Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Reel Facts & Opinions: IMAX or LIE-MAX?

FACT: In a move designed to promote the upcoming blu-ray release of THE ADVENTURES OF INDIANA JONES, Paramount Pictures will re-release RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK in select IMAX theatres for a very limited run in September.
In a similar move, the Alamo Drafthouse theatre chain will also be running select films in the IMAX format for a limited run; select films such as INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, GHOSTBUSTERS, WEST SIDE STORY, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming THE MASTER.

The IMAX format has the ability to capture and display images of a greater size and resolution than conventional film systems.
Sounds great, eh? But not so fast…

OPINION:  Just a few years ago, the Industry realized it could make a few more buck$ by slapping (converting) the (goddamn) 3D format on nearly every movie under the sun. For decades prior to that realization, seeing a movie which was created with the third dimension in mind was a fun trip to the theatre. However, the Industry abused and exploited the format so badly; people got sick of it and eventually realized the gimmick of it. Now it seems the Industry is all set to abuse another cinematic format; IMAX.
Here’s the problem with re-releasing films like RAIDERS and GHOSTBUSTERS in IMAX; they were not filmed in the larger 65 or 70mm format and therefore do not benefit from an IMAX conversion. Real IMAX films, which are shot on the larger 65/70mm film stock, look fantastic because they were built to take advantage of that larger screen. When a filmmaker is shooting on 65/70mm, they know they have a larger canvas (frame) to work with, so they frame their shots accordingly; getting as much in the frame as possible.  With RAIDERS being shot in the conventional (and smaller) 35mm film format, the existing picture, with less in the frame, is only being made bigger. And whether or not bigger means better is up to you, the viewer to decide.

The bigger issue is if the Industry will now abuse IMAX the same way they did with (goddamn) 3D by releasing traditional 35mm films in the bigger format. If such abuse diminished the impact of very good-looking, made-for-3D films, then it could diminish films which actually contain IMAX-sized footage; films like 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, BEN HUR, THE DARK KNIGHT, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming THE MASTER. With so many films being released in IMAX, it would be difficult for the average moviegoer to sort the genuine from the fake.
Re-releasing older films in the theatres is a great, great thing, but the world knows that RAIDERS is a strong enough film to survive without any added feature. This Blogger lives and breathes for the big-screen experience, but let’s not make the glorious format of IMAX another laughing stock of the industry.

What say you?


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