1 Aug 2017

Movie Watch: My 'Dunkirk on IMAX or LieMAX' Experience: Cinepolis, Westend Mall, Aundh, Pune, India Review

Big hello to moviegoers who saw Nolan's Dunkirk on a mammoth IMAX screen

It started with a childish curiosity, gaa-gaa, go-go and other baby sounds. What exactly is the word on IMAX? As a movie regular, an IMAX feel was long overdue.

Life and the movies are best experienced, so I waded the Internet for information. Would you believe it? Pune city, in all its cosmopolitan entirety, has just one IMAX screen! Dunkirk was showing at this sole, haloed screen at Cinepolis, Westend Mall, all day, all week in IMAX 2D. I promptly booked a weekday morning show ticket.

Initial Letdown
The first shock was the screen size. I had half a mind to throw up a baby tantrum there and then. The Cinepolis IMAX screen was barely 10-12% bigger than the regular screen. Waaah! Boo Hoo! IMAX screens are meant to be at least double the size of standard cinema screens.

Excellent Sound Quality, Uneven Picture Quality  
The film screening finally commenced after a dreary run of advertisements, 15 minutes past schedule. I had already watched Dunkirk at a regular screening, a fortnight ago. The comparisons came easy.

The sound was sharper and balanced. Bomb explosions, fighter plane sound effects made for great acoustics, without hitting high deafening decibel levels. The Hans Zimmer background score stood out, especially the violin set piece and the now famous 'ticking watch'. The picture quality was also a notch higher.

The fighter plane sections stood out with outstanding clarity. IMAX (Oh yeah?) did make the experience more close-in and immediate, but only by a small degree. Certain visuals had a scandalous, shunted look. It was like a magician trying to stuff his stubborn rabbit back into the top hat.

More than the technical glitter, the second viewing of Dunkirk on suspect IMAX revealed a sharp, minimal, cleverly executed, uplifting war movie. It hit me with an enormous wallop. But the screen size dwarfed my thrill. It was just not done. If you don't have a mammoth wide screen, why call it IMAX? At that exorbitant ticket price, a definite con job.

Screen Size Issues     
My experience echoes in similarly ripped off IMAX audiences around the world. They refer to this shrunk screen phenomenon as LieMAX. You may ask, what is that dude?

LieMAX is a term for theater screens pretending to be IMAX when they are just a bit larger than regular screens. So if you are looking for the IMAX experience in Pune, it's clearly not happening as publicized at Cinepolis, Westend Mall, Aundh, Pune.

Last Word
A badly made movie will not elevate you, even on IMAX. The Dunkirk experience is enhanced by a further 20% even on LieMAX. A good movie always gets to you, the format is only a medium then. There goes my concluding self-comforting, false-refuge statement.

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