By Devon Shuman, For The Miami Student
If one thing is for sure after watching the “Game of Thrones: The IMAX Experience,” it’s that the popular HBO series is meant to be watched on the big screen.
This week, in an effort to promote the debut of “Game of Thrones’” fifth season, HBO is giving its fans the opportunity to watch the popular fantasy television series in select IMAX theaters. “Game of Thrones: The IMAX Experience” includes the last two episodes of the fourth season, “Watchers on the Wall” and “The Children,” as well as a never-before-seen trailer for season five which will premiere April 12.
Ever since its first episode, “Game of Thrones” has had all the makings of a cinematic experience: sprawling landscapes, massive battle scenes, an exhilarating score.
If anything, it is surprising that HBO has not screened its episodes in theaters before.
The result is a completely immersive experience. This isn’t some gimmicky 3-D show where the audience feels like the objects on the screen are popping out at them.
The “Game of Thrones: The IMAX Experience” utilizes the IMAX technology to truly enhance the way the viewers experience the show. The scenery is more breathtaking; the battle scenes and the dragons are more vicious; the deaths, of which there are many in this series, are more moving and emotional.
Will most viewers already know what is going to happen in these two episodes? Of course. The point of this release is not to show new material, but to allow long time fans to experience one of their favorite shows in a new and enhanced way. For years, “Game of Thrones” fans have longed to escape to the lands of Winterfell and King’s Landing, and the IMAX technology allows them to do just that.
If anything, with all the detail that the expansive IMAX theater provides, fans will wonder how much they have missed out on watching the show on their measly television screens all these years.
Perhaps the aspect of the show that is most enhanced by the translation onto the IMAX screen is the music. For the past four seasons, part of what has made “Game of Thrones” such a successful series is its wonderful score, composed by Ramin Djawadi, who has also worked on the music in “Iron Man.” It is not solely the recognizable opening title song; Djawadi’s numerous themes that play throughout each episode are what make the show as exciting and emotional as it is.
In the IMAX theater, however, the effect of these pieces is felt to an even greater extent. In the same way that the IMAX screen seems to surround the viewer’s field of vision, the theater’s sound system immerses the audience in the show. Being both booming and precise, the IMAX speakers allow the viewers to truly appreciate what the music adds to the show.
The “Game of Thrones” IMAX Experience marks the first time that a major television series has been shown on an IMAX screen. Despite the success of translating a couple episodes on to the big screen, it is made clear that this story is adapted best as a television series and not a movie as was originally intended before HBO picked it up as a series. With all of its complex storylines and characters, “Game of Thrones” needs ten hours a season, and maybe even more than that, to tell its story.
However, with the success of this foray into the world of IMAX, one could wonder if we are ushering in a new era of television. With a plethora of intriguing shows and the advent of original programming from online streaming services, the world of television is growing faster than ever before.
Could screening episodes on the big screen be the next big thing in television? Only time will tell. For now, all that we can be sure of is that “Winter is Coming.”