Transformers 2: The IMAX Experience

[NOTE: This is not a review. For Screen Rant's review of Transformers 2, go here.]

I've just come back from seeing Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen at my local IMAX theater, and so in addition to our official review I thought I'd take a minute to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of  opting to see Transformers 2 in IMAX.

Be warned: This post contains HEAVY SPOILERS about the film.


Revenge of The Fallen has several sequences that were shot using IMAX cameras, much like certain sequences of The Dark Knight. For non-tech geeks: most movies shown in IMAX are regular prints that have been stretched (so to speak) to fit the IMAX screen. If you pay close attention, you'll notice that these "stretched" prints usually only fill about 2/3 of the IMAX screen.

Sequences shot using IMAX cameras, on the other hand, fill the entire IMAX screen (that's a 5 to 6-story-high picture!) and offer an unmatched level of HD detail and quality. If you are watching a movie like Revenge of The Fallen or The Dark Knight, which use both standard cameras and IMAX cameras, the difference between regular sequences and "true IMAX" sequences is readily discernible: All of a sudden the picture gets very, very big, and very, very pretty.


Like I said, sequences shot in "true IMAX" are extremely gorgeous to look at. In Transformers 2 this is especially true: the "forest fight" between Optimus Prime and a handful of Decepticons is the longest IMAX sequence in the film and was BY FAR the best. A lot of peoples' biggest criticism of Michael Bay's Transfomers films (besides the "stupid humor") has been "shoddy camera work" during such battle sequences. Well, once those same people see the "forest fight" or Devastator's impressively massive (if not brief) desert rampage sequence, they're going to have to pipe down. You see EVERYTHING - every detail and movement of every single robot - and it all looks GORGEOUS. I'm not surprised that getting all that IMAX CGI rendered made a few hard drives explode.

For the "true IMAX" sequences alone I would recommend people go out and see Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen in IMAX - even though there are only two of them and only one of those two (the forest fight) is 100% true IMAX.


When movies shot with regular cameras are "stretched" for an IMAX screen, the bigger picture size usually comes at the expense of picture quality. This was severely noticeable for me while watching Transfomers 2; sequences shot with standard cameras that looked crystal-clear and sharp in the HD TV spots I watched from my living room couch, where anything but up on the IMAX screen. Talk about frustrating! The worst case of this had to be the Sideswipe chase sequence at the opening of the film - something I was very much looking forward to but admittedly was let down by, due to the reduced quality of the "stretched" print...


...Which brings me to the ugly truth: The one thing I can say for certain after watching Transfomers: Revenge of The Fallen in IMAX, is that in order for a film like this to be TRULY realized and appreciated, it needs to ALL be shot in true IMAX. Having had a taste of full-scale 5-story robots duking it out, I can't go back; after seeing a creation like Devastator filling the IMAX screen, I CAN NOT GO BACK. Rendering those CGI IMAX sequences undoubtedly cost multiple fortunes and pushed some F/X programmers to the brink of insanity (if not over), but the bar (for me at least) has been raised in terms of IMAX visuals and I'll be damned if I see it lowered again.

Side Note: Michael Bay, you may want to consult James Cameron about all the crazy 3D CGI tech he's invented for Avatar before you try to do Transformers 3. I'm just saying...

Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen is now in theaters. Did you see it in IMAX? What did you think (about the IMAX sequences, not the film overall)?

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