Note: I had planned to post this on Friday, but with a new trailer debuting that day stating a certain film would be released in IMAX, I decided to give it one more day to see if a press release would be issued. No such luck.
FOR FIGURING OUT A BETTER WAY TO GET PRINTS TO THE BOOTH: WACHOVIA IMAX THEATRE
When designing traditional big box IMAX theaters, most architects are careful to make sure the projection booths are well designed to meet the needs of the projection staff. The trip from the loading dock to the booth is another matter altogether, and is often made difficult for the transport of large equipment and film platters and cases by small elevators and complicated routes. Having personally picked up a DMR print at this Raleigh, NC theater, part of the Marbles Kids Museum, I can attest that the route to the booth involves as many turns as a NASCAR track. But theater management figured out a way to eliminate this problem altogether – by eliminating film prints altogether. The Wachovia IMAX Theatre is one of the first generation of giant screen theaters to switch to digital projection. What involved three cases of film, each one at least 50 inches in diameter, is a thing of the past, as that one movie I picked up would now fit on a single hard drive.
FOR CREATING A FAMILY-FRIENDLY VERSION OF 300: ZACK SNYDER
“Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Gahoul” was advertised as being “from the studio that brought you Happy Feet,” and indeed it was, Warner Brothers and animation studio Animal Logic. And even though he appeared in promotional videos, there was no mention that director Zack Snyder was the man behind “Dawn of the Dead,” “Watchmen,” and the upcoming “Sucker Punch.” Released at a time when children were back in school, this exposé on forced child labor proved nothing more than a remake of Snyder’s “300” without blood, disguised as family-friendly fare. The film performed so poorly that it was pulled from IMAX digital theaters in favor of Paramount’s low-budget horror film “Paranormal Activity 2.” What’s worse is that by continuing to court Warner Brothers and Snyder, IMAX missed out on what could have been the first drama to succeed in the DMR format, David Fincher’s “The Social Network,” which opened a week after Snyder’s disasterous attempt at a film for the little ones.
FOR ANNOUNCING A MAJOR MARVEL COMIC HERO’S APPEARANCE IN IMAX WITHOUT ANNOUNCING HIS APPEARANCE IN IMAX: IMAX CORPORATION AND PARAMOUNT PICTURES
It’s been on booking sheets issued by IMAX to theaters for months. Trailers have been touting it in IMAX since December 17. An ad aired during the Superbowl clearly stated it would be playing in IMAX. Even after all this, there still has been no official announcement by IMAX or Paramount about “Thor” being released in IMAX, not even in the big film deal announced by the two studios on Jan 12 of this year. The movie also does not appear anywhere on IMAX’s website. Of course, Paramount is just the distributor on this. There’s a larger, more powerful studio that actually owns the film.
FOR RETURNING TO IMAX 3D AFTER A MORE THAN TEN YEAR HIATUS: STEPHEN LOW
The Kinotech Blog highly recommends reading “Large Screen 3D – Aesthetic and Technical Considerations,” which appeared in vol.3, no.4 of Perforations. The piece is written by Canadian filmmaking legend Colin Low, who had worked with Roman Kroiter on the Expo 67 film “In the Labyrinth,” a multiscreen project that would lead Kroiter to join with Graeme Ferguson and Robert Kerr to develop the single projector IMAX system. Low would go on to co-direct two revolutionary IMAX films for Vancouver’s Expo 86, “Momentum,” the first IMAX HD film, projected at 48fps, and “Transitions,” the first IMAX 3D film to utilize polarized glasses (A film that Low consulted on, “We Are Born of Stars,” released a year earlier, was actually the first IMAX film in 3D, but utilized anaglyph glasses on a dome screen). His son, Stephen Low, would bring IMAX 3D to the mainstream, with his signature film “Across the Sea of Time,” created for the SONY IMAX Lincoln Square in New York City (the film featured a score by the late John Barry, who also scored “Born Free,” “Dances with Wolves,” and the majority of the James Bond films). After a second 3D film about Mark Twain, Stephen Low returned to the flat plane of the screen, making films about Beavers, racing cars, the Titanic, and fighter jets. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen him return to his best in the third dimension, with two major films co-produced by K2 communications, “Ultimate Wave Tahiti with Kelly Slater” and “Legends of Flight.” Here’s hoping that Stephen remains in the third dimension, where he is a master of the format, carrying forth the legacy of his father, and his own impressive filmmaking legacy as well.
FOR BEING A COOLER TORNADO CHASER THAN THE GUY WHO PLAYED A TORNADO CHASER WHO’S NARRATING YOUR MOVIE ABOUT YOU CHASING TORNADOES: SEAN CASEY
He’s the star of “Twister.” He’s narrating “Tornado Alley,” a film about tornado chasing that stars Sean Casey, son of famed IMAX filmmaker George Casey (“Africa: The Serengeti,” “Forces of Nature”). He’s Bill Paxton. But he can’t compare to Sean, who’s also the star of the Discovery Channel show “Stormchasers,” which in part profiles his creation of a tank-like camera vehicle, the Tornado Intercept Vehicle (TIV) and his attempt to film a tornado from the inside with IMAX cameras. And now Sean’s completed his IMAX movie about chasing tornadoes with the TIV in an effort to film them from the inside and it’s narrated by Bill Paxton, who starred as a tornado chaser in another film. Sound about as confusing as trying to figure out where a tornado is about to hit? Not really. Witness the inside of a tornado on the giant screen next month in Sean Casey’s “Tornado Alley,” narrated by Bill Paxton.
FOR THE MOST ENJOYABLE 3D MUSIC VIDEO I’VE EVER SEEN IN A HOTEL BALLROOM: OK GO
It’s already been covered here on The Blog. But here you are for an encore (in 2D). Winner best live action video at the Stereoscopic Displays and Applications conference 2011. Dogs. Goat. OK Go.
FOR MAKING ME A FAN OF PAUL W.S. ANDERSON FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER: GLEN MCPHERSON
There are two Paul Anderson’s. There’s the one that makes Oscar-caliber films like “Magnolia” and “There Will Be Blood!” And then there’s this Brit, who’s responsible for such popcorn fare as “Mortal Combat” and “Death Race.” I’ve often treated W.S. as B-movie fare with A-budget effects. His movies are what I Netflix. But on a dare to myself, I went and saw the latest “Resident Evil” film in a theater and enjoyed it. Not because of the film, which actually was about as crappy as his other works, but because of the 3D. When I say 3D, I’m not talking about the extensive CG effects that break the plane. I strictly blame Anderson on that. I’m also not talking about the Pace 3D rig that was used in its live action filming (the same system used on “Avatar,” “TRON Legacy,” and “Sanctum”). I’m sure that in the wrong hands, even something filmed with a Pace camera rig will like crap. It’s because of McPherson. He understands 3D. He understands that for it to be truly effective, the majority of the action must take place behind the plane, effectively extending the field of view. He does this with his live action photography. I first admired McPherson’s work on “The Final Destination,” a horror film that took its cue from the original Vincent Price “House of Wax,” with only one or two images evoking positive-z. Both “The Final Destination” and “House of Wax” are among the most comfortable non-giant screen 3D experiences I’ve ever had. I’m now looking forward to Anderson’s “The Three Musketeers.” Again, not because of Anderson, but because McPherson knows where the image should be in 3D.