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Thursday, March 23, 2023

What Is The Best Cinema Format To See Shazam: Fury Of The Gods?

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I’m a little late on this one as it’s already in cinemas but if you haven’t already seen it, or booked your tickets then you might be wondering what the best format is to see Shazam! Fury of the Gods. The first film came out in April 2019 and stood out from the usual DC roster by being a film that focused on fun rather than overly portentous melodrama, and it worked well enough in terms of box office receipts to justify a sequel. This was originally scheduled to be released at the end of December last year, but after realizing it would be going toe-to-toe with Avatar: The Way of Water, DC sensibly decided to move it to this weekend to give it some clean air to fire ahead as it were.

Directed by David F Sandberg, the movie has been lensed by Gyula Pados, whose previous credits include the first two Jumanji movies, so clearly knows what an action movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously should look like. The cameras used are ARRI Alexa LF and ARRI Alexa Mini LF, along with a Leitz Prime lens. While both cameras are part of the “Filmed In IMAX” program, this movie has not been formatted for IMAX – it’s a straightforward 2.39:1 aspect ratio. As such, if you don’t see this in IMAX you’re not strictly speaking missing out. Of course, there’s no doubt that IMAX always has scale and huge sound in its favor, particularly if you’re in range of a local IMAX screen that has a laser projector with 12-channel sound, and if you do go for that you’re more than likely to have a great experience.

However, you might see this as an opportunity to try a different format. It won’t be stereoscopic though as while there’s been a mini-3D revival (Avatar: The Way of Water and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania to take two examples) it doesn’t extend to this superhero movie.

If you’re lucky enough to have a Dolby Cinema near you then that would be a solid choice. A Dolby Vision master has been prepared and Dolby gives you the highest brightness picture with the best available today in color and contrast – and comfy seats.

The next best will be a premium large format screen, which offers a 4K projector (the movie has been finished to 4K) and high-quality audio, often Dolby Atmos. How this is branded depends on your local chain. In the UK Cineworld has SuperScreen, Empire has IMPACT, while Vue doesn’t have a name – it has Sony Finity projectors and Dolby Atmos is some screens In the USA two examples of these formats are Regal RPX and Cineplex UltraAVX.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods might also be a good shout for the multi-sensory 4DX format, which has seats that move and punch you in the back and effects such as smoke, water, and flashing lights. I’ve had mixed experiences with 4DX, but I am tempted to give it another go for this one.

Another alternative is ScreenX, which offers some scenes with extra impact to the sides of the main screen, but this generally seems less successful that the extra picture you get from Filmed In IMAX. Again, another format that could be worth another try.

Finally, there’s a standard 2D screen, but for a superhero movie that seems like a dull option to go for.

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