Last year we got to attend both the opening of the Eastgate IMAX theatre as well as the premier of The Force Awakens in one fell swoop. Now we got to do the same with the Mall of Africa and X-Men: Apocalypse.
This isn’t going to be a review of X-Men, however (that’s over here), but rather a review of the facility we watched it in.
Unlike the massive 22 metre beast that was the screen in Eastgate, Mall of Africa’s IMAX cinema offers a slightly more modest 18.8 metre screen. Like the Eastgate screen, this means that sitting too close to it is an absolute nightmare. If you’ve never experienced the feeling of a screen escaping your peripheral vision, count yourself lucky.
Good news then for the customers, and not for Ster-Kinekor, as this theatre has two main seating clusters separated by a flat plateau in the middle. We say this because it adds some much-needed space between you and the screen, and we’re sure Ster could have plopped more seats there, so good on them for that (even though we’re sure it was for some fire safety reason).
If you find yourself picking seats here, try get into the cluster behind this expanse, as most seats there are perfectly fine. We still don’t suggest sitting any closer though.
Also remember that the IMAX glasses you’ll need to buy and wear during the movie have an extremely limited range of viewing angles before they fall out of sync, and the closer you sit the more you’ll need to move your head, giving you a headache and ruining all the CGI artists’ hard work.
Once the show actually starts the screen is just as good as any IMAX we’ve been to in the past. All that marketing thrown around about “being in the movie” really does come through thanks to that huge screen and the 3D effects which make regular 3D movies look like something made in Windows Movie Maker.
But, if you read our Eastgate review you’ll know that we raved about the audio, and how we’d never before experienced such clear sound that managed to be superb and loud at the same time.
Well, that statement still holds true: Eastgate is still the place to be if you want the best sound quality money can get you. Not to say Mall of Africa is dropping the ball; Apocalypse (the character) has a lot of vocal distortions applied to the actors voice, and we managed to hear almost every word. Everyone speaking regular English came out just fine.
Looking at the Ster-Kinekor site right now, a ticket to a regular 3D showing of X-Men: Apocalypse will run you R85 while the IMAX versions sits at R110. Keep in mind that these are higher prices for the movie’s first week, and that you’ll need to buy special glasses for both versions.
So, the big question: is it worth it? With that massive price difference we can only recommend it if you truly have trouble hearing at theatres, you’re a massive fan of the X-Men movies, or you’ve never been to an IMAX before and you want to go for the novelty of it.