated out of the extra I paid for.

  11. Whilce on May 12th, 2009 10:56 am

    Hey Ger,

    Haven’t seen it yet…kids…but I saw a scene on TV between Uhura and Kirk at a bar full of aliens. There was this alien with a huge humanoid head sitting between them thruout thier conversation…the face on the alien between them looked like a photoshop stretched Leonard Nimoy face…did you catch that?…Whilce…

  12. Gerry Alanguilan on May 12th, 2009 11:02 am

    Hey Whilce! I remember that face. I looked pretty well done. I still need to see the movie again because that scene was still early on and I was still trying to deal with the size of the screen and couldn’t really focus.

  13. Ed on May 12th, 2009 11:32 am

    I’ve seen the movie. I’m not a fan of the Trek but seeing the original Spock in the movie was cool.

    I was expecting more non-humanoid alien beings in the scene, I only saw few with full make-ups like the midget alien and that stretched face in the bar. Oh yeah, and She-Hulk! Hehehe.

    The Nurse was weird. You won’t notice her eyes if you’re too close to the screen coz the camera was fast.

    I like the big alien beast in the snow. The best I’ve seen in the movie.

    That Scotty, was he the guy from Shaun of the Dead? He was good!

  14. Gerry Alanguilan on May 12th, 2009 11:55 am

    Yes, Scotty was played by Simon Pegg who played Shaun in Shaun of the Dead. :D

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