SACO — Shards of metal slowly advanced through the clouds of the temporal anomaly (black hole), revealing an immense ship. Romulans.
The U.S.S. Kelvin was soon taking fire; pieces of the hull hung eerily in space. Explosions rocked the air around us. My youngest cupped his hands over his ears, but remained fixated on the battle that played out bigger than life in front of us.
The ship’s alarm blared as Capt. George Kirk’s wife was rushed to the medical shuttle as the ship’s interior exploded and fell apart. A split-second decision to spare the lives of others, a baby’s cries, the last words of a husband to his wife and newborn son — all set to a score of music that immediately made me choke back tears.
Suddenly a red corvette screamed down a deserted country road, tailed by a futuristic police officer. The Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” playing through the scene instantly changed the mood from sullen to wide-grinning enjoyment. All of this before the title sequence and opening credits even rolled.
I knew at that moment this would be an intense movie experience from IMAX. Maine’s IMAX.
The state’s first and only IMAX opened last Friday, May 8, at Cinemagic Cinemas on Route 1 in Saco, and if you haven’t seen a movie in IMAX before, you’re in for quite a treat.
IMAX succeeds in its claims to put you in the movie. The screen is immense. That and the theater’s design means there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Stadium seating with 350 high-back, rocking seats keeps your view unobstructed — and gives your backside serious comfort. Combine that with the digital surround sound and unique projection, and it makes it seem like you’re in the middle of the action.
The recently renovated building at 779 South Portland Road immediately greets you with color and light. This Cinemagic location houses 12 all-digital auditorium theaters and the IMAX, as well as a restaurant: Previews Grill and Bar.
Movie-goers can purchase their tickets at the box office, located in the center of the lobby, or online at cinemagicmovies.com. (Select the Saco location and then click the “buy tickets” link.) Tickets purchased online can be picked up at either the box office or one of the convenient self-serve kiosks in the lobby. The credit card used to purchase the tickets must be presented at the time of pickup.
“It was a successful weekend with many sold-out performances,” Bob Collins, director of marketing for Zyacorp, Cinemagic’s parent company, said of the opening.
The IMAX has its similarities with the Omni Theater at the Boston Museum of Science, including, in the case of the current movie, Leonard Nimoy.
Nimoy has narrated IMAX films and has leant his voice to the introduction at the Omni Theater. In the latest installment of the “Star Trek” saga, the original Spock, played by Nimoy, shows up midway through the movie, causing glee among trekkies.
But Saco’s IMAX is not the Omni. “I expected something different, to be honest,” said Dawn Pazmany of East Waterboro, who caught the opening last weekend. “ I guess I was thinking more of the Omni Theater in Boston,” she said.
“The theater itself was very nice, especially the seats. They recline back a little and seem to have more room, the screen was a little bigger than normal and curved a little, and the sound was pretty cool. All in all, it was pretty cool. I think I might pay a little extra to see a blockbuster on that screen,” said Pazmany.
There is a reason IMAX theaters show only select Hollywood blockbusters: action movies play to IMAX’s strengths. A drama or love story grabs and pulls at your heart strings, emotionally immersing you in the storyline, but action films use visual and sound effects to reel you in. IMAX takes that to the next level; you immediately find yourself surrounded by the excitement and the adrenaline pumping through the screen.
“I was impressed with the sound system,” Pazmany added. “At times it seemed like you were actually in the scene itself when the background sounds and voices come from behind you.”
She gave the current movie a thumbs-up too.
“The movie was great. My favorite was how they incorporated a lot of the phrases and character traits from the original movie (like) ‘I’m given her all she’s got captain!’ in a realistic and believable way,” Pazmany said.

Cinemagic Theaters and IMAX in Saco
779 South Portland Road (Route 1); cinemagicmovies.com
Days and hours
Open seven days a week
Hours vary slightly based on movie show times. Currently open at 11:30 a.m.; on May 22 hours will change to 11 a.m. with the opening of “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.” Doors close 15 minutes after the last show begins, currently around 10 p.m. 
Amenities
Available listening devices for hearing impaired, stadium seating, kiosks for pre-purchased ticket pickup, a game room and wheelchair accessibility
Preview’s Grill and Bar just off the lobby, next to the game room
Group rates and private showings available; FMI call 282-0696.
Ticket prices
IMAX Hollywood movies: $14 adults, $12 seniors (65+) and children (11 and under)
IMAX classic films: $9 adults, $7 seniors (65+) and children (11 and under)
IMAX classic double feature: $15 adults, $12 seniors (65+) and children (11 and under)
Upcoming movies
“Star Trek”: The IMAX Experience — now running
“Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” — opens May 22
“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” — June 24
“Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince” — July 15
????IMAX: Bigger, louder … better.?????Tips??A few tips to get the most out of your IMAX experience:

A few tips to get the most out of your IMAX experience:

Given the newness of the IMAX and the blockbuster now showing, get to the cinema early, at least a half-hour ahead of showtime. A line
quickly forms and you don’t want to find yourself at the end of it.

Take advantage of seating etiquette: Though there isn’t a truly bad
seat in the theater, if you’re at the tail end of a sold-out show,
you will find yourself sitting in the front. Ushers guide you to the
stairs and encourage people to file toward the middle of an aisle, so
seats generally fill in the center of the rows first. If you want an
aisle seat, look for a row that is nearly filled.

Buy your tickets online: You can avoid waiting in line at the box
office. Instead, you can go straight to the concession stand
before getting into the line to enter the theater.

Don’t worry about parking: It’s not a problem because the lot is quite large, although getting out onto
Route 1 after the movie could take a few minutes. So allot an
additional 10 to 15 minutes on your return travel.


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