Monday, December 21, 2015

Watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens at Gateway's new Dolby AtmosCinema

I can't think of a more perfect way to watch Episode 7 -- Star Wars: The Force Awakens than in a Dolby Atmos cinema. I got that wish when I experienced the new Gateway Dolby Atmos Cinema for the Star Wars' press screening, ahead of the December 17 worldwide screening.

Araneta Center executives at the ribbon cutting

Star Wars characters grace the occasion

What is Dolby Atmos?

Dolby Atmos is a revolutionary audio platform that creates moving audio over a 360-degree area. As I sat with my kids and my blogger friends, Noemi and Juned, I had the chance to look around the theater. True enough, there were speakers in front, left, back, right and above me. About a decade ago, I recall attempts were made to create sound all around (it was called Sensurround then but sadly never took off). 21st technology has now allowed Dolby Atmos to be as real as can be. The softest whisper and the loudest boom can be crisply heard.

Speakers of different sizes surround the cinema - 360 degrees!
Look of Gateway's Dolby Atmos cinema

Compared to regular theaters, a Dolby Atmos Cinema has the most number of speakers with a 53.5 sound system (that means 53 individual surround channels and 5 sub-woofers). Each speaker is independently powered, with its own separate audio feed. This allows precise movement of every sound in the scene to give viewers a three-dimensional experience.

Movie content creators now have great control over the placement and movement of sound within the theater to give the most realistic experience. With sounds coming from multidimensional directions, the audience is drawn more and more into the film.

So, are you watching or have you watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet?

Is that even a question? Hahaha...

Without a doubt, this episode is an awesome one, set around 30 years after events in the Return of the Jedi. Even for those who agree that The Empire Strikes Back (Episode 5) was the best in the series, this one won't disappoint.

If you are already a Star Wars fan (like me), it is not to be missed. If you are one of those in the minority who are not familiar with Star Wars, I think you should still see it because it combines everything that state-of-the-art technology makes available for really impressive cinematic effects. The starship and lightsaber battles will not disappoint. 

The main characters from Star Wars past will have major comeback appearances like Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), and lovable C3PO and R2D2. But there are new lead characters as well: Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and a major role by the BB8 droid. 

That is as far as I will go about the film. Go see it for yourself. And for the best experience, see it at the Gateway Mall's Dolby Atmos Cinema. It will be a sense-filled one.

Find out more about the continuing transformation of the Araneta Center. Visit their official website at and follow their Facebook page:

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