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Apollo 13: The IMAX Experience


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#1 of 58 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted September 20 2002 - 06:00 PM

Via Roger Ebert's Sun-Times webpage.............


BY ROGER EBERT:

At a time when screens and theaters grow smaller and movie palaces are a thing of the past, the new practice of re-releasing films in the IMAX format is a thrilling step in the opposite direction. Ron Howard's "Apollo 13," which opens today at the IMAX theater at Navy Pier, looks bold and crisp on the big screen, and the sound has never sounded better--perhaps couldn't have ever sounded better, because IMAX uses some 70 speakers.

Although it takes place largely in outer space, "Apollo 13" isn't the kind of adventure saga that needs the bigger screen so its effects play better. "Star Wars," which is headed for IMAX theaters, fits that definition. "Apollo 13" is a thrilling drama that plays mostly within enclosed spaces: The space capsule, mission control and the homes of those waiting in suspense on Earth.

The film re-creates the saga of the Apollo 13 mission, which was aborted after an onboard explosion crippled the craft on its way to the moon. In a desperate exercise of improvisation, crew members and the ground support staff figure out how to return the craft safely to Earth, cannibalize life-support from both the mother capsule and the lunar landing module, and navigate into a terrifyingly narrow angle between too steep (the craft would burn up in the atmosphere) and too shallow (it would skip off and fly forever into space).

Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon play astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert, respectively. On Earth, the key roles are by Gary Sinise, as the left-behind astronaut Ken Mattingly, who uses a flight simulator to help improvise a solution; Ed Harris, who is cool-headed flight director Gene Kranz, and Kathleen Quinlan, as Lovell's wife, Marilyn, who tries to explain to their children that "something broke on Daddy's spaceship."

The movie has been trimmed by about 20 minutes for the IMAX release. Filmed in widescreen, it has been cropped from the sides to fit the IMAX format. Neither change bothered me. Although I am an opponent of pan-and-scan in general, I understand when it is used to maximize a different projection format. The detail and impact of the IMAX screen essentially creates a new way of looking at the film.

#2 of 58 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted September 20 2002 - 06:01 PM

Has anyone taken a look at Apollo 13 in IMAX form?

#3 of 58 OFFLINE   Terrell

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Posted September 20 2002 - 06:54 PM

Quote:
The movie has been trimmed by about 20 minutes for the IMAX release. Filmed in widescreen, it has been cropped from the sides to fit the IMAX format. Neither change bothered me. Although I am an opponent of pan-and-scan in general, I understand when it is used to maximize a different projection format. The detail and impact of the IMAX screen essentially creates a new way of looking at the film.


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#4 of 58 OFFLINE   Michael St. Clair

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Posted September 21 2002 - 01:55 AM

Roger Ebert isn't god.

Frankly, he completely misses the boat sometimes (early David Lynch movies). He's also revised his opionion before (he panned Blade Runner initially). He might change his mind about this someday. Whatever. I guess it's easy for some to use one man's opinion as the last word when it coincides with their own (and have you even seen the movie yet?)

David, pasting in that much of the review (is it the whole thing?) pushes the limits of 'fair use'.

#5 of 58 OFFLINE   Greg Kettell

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Posted September 21 2002 - 03:27 AM

Quote:
The movie has been trimmed by about 20 minutes for the IMAX release. Filmed in widescreen, it has been cropped from the sides to fit the IMAX format. Neither change bothered me. Although I am an opponent of pan-and-scan in general, I understand when it is used to maximize a different projection format. The detail and impact of the IMAX screen essentially creates a new way of looking at the film.


How does trimming the movie by 20 minutes do anything but increase the number of showtimes?

The cropping is a little more understandable on the IMAX screen, since the whole point is to fill the field of view. But "maximizing a different projection format" is what the proponents of pan & scan claim to want to do as well.

#6 of 58 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted September 21 2002 - 03:49 AM

Quote:
How does trimming the movie by 20 minutes do anything but increase the number of showtimes?
Because the projectors weren't really designed for motion pictures original, and so the maximum running time for an IMAX projector is less than the running time of either AOTC or Apollo 13.
Quote:
The cropping is a little more understandable on the IMAX screen, since the whole point is to fill the field of view. But "maximizing a different projection format" is what the proponents of pan & scan claim to want to do as well.
Agreed.

#7 of 58 OFFLINE   Terrell

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Posted September 21 2002 - 04:37 AM

Quote:
Frankly, he completely misses the boat sometimes (early David Lynch movies).


I agree. I don't even like Ebert as a critic the way I used to. The man is filled with contradictions and hypocrisy in many of his reviews over the last couple of years. I just found it funny that an extremely knowledgeable film purist echoed those statements, with the arguments we had here.

Just got a chuckle out of it. Not trying to say I was right. Aw what the hell, I was right.Posted Image Just kidding.

#8 of 58 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted September 21 2002 - 08:25 AM

Ebert's been replaced by a replicant! Call Harrison Ford!

#9 of 58 OFFLINE   Terrell

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Posted September 21 2002 - 10:29 AM

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Ebert's been replaced by a replicant! Call Harrison Ford!


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#10 of 58 OFFLINE   Seth Paxton

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Posted September 21 2002 - 08:00 PM

Leonard Maltin's review was very similar.

And he also made a point to mention the time cuts made for IMAX (as if that were a bad thing) but pointed out that the cuts were well-done and supervised by the director.

It's not Apollo 13, it's Apollo 13:IMAX. I suppose if everyone keeps sight of that then I have no problem with it.

I don't think Ebert, nor Maltin, were supporting this version over the correct version. But both were sure impressed by the sound and vision from the resulting efforts to convert this film.

I guess we can call that a success for Howard.

BTW, Maltin also mentioned that the digital process to clean up the grain that would be more apparent from the blow up had worked very well. He said it looked quite nice.


To all of this I bring up the point I brought up in regards to the AOTC version....hello, 70mm. No cuts needed, no framing problems. Nuff said.

Promote the format, give the projection systems some of the support we are seeing for inferior digital systems, and learn from these IMAX efforts in regards to making good 35mm to 70mm blow-ups in the future. Then make 70mm the "new" IMAX. The $10 speciality film with limited theaters.

You guys tell me. If LOTR:TTT were released in the top 50 markets in 70mm blow-ups (ala this IMAX process), would you go see it for $6-$8 at the regular theater, or would you go to the speciality theater?

The 70mm wouldn't make mainstream theater money, but it would do a lot better than IMAX since it would/could feature first run films. I would dare say there would be a fair market for classic 70mm films too.

And I think HT has advanced those demands as "newbies" discover the fact that films like Ben-Hur were meant to be seen ultra big/wide.

#11 of 58 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted September 22 2002 - 02:27 AM

Quote:
The movie has been trimmed by about 20 minutes for the IMAX release. Filmed in widescreen, it has been cropped from the sides to fit the IMAX format.

Why would I get in my car, drive to the theater and pay my hard-earned money to watched a cropped and edited film? Just because it's on a bigger screen than the cropped, edited version shown by network television? I think I'll pass.

#12 of 58 OFFLINE   Josh Lowe

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Posted September 22 2002 - 04:41 AM

(sarcasm)Scott, you must be some kind of extremist to have that radical point of view.(/sarcasm)

#13 of 58 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted September 22 2002 - 05:20 AM

Josh, I think it's more the difference between 400 posts and 4000

SInce this is a pro-OAR group, wouldn't it stand to reason that no matter how big the screen, chop and crop is chop & crop?

#14 of 58 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted September 22 2002 - 05:43 AM

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Scott, you must be some kind of extremist to have that radical point of view.
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#15 of 58 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted September 22 2002 - 01:15 PM

Josh, I think it's more the difference between 400 posts and 4000

The number of posts has nothing to do with it! By the way, I along with three other HTF Moderators watched the IMAX version of Apollo 13. Though, I enjoyed it for what is was, I wouldn't want to see it again, but it was interesting seeing it in that format.



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#16 of 58 OFFLINE   Damin J Toell

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Posted September 22 2002 - 01:20 PM

Quote:
Scott, you must be some kind of extremist to have that radical point of view.


Scott is an "extremist" for not wanting to spend his time and money on a non-OAR presentation? That view is anything but extreme here at HTF. Indeed, it seems perfectly reasonable to me. What's so off the wall about it, exactly?

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#17 of 58 OFFLINE   Scott Merryfield

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Posted September 22 2002 - 02:09 PM

Josh, I do not consider myself an "extremist". However, I do not expect a cropped film to suddenly look acceptable just because it's shown on a really big screen. I do not watch panned & scanned, edited for content/length movies on television, so why would I spend money and drive to a theater to do the same thing?

I never saw Fantasia 2000 at an IMAX theater. Was this also cropped, or was it shown in its wider aspect ratio?

#18 of 58 OFFLINE   Josh Lowe

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Posted September 22 2002 - 02:18 PM

Sorry guys, I should have put the (sarcasm) tag around my reply. I totally agree with Scott's viewpoint and repeatedly voiced the same opinion in the thread regarding the hacking up of SW: attack of the klones IMAX thread. I was branded an extremist for my views.

#19 of 58 OFFLINE   Seth Paxton

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Posted September 23 2002 - 02:06 AM

Scott,

I think the cropping of Fantasia 2000 came for the regular theatrical and DVD releases rather than the original IMAX presentation. I remember this being discussed awhile back too.

But wouldn't OAR for Fantasia 2000 have a lot to do with the O part of that, and it originally ran in IMAX theaters before being converted for regular theaters and DVD.

That aside, I thought F2K was made for the IMAX film cell anyway (except for the Mickey original segment that had to be blown up - and looked dreadful in comparison to the new stuff).

#20 of 58 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted September 23 2002 - 02:12 AM

Actually, F2K was originally made for 35mm, with IMAX being a later addition. The difference is that Disney could re-color it for IMAX.
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