I’ve spent more money on Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity than I’ve spent on any other movie in my life. I didn’t plan it that way. It just so happens that this film is ideally suited to the most expensive film-exhibition methods known today. This is a movie—based on reports I was hearing out of film festivals—that I wanted to see on the biggest screen with the biggest sound. While watching it for the second time, I realized that this is the way movie theaters are going to compete with the rising trends of home theater and digital video subscriptions services such as Netflix: Go bigger.
My first experience with Gravity was at an IMAX 3D auditorium in Las Vegas. I plunked down $19, took my seat, and proceeded to have my eyeballs and ears pummeled. IMAX is known for its ultra-high-resolution photography, and even though longer Hollywood productions play at a slightly lower resolution on the gargantuan IMAX screen to allow for running time, the image was immersive and vivid. That’s exactly what I wanted—to experience the film the way the director intended: huge and bright.
I wouldn’t say the experience disappointed, exactly. The movie is brilliant, suffice it to say. This isn’t a movie review, but rather some musings about the experience. And as experiences go, this was a stunner. I felt as if I was floating in space along with the characters. I felt as if the movie was everywhere I looked. But I was left with the nagging feeling that it was too big. Whenever I visit an IMAX auditorium, I always feel as if I’m sitting in the front row—even if I’m in an ideal seat in the middle, and toward the rear. The image is overwhelming. I know that’s the way it’s supposed to be, and there’s a benefit to it, but I feel myself pulling my head back and swiveling my head a bit too much to be able to see the entire image.
The end result was that I felt as if I had seen Gravity in its ideal presentation, but there was something just short of perfection.
(Read the rest at Residential AV Presents: Connected Home.)