Thursday, May 5, 2011

Shaw Lido Soft Opening & The IMAX 3D Experience [ Preview ]

Shaw Lido has finally reopened after months of renovation and it's bringing in Singapore's first and only IMAX's Digital Theatre System. I was lucky enough to win an invitation to Shaw Theatres Lido Soft Opening and here the lowdown of my trip to the new Lido this morning.

The biggest draw to this soft opening would be the showcase of Shaw Lido IMAX. It promise to be an immersive cinematic experience and I gotto say, I am impressed with Shaw Lido IMAX cinema. While the Shaw Lido IMAX theater is actually a "smaller" version of the old Lido 1, it's actually well constructed and specifically designed to bring the movie to the audience as the movie directors had originally intended.

There's 421 seats for the normal IMAX movie and 319 seats for the 3D movies. Why are there lesser seats for 3D movies? This is because the audience by the sides won't be getting the full 3D experience and Shaw will not be selling those tickets. Kudos to Shaw for taking in less profits so that they could give the audience the right type of movie watching experience.

Been told that IMAX format has been configured to what the directors would like his or her movie to be seen. The screen is also curved to give a better immersion experience. After sampling the trailers of upcoming IMAX movies (in  both 3D and 2D), I have to agree that the viewing experience is definitely in your face and it's a real treat from what we have been getting in the normal cinemas.

Personally, I am not a 3D fan as I have been technically immune to the 3D effects. At best, 3D in local cinemas had always been a gradient effect, nothing special that I would pay extra for. But the Shaw 3D IMAX trailers looked quite spectacular. Specially the Hubble 3D and Born to be Wild documentaries. Both gave me a sense of closeness of a 3D movie that tempted me to reach out to touch the objects that shown in front of me. Other normal 3D cinema could only project the 3D imaginary while the IMAX 3D could project the 3D image further so that it would appear closer to the audience. Needlessly to say, I will be getting my tickets for those two documentaries in 3D.

Although I do not like to advocate the increase of movie ticket price (specially for 3D movies), IMAX (3D) is one film format that need to be seen / experience. The tickets for the normal IMAX movies are priced at $17 and $20 (on Weekdays and Weekends Fri to Sun respectively). Tickets for the IMAX 3D would cost $19 on Weekdays and $22 on Weekends.

Hopefully that movie watching in IMAX format would not become too addictive. This is not a cheap way to watch movies but the difference in format is simply undeniable. One got to be selective or could easily go broke from watching IMAX movies. Which to choose? There's the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Kungfu Panda 2, Super 8 and Transformers 3 Dark of the Moon to choose from. It's quite a hard decision to make.

Beside the grand inclusion to Shaw Lido, there some other stuff to take note of after the renovation.

The MacDonald , KFC, Subways and other mini fast food joints at the level 5 had disappeared. In place of them, there a more classy ticketing counter and a snack bar. When I was there, the tables and chairs were missing too.

There's a central circular sitting area underneath the big screen but otherwise, the waiting area look sparse and empty. The guide told us that there are plans to bring in the chairs and tables in the future. It would be a shame if there's so much space but no where to sit and hangout while waiting for the movies.

Shaw Lido has gone from a 8 theaters to 11 after this renovation. The thing is that they took the old theater number 1 and split it into 3 cinema. The IMAX theater is actually smaller than the old number 1 and cinema number 2 and 3 is basically the top area of the old cinema 1.The new Cinema 1, 2 & 3 are to be access from the top while the rest generally remained where they were previously.

Seats at Shaw Lido had all been upgraded to the same type of chairs in Shaw Nex. Definitely more comfy and even though we didn't have a chance to visit all the cinema halls, the guide assured us that all the halls will be fixed with the new seats.

That's all I got to say about the Shaw Lido Soft Opening. See you at Shaw Lido IMAX soon! In the meantime, if you want to learn more about the new Shaw Lido cinemas, click the link here.

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