“Captain Marvel” arrived in theaters on Friday and can now also be seen in ScreenX, a movie immersion technology available on around 200 screens in 18 countries (three theaters in the Greater Los Angeles Area).
ScreenX boasts a “270 degree viewing experience,” utilizing additional projectors to extend the periphery of certain scenes onto the side walls of equipped theaters. “Captain Marvel” is the most recent of the films released in this format in the US, following other Marvel films “Black Panther” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”
The ScreenX technology feels a bit like a more restricted than the view of the dome shows in museums and planetariums, minus the seat adjustment. The 270 degree feature does not continue through the entire film, so it does heighten a sense of immersion during particularly intense action scenes. The sudden shift from standard to ScreenX is a more distracting than immersive in most cases. Usually being sucked into the movie means being focused on the screen and the picture in front of you, so a sudden shift to panorama tends to break you out of that focus to look around the theater.
Since the theater that I saw the screening in was set up like a standard stadium movie theater, anytime the scene extended to the second and third walls it meant part of the movie was now behind a crowd of people. As the ScreenX only affects a fraction of the picture on either side of the screen, this does not necessarily mean you miss anything, but it is counterproductive to the goal of an “immersive” movie experience.
Overall, the ScreenX showing of “Captain Marvel” was still a cool, unique experience, and the distractions of the technology did not detract vastly from my enjoyment of the movie. But there are some tradeoffs. Since ScreenX is a Korean innovation, mostly found in Korean theater chains in L.A., the movie does have Korean subtitles, which can be distracting at times. The immersive experience also comes with a surcharge that pushes the ticket price to $20.
For a big-scale monster movie, or a visual innovation like “Avatar,” ScreenX would definitely be a worthy investment, but would not be my go-to for every Marvel movie, or summer Blockbuster.