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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Our Seats Suck" .................................................................................. - IMAX Staff Introducing Star Trek

(Photo courtesy

So, my friend Josh and I came out of the closet to each other in the line to see Star Trek at the IMAX at Universal Studios last weekend. Yes, we admitted to each other that we were both, indeed, closet Trekkies.

We spent a solid 45 minutes in line discussing the aesthetics of the 1960s Star Trek series, vs. the 1970s animated series, vs. the decidedly Clinton-era sensibilities and aesthetics of the 1990s Next Generation, all the while nursing our anticipation of getting reacquainted with NCC-1701 (that is, the USS Enterprise for non-Trekkies) face-to-face on a megalopolis-sized IMAX screen (hopefully one that would wrap around the periphery of the theater, as we both believe we have experienced and some--but not all--IMAX venues in our lifetimes.

Now, however, I'm not sure I have actually seen an IMAX theater with a wrap-around IMAX screen (feel free to comment and educate me if you know the answer). Josh says he definitely has in Boston, in seats that recline. But, I'm wondering if it was actually a planeterium showing a film in IMAX that he actually saw. But I digress...

Once inside the theater, we were a little disappointed that the screen was indeed not at all curved. Instead it seemed almost bluntly flat, and somehow only sort of gigantic. The fact that the bottom sixth or so of the screen was obscured by the heads of the people in the rows ahead of us made the "sort-of" qualifier worse. We knew that either the film itself would be marginally obscured by those heads, or that the only sort-of gigantic screen would not be utilized by the projector anyway. The latter turned out to be the case.

The worst came, however, when a staff member announced that the sold-out crowd should leave toute suite to accomodate the midnight showing, followed by an acknowledgment that the theater's seating was uncomfortable. It went something like this:

" you leave, please take your trash with you; ushers will greet you at the exits with plastic trash bags. Also, we have been hearing that our seats are not as comfortable as we would like. The good news is we just got approval for a funding request to buy new seats, so be sure to come back again later this summer when we will have comfortable seating. Now, enjoy Star Trek!"

I guess the bad news didn't need mentioning. But I'll mention it anyway: The only thing missing from the seating "devices" at Universal's IMAX Theater, for now anyway, is the buckets of water, the rags for stuffing down moviegoers throats, and Dick Cheney to oversee the torture of sitting still in a hard-surfaced, straight-back plastic chair for two and a half hours.

Still, the movie was so good, in this humble out-of-the-closet trekkie's opinion, that it was worth it in the end.

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