Booze, Baseball, and another "B"

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Beyond the Infinite....

Last night I had the opportunity to take in one of the Cinerama's limited screenings of 2001: A Space Odyssey, in 70mm.

Going into the film, I was expecting a poor presentation. The Cinerama had the print listed as "B" quality, so I figured it was going to be tough to get through. It turned out that the biggest difficulty was how poorly the employees handled the print in the projector. There were a couple of instances where the sound was off, one instance where the film stopped, and then they decided to not show the intermission from the film and instead just stopped it a few mintutes before the normal intermission. Maybe there was some sort of reasoning for that, such as the 70mm print not including the intermission which was on the 35mm versions, I don't know. I do know that they decided the stop the film in a bit of an awkward spot, and they should have retained the orignal spot. On top of those things there was print damage, but the damage to the print wasn't what took away from the viewing.

Regardless of what you think of 2001, it was fantastic to be able to see it in 70mm at the Cinerama. The level of detail was amazing, and the colors were incredibly vibrant. The beginning "Dawn of Man" scenes were so sharp, it was like you were there. I was really amazed.

It was also nice to be able to take in a classic film at a venue that isn't a run down art house theater. While I love the art house just as much as the next guy, that doesn't mean that I don't like: a 3-stories-tall screen, asskicking sound, and comfortable seating. I was again reminded last night that I wished I could own the Cinerama. It's such a great theater, and AMC does such a horrible job running it. They broke the DLP projector they bought in time to show Star Wars Episode II, and last night it seemed as though they may have added to the damage suffered by the 2001 print. Just how many of those prints do you think are lying around? I can't say with first-hand knowledge, but it just seems like the people working there just don't care, and don't understand what they're dealing with or the significance of where they're working. And those criticisms aren't even touching on the gawd-awful management, keeping movies there for weeks or months past the time they were making money, creating a stale environments and taking away from filmgoers' enthusiasm of the theater (a lot of people there last night were at the Cinerama for the first time).

After seeing the film last night, my interest in the recent Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD release has been rekindled. When they first came out (back in December I think), I was mildly interested, but I didn't think the presentation would be all that great for a 40 year old film. Seeing what I saw last night, I think that the high def versions of 2001 could be amazing. Certainly considering picking one up.

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