Film has the power to be transformative.
That’s something officials with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema understand.
It became clear yesterday during a media tour of Alamo’s new Springfield theater that an enhancement to the city’s culture is here.
Starting in the lobby, the theater is more of an experience than I’ve personally ever had at a movie venue.
The lobby and hallways are themed after Stanley Kubrick’s classic film, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Scenes are depicted on the walls, a large recreation of the HAL 9000 artificial intelligence is present immediately, and the hallways give the feel of walking in a spaceship. It’s way cool, and you can certainly feel the tender loving caring that went in to creating the effect.
Delving back further into the theater, classic movie posters, such as “Rollerball,” mix with new films to create a mixture of nostalgia and futurology.
That effect continues inside the theater, where we’re shown clips from the super campy 1974 flick, “Super Stooges vs the Wonder Women,” before a trailer for the upcoming comedy “The Big Sick.”
Workers are sneaky as they place popcorn — and yes, it’s bottomless — and water on a table by our electric-reclining seats. They duck and move swiftly to avoid blocking the screen. We were shown one of the seven theater rooms now open — only half launched for the soft opening yesterday.
Inside the theater, guests have access to a full menu — including Springfield-style cashew chicken — and a bevy of alcoholic beverages. Local favorites from Mother’s Brewing Co., Springfield Brewing Co. and White River Brewing Co. are on tap among 48 beers at launch.
Guests write down their orders at their seats as employees quietly fill them.
Back near the lobby, I’m told Alamo’s in-house restaurant The Backlot features the giant chandelier from the former Campbell 16. We weren’t allowed into The Backlot as it isn’t yet finished, but as far as I can tell, that will be the last vestige of Campbell 16 besides the horse mural on the rear exterior. The private theater rooms also sound neat, but we weren’t shown them either.
My overall first experience with the Alamo is it brings a big-city, super cool vibe to Springfield.
When community officials discuss the need to attract and retain younger professionals in the community, this kind of trendy amenity is part of what they’re talking about.
Welcome to Springfield, Alamo.
Below are a sampling of photos I shot during the tour.
The exterior looks exactly like the rendering provided to us several months ago.
The lobby has low ceilings and a recreation of the HAL 9000 artificial intelligence from “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
The love of films is clearly visible.
I love these hallways. The “2001: A Space Odyssey” influence is again visible.
The classic film posters give a touch of nostalgia.
I’d be remiss not to include the poster for “2001: A Space Odyssey.” I’m sure Alamo will show the film at some point, but it’s not yet on the schedule.