We had booked our tickets a couple of months in advance for the 3D Imax experience in Manchester, in anticipation and nervous excitement for Star Wars - The Force Awakens. From the moment of seeing the logo on the giant screen and the yellow scrolling writing with the classic orchestral score, I knew that the shiver down my spine was going to happen a few times. And my friends and I were certainly fulfilled. We all loved this production. It was true to the original trilogy and helped us forget the mediocre prequels. JJ Abrams has done a superb job and lived up to the hardcore fans' expectations in so many ways. The casting is spot on, the locations, the prosthetic puppets, sets.. just everything. And I have to say there were a few moments which were emotionally touching which is what the original trilogy also gave us. This is a spectacular visual feast made by a true fan for the fans. Nothing to add really. If you loved the original trilogy, you'll love this… and if you're a true fan, either you've watched it or going to watch it soon and this review is simply a confirmation that you're gonna get exactly what you hoped for. If this is the equivalent of Episode 4, I just can't wait for the sequel now due in 2017 - imagine a revamped version as good as "Empire"… bring it on!
From the technical viewpoint, I believe the transfer we watched was IMAX 2.35:1 with Dolby Atmos. I noticed 6 speakers in the ceiling and these were used to good effect, particularly during the aerial dogfight sequences. Bass was powerful throughout. There were plenty of scenes which worked well with 3D, plenty of depth especially with some excellent landscape scenes and it blended well and didn't feel gimmicky. I think there are only a few screens world wide using the 70mm film for to show the entire IMAX image but I'm not 100% certain about that. I don't think it matters in all honesty as the story and emotion of the movie is really engaging.