Special Edition: Movie Theater Reviews by Mikeh
Mikeh has offered to post the reviews he’s been writing on local theaters on the site over the remainder of the summer. This is the fourth posted and the rest will come up as he completes them. Enjoy!
It is turning out that the South Metro Theaters are more alike than they are different (shocking, I know) with a clear dividing line between theaters with Massive Screen sizes vs theaters with Typical Screens. Is the experience worth the price difference? Today I’m reviewing the Lakeville 21 theater and it’s Monster Screen.
So far I have reviewed: Regal Eagan Stadium 16, Carmike 15 – Apple Valley, and Marcus Rosemount Cinema
The lone remaining theater to experience: Paragon Odyssey 15
On Sunday July 14th I visited the Lakeville 21 theater with my son to see the movie Pacific Rim (2D) at the 10:40am showing. This theater has what they bill as the largest theater screen in Minnesota called their Monster Screen. Recently upgraded to 6500 watt 4k projectors, there is now a $2.00 surcharge to view films on the Monster Screen.
Ticket Purchase and Lobby – Ticket price was $6.75 (matinee price) plus a $2.00 upcharge for the Monster Screen per ticket. Their matinee price is the same as Carmike in Apple Valley, but both are $1.75 more than the Marcus theater in Rosemount. Like all the theaters thus far, they also have special pricing days and other offers, check their webpage for more info. Tickets can be pre-ordered via MovieTickets.com and there is a surcharge/handling charge. As you may note from my picture the facade is very large which I believe is to make it visible from I-35. Tickets are purchased from a line of booths just as you enter. We purchased our tickets and entered the massive lobby. I do not know if this lobby is larger than a place like Carmike, but I know it’s taller. The roof height allows for movie posters all along some walls up high in front of you, to the left, and to the right. Below those walls on the left and right are long concessions counters, and in front is the guy ripping tickets to enter the hallways for the screens. In the middle are some benches, and a number of tall tables that you can set your food on if waiting for the theater to be ready for seating. Lighting in the Lobby was pretty good but with all the windows may be affected by the sunlight outside. They do have some video games off to the side in alcoves. Only one side of concessions were open at the time we arrived, but the other side could be seen getting prepared.
The concessions counters were not blocked by anything and were easy to access, their price list though has gone electronic and like at Regal, and at first i couldn’t see what they had to offer because they were showing an add on one of the screens. I saw half the menu but not the other half. I have been here before though, so I knew what to order but in general the animation stuff blocking the list can slow the process for people. And if you’re there on Friday night for a big new release, slow concessions lines is not what you want. Prices include tax and this is a Coke shop so smuggling in your Diet Pepsi is required. You can get free refills all day on a large popcorn and large pop, something my wife appreciates, as she doesn’t go to movies often so we refill when the movie is over and bring the popcorn home to her. Popcorn seemed unsalted, but they have shakers available if you wish to add more salt. Popcorn flavor was similar to the Marcus theater.
Theater Impressions – We arrived in the theater at 10:20 for a 10:40 and were in our seats by 10:30. Note that if you don’t like walking, the Monster Screen is not for you. The theater layout is in a long run going north to south. Once your ticket is ripped you go left for 8 theaters or right for 11 theaters (actually one is right in front of you, their former main screen). The Monster screen is all the way at the end of the right section. It is so far down that they added another concession stand in that area as well as a set of bathrooms. The concession area was not staffed that morning and didn’t look like it was used much. Lighting in the hallway was somewhat dark, clear enough to see where you are going, but not so much that you notice the quality of the carpet. Digital lighted signs stick out and are visible down the hall with the theater number and show name. Walking into the theater you are in hallway with tall walls and can see just the edge of the screen. While this screen is only about 2 feet bigger than the Carmike Big D, the theater itself appears significantly larger. The theater can seat just under 600 people and has stadium seating with high back chairs that can lean back and the armrests can be lifted out of the way if you want to get closer to your significant other. Seats are covered in cloth and well padded, I noticed no discomfort sitting in them.
When we entered the theater the lighting was bright, and we could easily see the seats as well as all the people (maybe 5 couples) already in the theater. At about 5 minutes before show time the lights dimmed one level, still not theater dark but if you left to get popcorn and then came back you might have trouble finding your seat again. At 10:40 (showtime) the lights dimmed completely, and the full projector started up first showing us that this was a theater used DLP powered projectors.. Once the trailers started I noticed something different here that I hadn’t noticed at the Big D. The sound system was quite loud, and there was an abundance of bass. Both audible bass and sub-frequency as I could feel the floor and chair I was in vibrate especially during the Wolverine trailer. I also noticed a rattle in the top right of the theater due to the heavy bass during the Wolverine trailer. It wasn’t loud like I needed to plug my ears, just generally loud and I was hoping it wouldn’t get too loud during the movie.
The movie started at 10:46, only 6 minutes of trailers which was great since I’d already seen most of them so far and so much better than the endless trailers and Carmike. During the movie I noticed no image issues, with a plenty of detail and not too dark even considering much of the movie is set at night, in the rain, and/or in dark buildings. The sound was excellent, so much so that I felt dragged into the movie more so than i would have expected. I get the feeling that the quality of the sound was due as much with the movie, as perhaps the theater, but it really was stellar. I can’t describe how really good it sounded, but again, it may just be some incredible work by the director and his audio engineer. At a minimum the theater was up to the challenge.
Since my experience at the Regal Theater I was now on the lookout for staff walking into the theater and I did spot a guy once. I did not notice him right away because he didn’t walk under the screen but instead walked up the stairs on my right, all the way to the top of the theater. Again, a clipboard with a white piece of paper was what caught my eye as he moved around. I suggest these guys use a cover sheet of dark paper when moving around to limit the distraction they cause. He didn’t walk under the screen, so it wasn’t as distracting as at the Regal and if he came in a 2nd time I never noticed.
All day free refill on large pop and large popcorn.
Great sound system.
Fabric backed seats with recline and good padding
Staff noticed walking around the theater (white paper is the tell, cover that with something dark)
Long walk to the theater and for refills.
The follow is a list of prices I noted and include tax.
Matinee Ticket – $6.75
Monster Screen Surcharge – $2.00
Large Popcorn – $5.50
Large Pop – $4.00
Candy – $3.00 & $2.50
2 Large Pop and a Large Popcorn – $13.50
Have you been to Lakeville 21? If so what did you think about it? Would you go here over other local theaters knowing their trailers are limited to only a few minutes? Does a long walk to a particular screen bother you? Do you agree that if a staff member walks into the theater they should be doing what they can to hide themselves? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as we’d love to hear what you have to say.