Apple announced a new version of iMovie this month, and yet I had still never sat down and looked at the old one (iMovie '08). iMovie '08 was a ground up rewrite that took away a lot of the functionality that had been present in previous versions in favor of a more simplistic approach that was ostensibly quicker and easier to use.
So, to try it out, I put together a little highlight reel of the kids opening Christmas presents:
My conclusion from making this is that iMovie '08 is a piece of crap. If I had never used editing software on a computer before, iMovie '08 probably have been easier and quicker to make a simple movie like this from start to finish. But, for me, it took way longer than iMovie '06 would have because I kept looking for things that just weren't there. For example, I spent an hour trying to figure out how to change the length of an individual transition (apparently, you can't; you can change the length of all transitions in the project, though), and another hour on how to change the volume on a song that you've added (you can't do that, but you can go to every single clip in your timeline and use the "ducking" option to make sure that your background audio is appropriately muted).
I would just keep using iMovie '06 for anything, but it doesn't transcode AVCHD files from my new camcorder natively, so I'd have to transcode those in some other program first. Still, that would most likely be worth it for the extra functionality.
iMovie '09 has added a lot of features that make it seem like it might be enough for me, but I still fear it might not be all the way back to what iMovie '06 had.