There were no long lines or costumed fanatics at the first showing of the “Game of Thrones” IMAX release at the AMC theater in Times Square Thursday night, but there was definitely a buzz in the air. Just like at any other screening, fans filed into the theater and blockbuster film trailers preceded the main event. The last two episodes of “Game of Thrones” Season 4 played on the big screen, with the IMAX sound and scope giving the cult-fave HBO TV show a proper format to fit its epic feel. This first-ever showing of a TV series in IMAX theaters has to hold fans until the fifth season kicks off April 12.
Assigned seating in the large theater eliminated the need for fans to line up hours beforehand to get the best seats. Despite selling out weeks prior, there was no extra security present nor special accommodations made – this was not a “Harry Potter” premiere or a Comic Con event. The only lines of the night were to pick up the posters – created by famous “Thrones” fan artists Robert Hall -- distributed to the first 300 premiere-night ticket holders.
However, once the screening began, it was clear the moment was a special one for fans of the HBO series. The cheering began during the trailer for “Jupiter Ascending” – which features former “Game of Thrones” star Sean Bean – and reached a crescendo during the show’s iconic opening credits. Then, theatergoers were treated to “Watchers on the Wall” and “The Children,” the final two episodes of 2014’s Season 4.
While “The Children,” the Season 4 finale, allowed fans to relive Tyrion Lannister’s (Peter Dinklage) murderous rampage and Brandon Stark’s (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) discovery of the Three-Eyed Raven, it was “Watchers on the Wall” that proved to be the gem of the IMAX experience. The episode – which features the very large Battle of Castle Black – was stunning on the big screen. The elaborate wide shots of the Wildling army descending on the wall and the crane shots of chaos in Castle Black were well suited for IMAX.
Chris Hale, 27, who arrived with his girlfriend a half hour early to the show, said the payoff was well worth the wait.
“I loved [the Battle of Castle Black] when I saw it on TV and the IMAX just made it bigger and more exciting,” Hale said. “I wish I could see more episodes that way.”
During the episodes, it was Samwell Tarly (John Bradley-West) in “Watchers on the Wall” who got the biggest cheers and applause of the night with the crowd going wild when the character kisses his love interest, Gilly (Hannah Murray), and later notches a kill during battle. Only Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) rivaled Tarly, earning a raucous reaction to her besting the Hound (Rory McCann) in a brutal fight in “The Children.”
However, the moment fans were truly waiting for was what followed the episodes – the first full-length trailer for Season 5. A roar went up from the crowd as the teaser started and fans seemed excited for more when the credits rolled.
“I don’t know how I’m going to wait four months now [for the April 12 premiere],” said Chad Rosen, 25, after the showing. “It looks so good and I really want to see what happens with Tyrion.”
Tyrion Lannister, who fled King’s Landing in the Season 4 finale, seemed to be the most-buzzed-about character from the sneak peek.
“It looks like there are some cool things coming for Tyrion,” Jess Barron, 23, said. “I thought he might disappear for a while, so I was happy to see so much of him in the trailer.”
Fans will find out the fate of Tyrion and the rest of the cast soon enough. “Game of Thrones” Season 5 premieres on HBO April 12.
Have you seen the Season 5 trailer? Tweet your thoughts to @Ja9GarofaloTV.