REVIEW: New Carmike Foothills 12 experience a sublime one
By Timothy Hankins (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you know me, you know I’m a pretty big movie fan.
It’s not just the entertainment itself — oh sure, I love to watch movies in the comfort of my home; but there’s something about the experience of going to a great theater that is thrilling in its own right.
The “experience” is something theater chains and the Hollywood establishment have been trying to crank up in recent years. The re-branding of IMAX to mean “bigger-than-usual-screen and rock-concert-volume” along with new offerings like “Real D,” “IMAX 3-D” and “Big DDD Experience.”
Now I’ve made no secret of my disdain for gimmicks, and I’ve been quick to mock 3D in the past. But this past week something happened that made me fall in love with going to the movies all over again. It just so happens that experience also involved “Big DDD.”
This isn’t a commercial for Carmike Cinemas; and it’s possible that I’m still a little tipsy from the fumes of that new theater smell — it’s even better than new car, y’all — but the new Carmike Foothills 12 theater in Foothills Mall offered me the best movie experience I’ve had in a long time.
The movie was “John Carter” shown in “Big DDD” in one of the most cavernous auditoriums I’ve set foot inside.
I mean this thing is enormous. I didn’t count the rows, but the stadium seating climbs up the wall like the nosebleed section at Thompson-Boling Arena. The screen isn’t branded “IMAX” but it certainly seems larger than a typical cinema screen. The sound is Dolby Digital 7.1 surround, and it’s very good, though (at least in my showing of “John Carter”) it doesn’t quite reach the earsplitting decibel level of “IMAX” branded setups.
The chairs merit their own paragraph. I don’t know about you, but my posterior support equipment is really only good for about an hour of use at a time. Most movie theater seating accommodations do precious little to extend the optimal timeframe. The chairs in the “Big DDD Experience” not only fully supported my above-average rear frame, they kept me comfortable and fidget-free for the movie’s entire running time. This isn’t just good news, it’s great news. These are beyond a doubt the Cadillac of movie theater seats: leather-made, with a pleasant rocker action and generous dimensions.
As I mentioned earlier, 3D is not something I ordinarily get very excited about. Well, I was amazed and enthralled by the 3D effects in this movie. I’m not sure if it’s a difference in 3D tech or just a halo effect from the overall great experience I had at this theater, but this film was the first I’ve sat through and enjoyed without being hyper aware of the apparatus on my face. I saw and enjoyed “Avatar” but felt like the 3D glasses diminished the color and vibrance of the film. That was not the case with this screening of “John Carter.”
Overall, this Sunday afternoon excursion was absolutely delightful. In addition to a great experience in the auditorium, I think patrons are going to love the atrium and concessions area. I thought it was particularly interesting that the theater is offering self-serve soda fountains and offering free refills on all sizes of popcorn and soda. Kids — and a a lot of grown-ups — will surely get a kick our of mixing their own special flavors with the state-of-the-art fountain machines.
I have to say I’m pretty excited for Blount County’s new movie-going option. This new cineplex offers an experience on par with, I think maybe even superior to, the Regal offering in Turkey Creek — and it’s a whole lot closer to home.
Timothy Hankins is a writer, musician and critic who contributes regularly to Weekend. Contact him at (email@example.com)