Thursday, March 21, 2013

Top Gun in IMAX 3D #Review

Back in February (I know, I know) I saw Top Gun in 3D IMAX. Originally made in 1986, it instantly became one of my favorite movies of all time. For those of you doing the math, yes, I first saw the movie at a VERY young age - I loved the flying scenes. Perhaps this helps explain one of my 2011 goals. I'm honestly not 100% sure what my parents were thinking, but they did expose me to one of the greatest films of our age.

Given my love of the movie, it should be no surprise that I was PUMPED when I heard it would be in 3D IMAX. When I learned about it, I didn't ask Jessi if I could go, I asked if she wanted to join me. I was going no matter what.

Jessi and I don't subscribe to Netflix, but instead purposely spend money on movies we want to watch (either in theaters or via iTunes). We actually save a tiny bit of money, and more importantly, spend our time on more intentional activities. So don't take what I'm about to share lightly: Not only did I spend $31 on tickets, I drove 45 miles each way to see it, and took Jessi out for dinner as a thank you for putting up with my crazy fascinations. This whole evening cost $50 and took up 5 hours of my life.

Was it worth it? You bet!

And now I'm going to extend the fun by reviewing a 1986 film re-released for 3D IMAX, over one month after I saw it.

Camera filters are magical. When I first took this picture, all I saw was a black picture.

Why do Top Gun in 3D IMAX at all? Because it's sure thing to make money. Top Gun was, and still is, incredibly popular (fun fact: I once tried to buy ... The owner rejected my offer.) So by re-releasing it in a new format, they were sure to make money. See Star Wars as a never ending example.

When doing the touch-ups, they mostly focused on the faces. Many times there were see-the-pours-in-their-skin-clear on the screen while the background looked like it was stretched and fuzzy. It took a little while to get used to it. I kind of want to see The Hobbit in IMAX 3D (40fps of course) to see the difference.

The 3D was interesting during the flight scenes. They did a good job of giving the planes more depth so you could tell which was further away. One strange thing was that a lot of the plane shots were cut off. I suspect it was done originally to make you feel closer to the action. As a result of the original frame, wings that got cut off became painfully obvious. It just looked wrong.

Night scenes, like this one pictured above, looked horrible. That's to be expected because all dark shots are hard to do well. Eventually, I just had to let it go... I know the studios are as going to (or maybe already did) Jurassic Park. I wonder how it would look given all the night shots. Being a new movie probably helps.

The classic awesome scenes were still awesome. One thing I really liked was the volume. It was LOUD. Every time a plane flew by the entire theater quaked. Also, whenever one of it's many excellent songs started blasting in, it made it easy to get pumped.

Here's a picture I took at the end. Would I go see any of the other re-released movies? Probably not. The picture quality is actually a bit distracting. I think it has to do with a miss-alignment of expectations: IMAX 3D should be mind-blowingly life-like. But it's not because of cost. Clearly the studios only want to invest enough to touch-up the main parts of the shot, not the entire scene. Until they start touching up the entire scene, I'll probably keep to iTunes for older movies.

If you have  favorite movie that comes out in IMAX 3D, I think it's worth it to check it out. At the very least you know you'll enjoy the film.

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