Monday, September 30, 2013

Dorothy, Meet Metallica

In the last couple of weeks, I have watched my first two IMAX 3D films. First, I was able to catch The Wizard of Oz up at the TCL (Grauman's) Chinese Theater. Then, last Friday night, I sat with a large crowd at the local AMC IMAX in Riverside to catch Metallica: Through the Never. These are the perfect juxtaposed films to discuss in a single post, in my opinion.

I am not a big fan of 3D, but I am a little more forgiving when the movie was at least shot in 3D. The Wizard of Oz has seen numerous restorations and re-releases. The last digital restoration was in 2009 and now we have another restoration along with a 3D conversion. I found the 3D titles to be captivating but as for the rest of the film, the 3D was basically detectable in only a handful of sequences. Overall, I found it unnecessary. That being said, the film looked fantastic in IMAX. The fear of a large grainy, blown up image, was put at ease. There were some fantastic details I had not seen, such as the rivets on the Tin Man.  I also noticed that the fishing line holding up the Lion's tail was non-existent in this version.  Overall, I was once again reminded that films that were never intended in 3D, should just stay that way, in 2D.

There was something very enjoyable about hearing Judy Garland sing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" in IMAX proportions. The same can be said for watching James Hetfield sing "Master of Puppets" in the third dimension, as well as in front of a wall of sound.  I am not a huge Metallica fan and was the only male audience member not wearing a Metallica shirt, but I was surprised by the fact that I was familiar with every song played in the movie. That could also be due to the fact that it was basically a "greatest hits" type of set list.  But he movie was not just a concert film. There was also a thin plot about a young roadie who was tasked to go retrieve a bag from a truck that had run out of gas in the middle of the city. A crazy adventure ensues that involves riots, angry dogs and a living doll.

Through The Never, reminded me about the last concert film I saw in a theater, Shine a Light, the Rolling Stones film from 2008. Much like the Metallica film, it showcased a band that is timeless, sharp as ever and the definition of longevity.  This was the perfect time (August 2012 concert dates) to put Metallica on 3D film.

Both The Wizard of Oz and Metallica: TTN, had small releases, just over 300 screens. It is hard to say if there will be a profit made in the box office.  Through The Never had a $18 million dollar budget and getting Oz into 3D was north of that amount.  Oz will continue making money, regardless. It is available tomorrow on Blu-ray and in 3D, if you've got the equipment for that.  And Through The Never will likely recoup it's investment via DVD and soundtrack sales.  Maybe it will turn into a IMAX midnight movie, who knows?

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