View Full Version : Apollo 13 - T Minus 20 Minutes, literally!

09-21-2002, 11:37 PM
Well, well, well! Mrs. JediCole and I went to the Cinemark IMAX theatre today to see Apollo 13: The IMAX Experience. I was looking forward to this since we found out that one of our favorite films was being remastered for the GIANT screen of the IMAX theatre.

Well, when we got settled into our seats, a neighboring audience member got talking to us and revealed something we did not know. The film we were about to see was not only digitally remastered and reformatted for the 70mm IMAX print, it was EDITED FOR TIME!

Now bear in mind, I don't blame the folks at IMAX, given what I was told for the reasons behind the editing. It turns out that 120 minutes is the maxiumum running time for an IMAX film. Because the projector uses a single reel (not multiple reels like conventional, commercial movie theatres), a reel that is gigantic! Unfortunatly, it seems that the creators of these projectors never anticipated a time when traditional, big studio films of lenghts over 120 minutes (like Apollo 13 and the upcoming Star Wars Episode II) to be remastered for their screens. So as a result, there is no room on the reel for approximatly 20 minutes in the case of Apollo 13, and it appears, at least 23 minutes of Attack of the Clones come November!

I really posted this thread not so much to complain as to inform. Given the limitations of IMAX projectors, there is nothing to be done. I feel fortunate that someone happened to tell us that the film had been cut down by 20 minutes. If I had not known that ahead of time, I would have wondered what happend! I know Apollo 13 almost as intimatly as I do the Star Wars films. And I would have noticed at least the better part of what was cut, if not all of it! Knowing that things were going to be missing certainly made me mindful, but there were some scenes cut short that were painfully obvious if you are expecting to see something that is now gone.

In defense of those involved in bringing Apollo 13 to IMAX, the edits were, for the most part, well done. Not like the kind of thing you get when network television butchers a film for time, giving no thought to what they cut out, just that they cut out what they have no time to air. For the most part the film will not suffer much for those who have not seen it, or do not remember nearly every second of the original cut. However, if you do, you will find a few rather important aspects missing, at least from the standpoint of the big picture.

09-21-2002, 11:48 PM
Cole, can you actually see the reel at your IMAX ?
The one near me has the projector room surrounded by glass, so we can watch the film being respooled after the prior showing.
Very fun ! :)

09-21-2002, 11:50 PM
OAR and ORT or No Sale! That is a total raping of the movie, just so they can fit it into a 2-hour running time. Nice to see that the bottom line and a few greenbacks will make anyone ignore their artistic morals. I'm disapointed in Lucas as well, for letting his film be butchered for IMAX. And I thought his decision to release P&S versions of the Star Wars movies was bad. I'm equally disapointed in anyone that would pay good money to see a film hacked to bits. :mad: :(


Jar Jar Binks

Exhaust Port
09-21-2002, 11:55 PM
What was the movie experience like? I just found out from a friend today of the upcoming AOTC in IMAX this November and I can't wait.

09-22-2002, 12:37 AM
I couldn't agree with you more JJB. Not only are you paying for less picture, but also less running time.

09-22-2002, 10:33 AM
Originally posted by Exhaust Port
What was the movie experience like? I just found out from a friend today of the upcoming AOTC in IMAX this November and I can't wait.

Well, the movie experience was unlike any other. On a screen that size, minute details become almost obvious and the sound system is so elaborate that you hear the slightest background dialogue. In several shots of Mission Control, you could overhear someone in the background asking if anyone had a lighter and other little bits of casual conversation.

I too WAS looking forward to AOTC on the IMAX screen. That is until I found out that what already seemed trimmed for time would loose an additional 23 minutes minimum! I doubt I was the only person who felt that there were at least somewhat crucial scenes or segments that were lost in the final cut of AOTC. I had the profound sense that there were points in AOTC that were lacking something. And with the IMAX print, it will have all the chopped up flavor of Men in Black II.

Exhaust Port
09-22-2002, 12:45 PM
Maybe they'll cut out all the romance junk and leave everything else. I don't need to see a 4 story tall awkward love scene. It'll be an once in a lifetime opportunity so I'll be there even with 23 minutes less movie.

09-22-2002, 07:38 PM
I think several minutes in the droid foundry will be chopped as well as some Kamino footage. Maybe a little bit of the speeder chase as well?

09-22-2002, 07:40 PM
Most likely quite a bit of the very beginning will be cut, which it should be cause it's kinda boring.

09-22-2002, 09:44 PM
Cole, does the IMAX near you have a flat screen, or is it domed like the one around here?
Those domes are awesome ! :)

09-22-2002, 11:04 PM
To answer both of your questions, there are at least two IMAX theatres around here, at least two I've visited anyway. There is a domed one at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the one I've visited the most. And I agree, the domed screens are too cool. Does the one near you turn the lights off in the auditorium and turn them on behind the screen so you can see the elaborate sound system before the show? The museum one has a projection booth glassed in that you pass on the way in to the auditorium so you can see the gigantic reel. Also, back to the dome, it is quite disorienting going in because of the pitch of thd dome and the angle of some of the architecture. You really get a bit of vertigo heading to your seat.

The one where Mrs. JediCole and I saw Apollo 13 was one of the new commercial ones, attached to a regular multiscreen theatre in Dallas. It was my first visit to that one and they had a flat screen (five or six stories tall by eight stories wide). I did not notice any place to see the projector as you entered, so I doubt you can there.

And then, at the end of the movie, the audience was asked to take time to answer a brief survey in exchange for free passes. We waited in line patiently and with only one couple in front of us, both we and the that couple were told, "Oops! We're out of surveys and passses! You just wasted 15-20 minutes!" The lady of that other couple was quite ****ed and the survey takers were just prepared to dismiss her. Mrs. JediCole decided to join them and we all managed to get free passes to anything in the future, so we will be seeing AOTC on IMAX for free!

Ironically I will also be seeing Red Dragon at the same theatre for free on October 1! I got two passes for two people free for calling into a Texas-based cable TV movie review show (my second time to have my call on the air for that show)!

Exhaust Port
09-23-2002, 12:22 PM
Wow, I haven't even heard of this flat screen IMAX. So whats the big deal then if it's not shown in the domed theater? Its just a bigger version of a conventional theater? I could just sit in the front row of my local cineplex and get the same experience. It looks like I'll have to check what kind of IMAX screen they're showing it at locally before I decide to go now. Darn, I was pretty excited about this too. :(

09-24-2002, 10:44 PM
Though the commercial IMAX screens are more likely to be flat, rather than domed (like in many museums), the experience is not remotely like "sitting on the front row". For one thing, if it wre as simple as all that, there would be no need to entirely reformat an existing film to the IMAX format. IMAX is not simply a normal movie screen times three or four. If you look at the normal movie screen, it describes a rectangular form, the flat IMAX screen is more square in its configuration.

The other real difference is that on the IMAX screen, the most minute details are obvious. The tiniest details are clear and concise. And, as I had pointed out earlier, you can hear every thing! The sound system is unlike that of any other theatre. But as to the issue of the visiual experience, one thing that struck me in watching it on IMAX (and bear in mind, I saw Apollo 13 at least three times in its original theatrical release) was noticing that Ed Harris (as head of Mission Control, Gene Krantz) appeared to put a cigarette in hs mouth backward and lights it (as evidenced by the little stripes that appear at the filter end of a cigarette). Then it occured to me that they were unfiltered cigarettes (I had noticed a pack of Camels at his desk earlier in the film). Little things like that just stuck out. And you could see every pore in a person's face in close ups. Tom Hanks himself has made comments about that particular aspect in interviews. So, don't let the flat screen put you off. To look at a flat screen IMAX as being akin to sitting on the front row is like equating going to see a movie on the normal "big screen" as being no different than watching a video on a big screen TV. Don't get me started on that one!

Exhaust Port
09-24-2002, 11:12 PM
I've been thinking about it and decided that I should check it out just so I don't have any regrets down the road. Thanks for the insight to the viewing experience JediCole.