To Boldly Go Where Many of Us Have Already Gone Repeatedly
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To Boldly Go Where Many of Us Have Already Gone Repeatedly

Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Torontoist, like nearly every other web publication staffed by the appropriately web-savvy, boasts its fair share of geeks. And when we say geeks, we mean geeks—the kind whose browsers dedicate at least one tab to Memory Alpha, while jumping between MSN conversations debating the Wilsonian overtones of James T. Kirk’s less-than-subtle foreign galactic policy.
So when the Ontario Science Centre rang us up with an invitation to review J.J. Abram’s Star Trek reboot on the biggest screen imaginable—its 180-degree, wrap-around OMNIMAX Dome—we were about as unabashed in our tittering glee as you can imagine. We’d lace every sentence with references to warp drive or teleporters in describing our mad dash to Eglinton and Don Mills—a faint cartoon outline in our wake, our cheeks billowing in the wind—but we’ll spare you those, as well as any spoilers for those who have yet to see it. Suffice it to say that the OMNIMAX Star Trek experience, immersing the audience in one of the most brilliant sci-fi re-imaginings since Battlestar Galactica, is hands down the best way to see the movie.

The Science Centre’s OMNIMAX screen, like this one in Pittsburgh, immerses viewers in the experience. Photo by the_prodigal_untitled13.

With the domed screen’s immense scope, viewers experience the film’s groundbreaking visuals in a way that conventional theatres rarely achieve. At a single screen-length’s distance from the dome, as opposed to the standard eight to twelve screen lengths, audience members are exposed to the illusion of movement and acceleration as if sitting in a flight simulator.
You feel the floor pitching or banking away with each evasive turn during a space battle. The hum of the digital audio could easily be the drone of engines or the ambience of the story’s exotic environments, dropping you right into the action—even during the film’s less thrilling moments. Starships lumber majestically into frame from your peripheral field of vision, then warp into action with a bone-rattling, thirteen-thousand-watt blast of sound. It’s as if the USS Enterprise just parted your hair with a warp-five fly-by.

Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

That’s not to say it’s without its flaws. Depending upon where you sit in the theatre, the OMNIMAX projector’s fish-eye lens somewhat amusingly distends the tops of the characters’ heads, making Spock’s signature bowl-cut that much more pronounced. Sitting near the theatre’s centre, however—about halfway back—lessens this effect; viewing the film from the fourth or fifth row, near the screen’s centre of axis, is an even more immersive experience.
The only caveat is the same that the Science Centre staff offers when you take your seats, shortly before that electric-purple-freakout of an opening light show: if you’re prone to motion sickness, you’ll feel it—just close your eyes and let it pass. Because, really, this is a presentation in which you’ll feel every rush of inertia from the instant the USS Kelvin soars into view, and it’s worth any moment of discomfort.
Star Trek plays nightly at 7:30 at the Ontario Science Centre’s Shoppers Drug Mart OMNIMAX Theatre until Labour Day. Tickets are $14 for adults, $10 for seniors, children, youths, and members.