Omniversum: That’s One Gigantic Film

Heather Tucker, Thursday, June 6, 2013

Despite visiting the nearby photography museum each month, I have never seen a single person go into the IMAX theatre in The Hague known as Omniversum. So it was really no surprise that when I walked into reception I was all alone apart from a small children’s birthday party off to the left. I had just missed the showing of The Living Sea so I was going to be watching Born to be Wild, a story about an elephant and an orangutan rescue centre, instead. With Omniversum’s emphasis on sharing knowledge about human life, nature and the planet this seemed to be a good fit.

Since I had some time to spare I browsed the gift shop, grabbed a bite to eat and watched the screen showing advertisements of other films that were being shown throughout the week. The small birthday party group was being quizzed in front of the large glass window that looked down onto the projector room. Despite not being part of the group I did learn that the film for one movie (which lasts around 50 minutes) is 4.5 kilometres long and weighs between 80-100 kilograms. That put things in perspective!

Entering the theatre was already quite impressive. The large screen reminded me a bit of my childhood visits to the planetarium and it can be a steep climb to the top of the hall. Luckily the exit is at the top of the room because the alternative, going down all those steep stairs, was a little less attractive.

The theatre did eventually have a couple of other groups in it, including the birthday group. Just before the film started a notice showed up to say that if you felt unwell it could usually be resolved by closing your eyes. Not the most optimistic message before a fun filled film but I was glad to know there was an easy solution.

Films at Omniversum are almost always in Dutch, so don’t be fooled by the “narrated by Morgan Freeman” or similar messages that show in the opening credits. It is possible to listen in English via earphones (extra charge) that plug into your seat.

Luckily, I didn’t have any need to close my eyes during the film (although were a few moments when things went a little fuzzy)  and I have to admit that having everything as large as it was and feeling like the theatre hall was moving was quite the exciting experience. And judging by how quiet the children from the birthday party group were, apart from some laughter during the funny parts, I am guessing they loved it as well.