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Sony IMAX Theatres

Not everything in Manhattan that is famous is all that great. A perfect example of an over- hyped attraction is the Sony IMAX Theatre.

The Downside
First of all, the IMAX experience is expensive, generally more than movies in regular theaters, even though most IMAX offerings are considerably shorter, often lasting about an hour. Secondly, the 3-dimensional effects do not represent any great leaps forward in technology. In fact, the effects are no better than anything we saw twenty years ago in standard movie theaters while wearing cheap plastic 3-D glasses.

The headsets that IMAX requires you to wear are somewhat awkward and it takes a few minutes to adjust to them. Finally, the movies are of very inconsistent quality (see below).

A Few Redeeming Features
All of this is a shame, since Sony clearly went out of its way to build a very impressive theater. The screen is HUGE, although we suspect it may be a story or two short of its claimed 8 story height. The auditorium is steeply tiered so no one's head gets in your way, and the comfortable seats offer plenty of leg room. The entire facility is bright and cheery enough to make Disney World proud (although it was not Disney-clean on a recent Sunday night).

If you do go to the IMAX, there is no need to scramble to a seat in the middle of the theater. We sat in different locations each time we went and found the 3-D effects to be similar no matter where we were. Nonetheless, the IMAX staff encourages everyone to gravitate to the center and the top of the theater, even when the movie is not sold out.

Better Alternatives
If you get the IMAX itch, keep in mind that Sony is not the only IMAX game in town: the
American Museum of Natural History has an IMAX theater offering films similar to those found on the Discovery Channel.

The Sony IMAX Theater is located on Broadway at 68th Street. Call (212) 336-5000 for information.

The American Museum of Natural History is on Central Park West at 79th Street. Call (212) 769-5650 for show information.

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