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Big Comings: Berlin Preview


Written by: Herb Lash
Date: April 2002

Sneak preview of Big Movies in the pipeline, based on footage shown at the Euromax conference in Berlin...


Category: Columns

Berlin does it better.

Large Format film fans across the world are never in danger of getting too much of a good thing. If you are lucky enough to have a Giant Screen theater in your neighborhood, you can rush out, find your favorite stadium seat, sit back and enjoy the latest greatest 70mm offering. But what if you want more, what if you suddenly need another new and different Big Movie fix? Too bad, most theaters are limited to showing one or a few films for extended runs. No doubt there are plenty of good, sound economic reasons why this is the case - but there is a solution. Go to Berlin and then go straight to the Discovery Channel IMAX Theater where you can pick up the latest Programmubersicht and select from one of the more than twenty Large Format films playing throughout the week at this state of the art theater. New Big Movies, old Big Movies, classic Big Movies, 3D Big Movies, educational Big Movies and entertainment Big Movies - it's a Giant Screen smorgasbord - and they sell beer in the lobby. As proof that Berlin loves the Large Format freak, when you are done with the Discovery IMAX Theater you can cross the street to the Sony IMAX Theater. There, pick up another jam-packed Programmubersicht pick out more Big Movies, strap on your 3-D goggles and be happy that you are in the city that loves Big Movies the best.

The 2002 Euromax Symposium was held in Berlin this year and LF filmmakers from around the world screened previews of films they hope will soon be playing at a Giant Screen Theater near you. There are a great number of films in the pipeline - about a week's worth if you live in Berlin - the rest of the world will be spoon-fed these Big Movies over the next year or so. . .

[Editor's Note: The following is by no means a complete list of Big Movies set to release in the next year or so. To find any coming soon film and view chronological lists, visit our "Coming Soon" section. For more commentary on upcoming films, also see "Crystal Ball 2001: Upcoming Big Movies."]

SPACE STATION 3-D (April 17th, 2001)
The International Space Station has run into some monetary and political problems as of late - but not to worry, this 3-D IMAX movie is in the can and set to premiere April 9 in Los Angeles. One can only hope that the documentary will be inspiring, informative and amazing. But here is an early bet based on footage seen so far: this Big Movie will have the greatest space images ever captured on film - including every Sci-Fi movie you've ever seen. .. .It's difficult to conceive of a better point and shoot subject than space travelers at work(and a little play) aboard the evolving International Space Station. A 3-D look past an astronaut's boot tips gives a stunning/jaw dropping/heart stopping/inspirational view of our impossibly beautiful planet. Among other things, the film promises a ground zero blast-off point of view, astronaut/cosmonaut ballet and a comprehensive look at this marvel of technology and international cooperation.

BUGS! 3D (Winter 2003)
Producer Phil Streather is the sort of man who needs more than two dimensions to express himself - in life and film. Mr. Streather presented a colorful and whirlwind overview of the history/methodology of 3D filmmaking at the Euromax Symposium. It's more than clear that his passion for and knowledge of 3-D technology will make BUGS! one of the more anticipated LF films of the year. . .Imagine a first glimpse of alien life - fantasy demands mind-boggling shapes and astounding behavior. No need for overheated fantasy or imagination, the alien world has already been discovered and captured on film - bugs are alive and doing things that must be seen to be believed. The Big Movie BUGS! follows in the footsteps of the 35mm art house hit MICROCOSMOS in proving that we only need to change our vantage point to travel to other worlds. A thousand-fold magnification gives each of the featured bugs human seeming personalities - the beautiful, the grotesque, the vicious and the humorous all look to be represented in this exciting film.

S.O.S. Planet (November 2002)
This environmental minded Big Movie will be coming at you in double barreled 3D - both as a fully computer animated Attraction Film and as a live action Giant Screen Theater movie. The film is still in production and the sections shown in Berlin were limited in scope. Still, director/producer Ben Stassen as obviously been hard at work in his 3D wizard's workshop. Let's hope this film about saving the Earth is as good as its cause.

THE ADVENTURES OF HAWKING AND CRICK: Around the World in Eighty Seeds (tba)
The preview shown in Berlin is not so much a film as it is a pitch for a stunning 3D technology that blends live action photography with computer animation. Hawking and Crick are child friendly characters that escape the confines of a comic book world and embark on a botanical exploration of the Earth. The story concept operates within the confines of an educational film - but the combination of live action, animation and IMAX 3-D would seem to offer up limitless possibilities. The process is apparently quite expensive - so here's to hoping the filmmakers find the right deep pockets to make this film a reality.

ADERNALINE RUSH: The Science of Risk (October 4, 2002)
The film is looking even better in its latest preview - futuristic computer animation enables an inside look at what's going inside the human body when that first shot of adrenaline gets pumping. The filmmakers seem to be making a case for being cool and smart - will the museum theaters listen? . ..Extreme vistas and extreme physical feats are longstanding staples of the Giant Screen - no other medium makes the experience so immediately vital. But in order to make these sorts of images more palatable to the museum and field trip crowd - Big Movie makers often resort to sandwiching slight bits of "educational content" between the more spectacular scenes. At first glance, ADRENALINE looks to buck this trend. Big thrills promise to center this film, but they are presented as a natural outgrowth of a genuine scientific/intellectual quest. ADRENALINE seeks to make the case that brain chemistry is the reason why some dare to do and dare to dream where others shrink back. Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Alfred Nobel, Henry Ford and B.A.S.E. jumpers - birds of a feather? ADRENALINE argues in the affirmative - no matter the conclusion the argument looks to be smart, hip and intriguing.

PULSE - A STOMP ODYSSEY (September 2002)
The film does not look to merely reproduce the cclaimed "Stomp" stage show. PULSE - A STOMP ODDYSEY is a rhythmic jaunt around the globe. A Brooklyn Human Beat Box, Brazilian marching drummers, urban rooftop dancers and Japanese giant drums are just a few of the stopovers on this worldwide hunt for good rhythm. Big Movie sounds might rival the visuals here.

Tigers are arguably the most photogenic of the big cats and there is no doubting the ability of even a sleeping tiger to mesmerize on the Giant Screen. More difficult is the task of creating a wild life film that does not fall into too familiar narrative patterns and techniques. The strategy here looks promising. INDIA: KINGDOM OF THE TIGER will feature the story of tiger hunter turned conservationist Jim Corbett, plenty of tigers and the beauty of sprawling/varied/unknowable India. The human faces and culture seem as intriguing as the title subject. Biography, wildlife photography and travelogue - a combination of three standards that will hopefully result in a fresh approach to educational/conservationist filmmaking.

New scenes featuring US Marines offer a very real, very Big glimpse of how helicopters are making themselves felt around the world at this very moment. .. .Helicopters are the stars of this adrenaline heavy Big Movie; recreated drug busts, rescue efforts and high flying daring serve to demonstrate the specialized task that are enabled by and evolved from vertical flight. Some of the more exciting images feature utility workers stepping off of helicopter platforms and onto high voltage power lines; a Big Movie case where almost being there is a better option than the real thing.

The film looks to have the distinctive and never disappointing MacGillvary/Freeman spit and polish. Science and a breezy fun attitude are the rule. Watch a shrimp and gobe fish share a little abode and rock out to "OUR HOUSE" - an example of the fragile synergy that makes a coral reef vital. . .As beautiful as they are delicate, the planet's relatively few giant coral reefs are a universe to themselves. The film cruises beneath the waters of the South Pacific and captures on film reef life in Fiji, Tahiti, Rangiroa and Australia's Great Barrier Reef. A strong spirit of conservation and appreciation inform the film. Like DOLPHINS, CORAL REEF ADVENTURE looks to have a soundtrack that ensures a fluid, easy pace.

THE TRIP (tba)
This short subject LF film is one of the more odd things to hit the Giant Screen in a while. It has the feel of an engaging enough techno music video, but the real fun here is the spirit in which it was obviously made. Director Peter Georgi grabbed an IMAX camera, some extra film and made a small, light and agenda free film-poem. IMAX might not be ready for DOGMA 95 filmmaking, but its always refreshing to see something on the Giant Screen that surprises.

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