In 2006, I was fortunate enough to be one of the reporters who covered the launch of the first IMAX theater in the Philippines, thereby making me one of the first to engage in a different movie viewing experience. Now, some seven years later, lady luck has once again favored me as I was invited to attend the launching of the first Dolby Atmos theaters at the Greenhills Promenade. Now, as a blogger, I am yet again, one of the firsts to experience this movie viewing encounter. For a movie buff and reviewer like myself, I cannot explain how cool this opportunity is.
THE NEW PROMENADE, a fresh take on the classic cinema
The new Promenade can be considered a mix of old and new, imbibing the vibe of old theaters and paying homage to Oscar greats in its look and feel.
The cinema in itself is a work of art, incorporating sculputures of old school cinema equipment like reels and projectors in the design. At the centerpiece of it all is a metal sculpture created by none other than National Artist for Visual Arts Benedicto Cabrera, better known as BenCab, who is actually better known for his murals.
According to BenCab, the piece, entitled “Eight Movements” is inspired by the cinema, because motion represents the theater and eight represents infinity. His work, he said, is actually the symbol of eight variations of motion.
BenCab said that he was inspired by the venue and thought that a mounted metal sculpture would suit it well than a flat painting. While he explained that dealing with metal was a welcome challenge as the medium is relatively new for him, he said that he was fueled by the thought of “perpetualizing a work of art that would be a testament to movement and gestures that is a fitting homage to the theater, which is a series of still images that when projected on screen creates the illusion of motion.” Judging from the response of the attendees, his hard work and vision paid off in spades.
Despite being a throwback to the good old days of cinema, the Promenade does not shy away from embracing modern technologies and does so by adopting the latest innovations in audio equipment like the Dolby Atmos.
Dolby Atmos is the latest revolutionary sound technology available on the market today but the Promenade was not content with launching just one. Instead, it invested in three state of the art theaters equipped with the audio tech wonder, making the Philippines the first in the region to have the most number of Dolby Atmos theaters in one location.
Levelling up from audio technologies used in Dolby Surround 5.1 and 7.1, Atmos incorporates the features of the earlier versions but now enables each loudspeaker to give unique feeds covering all levels of the theater. And yes, it has overhead speakers, giving the audience the complete feeling of being “in” the movie as the audio pans and travels appropriately where it is needed. It kind of reminded me of a 4D theater set up, minus the wind and the water which makes it all the more cooler.
THE ATMOS EXPERIENCE
From my experience watching Pacific Rim on the Dolby Atmos Theater, the overhead speakers made a significant difference in my viewing of the movie. It felt like I was completely enveloped by the sound and even the impact from the overhead produced breezes that made the movie more engaging. From the Dolby trailers alone, I was already impressed, but when it came to the movie itself, I was blown away.
The theater in itself was very comfortable and cozy. It was relatively smaller than a regular cinema with balconies. Instead, it had a single with each row slightly elevated so as to give the audience unimpaired view of the wide screen. The seating areas were also roomier with a lot of legroom which provides comfort to the viewers. Definitely a plus for moviegoers who want to relax while watching blockbuster hits. The only downside perhaps was the limited restroom facilities inside the theater.
All in all, I must say that a visit to the new Promenade cinema is a must for movie lovers. The Dolby Atmos cinemas is an awesome experience in itself, and the artworks are amazing. Be the first to check it out and be sure not to get left out.
To learn more about Dolby Atmos, check out this link