Saturday, February 7, 2015

Game of Thrones: The IMAX Experience

As I've mentioned, we're fans of Game of Thrones, and we live next door to a superfan.  One of the local theaters was showing the last two episodes of the season on the IMAX screen, so we decided to see it before we left. Some thoughts.

We had already seen these episodes. There were maybe twenty people in the theater, and I would be extremely surprised if any one of them hadn't seen the episodes we watched multiple times.

The first of the episodes was The Watchers on the Wall, the one where Castle Black goes all Helm's Deep. I was pretty disappointed the first time I saw it, as I don't find this storyline particularly interesting. As AGOT usually splits up its episodes (I think this is only the second one that didn't, Blackwater being the first), I can usually wait through the storylines I don't like in anticipation of the ones I do. I didn't have that option this time, so I didn't enjoy the episode much of the first viewing. (When our neighbor asked me what I thought of the episode when it first aired, I believe my response was "I liked it all except for the parts on the Wall).

Now that I knew what I'd be getting, I could appreciate it for what it was, and not disparage it for not being what I had hoped. It's still a very good episode, and certainly the best suited for the big screen treatment. I could see every one of Maester Aemon's nose hairs.


On the flip side, Jen commented that the intro seemed grainy, and I couldn't dispute that. It's CG optimized for the small screen, so, of course it wouldn't upscale as well as the rest of the show, but a new IMAX introduction wouldn't have been out of the question, and it wouldn't have left us with our first impression as mildly negative one. (On a tangent, I found this article on AGOT from the perspective of a cinematographer, and I found it interesting)

Watchers on the Wall was extremely well executed from a technical point of view, though sometimes the top of the Wall looked like a set.

The Children was the second episode. It was less suited for the IMAX treatment than tWotW, as the scenes have a lot of emotional heft, but not as much cinematic spectacle.

Something I did notice for the first time: I don't think the actor who plays Stannis knows how to ride, or get off a horse. I don't think we ever see him riding (though I could be mistaken), and there is an extremely awkward cut where he begins to dismount, it cuts away for just a moment for no particular reason, and then he's standing next to his horse.

I mean, I can't ride a horse either, but I don't have a job that requires me to.

It was fun. I enjoyed going with friends, and the episodes were followed by the season 5 trailer, which looked much better on an IMAX screen than it did on my phone.

I'd probably do something like this again. I'd like to get some kind of Rocky Horror Picture Show thing going on, and have people yell "You're not so pretty anymore!" when Brienne bites off the Hound's ear.

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