Friday, August 15, 2014


There is a new disaster movie out called, “Into the Storm,” which supposedly simulates what would happen if the world’s strongest winds, something like over 300 m.p.h., ever were to hit the earth.

The special effects in the previews I’ve seen look amazing, but everyone is saying that in order to get the full experience, the movie has to be seen in IMAX.

I have not had good luck with IMAX (an acronym for “Image Maximum”) in the past. I remember back in the 1970s when my husband and I went to a nearly new Disney World. One of the attractions was something similar to IMAX – a new concept in movie watching, where the screen curved all around you and made you feel as if you actually were a part of the movie rather than just watching it.

There were no seats in the Disney World version. We had to stand behind rows of railings. I had no idea why…until the movie began. The minute I found myself feeling as if I were flying, with the people below me the size of ants, I had a death grip on that railing. But the worst part was the ocean voyage. As the waves went up and down, up and down, so did my stomach. I ended up clamping my eyes shut through most of the “unique experience.”  I also found myself wishing I hadn’t indulged in so many of the Mickey-Mouse shaped ice-cream bars beforehand.

A few years later, I tried the IMAX experience again – this time at Canobie Lake Park. My husband and I went there with our neighbors, Florence and Tewy.  Florence opted not to go into the theater, so the three of us did. In retrospect, I have no idea why I did. I mean, my experience at Disney World should have taught me a lesson. Maybe I wanted to prove to myself that Disney World was just a fluke and I would fully enjoy it this time.

The set-up was the same. We had to stand behind railings. As I watched the screen, I could feel my stomach immediately begin to protest. There was the plane doing loops, the racecar making hairpin turns, the rocket launching into space, or whatever. I’d shut my eyes by then, so they could have been showing what is was like to be blasted out of a cannon, for all I knew.

When the show was over, I looked at my husband and Tewy. My husband was smiling and saying, “That was great!”  Tewy, however, had beads of perspiration on his forehead and even through his dark suntan, looked pale.

“I don’t feel so good,” he said.

When we exited and Florence saw what Tewy and I looked like, she smiled and said, “That’s why you couldn’t get me into that place!”

I thought my IMAX days were over until the Cinemagic movie theater opened in Hooksett. Not only did it have an IMAX screen, it also offered 3-D IMAX, something I’d never even thought about before (nor had I cared to).  My husband, however, was as excited as a little kid on Christmas morning.

“Imagine IMAX in 3-D!” he said. “I mean, 3-D is great on its own, but on an IMAX screen, it should be awesome!”

The look I gave him told him the only thing that would be awesome if I saw such a movie would be if I managed to make it through the experience without needing a barf bag.

I don’t know how, but he succeeded in talking me into seeing “Beowulf” in IMAX 3-D.

To this day, whenever I even hear the words IMAX and 3-D in the same sentence, I have to sit down and put my head between my knees.

At first, the movie was thrilling to me. I mean, I’d never seen such incredible 3-D effects. My memories of 3-D movies prior to that were of something that involved wearing cheap cellophane glasses with one red side and one blue side, only to see blurry images that looked a little 3-D-ish at best.

But “Beowulf” was incredible. Swords came thrusting out of the screen at me. They seemed so real, I actually ducked. Hands reached out of the screen to seemingly grab me. Even flames shot out at the theater seats. I sat there in awe, thoroughly enjoying the experience.

And then came the flying creatures and the ocean voyage scenes, with swooping, diving and huge ocean waves rising and falling. My head started to spin and my stomach began to cruelly remind me of everything I’d eaten in the past two days.

I removed the 3-D glasses, thinking that might help. It didn’t. The figures looked blurry without the glasses, and made me feel even more queasy.

The problem was, I really wanted to see what happened in the movie. The plot was exciting, a real nail-biter. So I decided to try to keep a stiff upper lip – mind over matter – and watch it.  That turned out to be one of the worst mistakes I’d ever made. By the time the movie ended, I honestly couldn’t even stand. The walls were spinning, my knees were shaking, my eyes couldn’t focus and my head felt as if someone had stuffed it with molten lava.

Three hours later, I still couldn’t walk a straight line. My husband, sympathetic soul that he was, teased me about it for years.

I looked up my IMAX “problem” on the Internet and learned I wasn’t alone. It said it has something to do with some people’s eye movements not being able to keep up with the action on the screen, therefore causing motion sickness.

So I guess I have slow eyeballs. That doesn’t surprise me. After all, I’m slow at everything else.

One of my friends and I went to Cinemagic a few weeks ago. When we bought our tickets, she said, “You know, if I were here alone, I’d be seeing this movie in IMAX instead of just on the regular screen. I love IMAX!”

I’m wondering if there is some kind of personal trainer I can hire who can teach me how to speed up my eyes.

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