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BMZ Review: Spider-Man 2: The IMAX Experience
By Paula Tagle

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©2004 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.

Spider-Man 2: The IMAX Experience
Written by: Paula Tagle
Source: Big Movie Zone
Date: August 19, 2004

     

Category: Reviews

Re-released for Large Format screens, Spider-Man 2: The IMAX Experience brings a new vitality to this summer's blockbuster.  Using IMAX's DMR conversion technology (a process that takes the 35mm film print and outputs it to true 70mm size and resolution), Spider-Man 2 boasts vibrant digital images and dizzyingly palpable action sequences.

Sam Raimi returns at the helm for this summer's sequel along with stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst and James Franco reprising their respective roles as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Mary Jane Watson and the very good-looking Harry Osborn.  The new addition, and not to mention new super-villian, arrives as scientist Dr. Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) who after a freak accident turns the good-natured intellectual into the multi-tentacled Doc Ock.

The IMAX conversion comes alive most notably during Doc Ock's and Spider-Man's rendezvous on the clock summit of a towering building.  Here, the Large Format emphasizes a staggering altitude and the massive fall below.  A Giant Screen experience of the film also heightens Spider-Man's already bewilderingly quick movements where the audience is continuously left catching up to the the web-crawler's antics.  A particularly flashy train sequence successfully exploits the enormity of large format.  In a breakneck brawl versus Doc Ock, Spider-Man scurries a top, below, within and even on the vertical side of the train in a nimble and hurried pace.

More than just electric action sequences, the IMAX Experience also allows a glimpse into every detail of the film from Aunt May's hair net to the crisscross intricacies of Spidey's costume.  The digital representations of Spider-Man and Doc Ock are, however, distractingly obvious in this version where they perhaps would be passable on conventional screens.

Other non-visual hitches pepper the film particularly in Raimi's attempt to create emotional and psychological depth to these otherwise comic characters.  Peter and Mary Jane consistently blah blah over their non-existent relationship ad nauseam, Harry Osborn's out for Spider-Man's head for the death of his father, and to top it all off Peter and Aunt May can't pay their bills.  Hence Tobey Maguire drifts through the film as a teary-eyed and depressed Peter Parker.  He's broke, lovesick and his best friend's trying to kill him.  A better execution of these particular storylines would perhaps engage the audience, but the hammy dialogue and repetitive plot devices make for annoyingly dull characters.

Nevertheless, Spider-Man 2, especially on the IMAX screen, isn't about dialogue, but rather its overwhelming special effects of which there are plenty.  A perfectly suitable conversion to the Large Format (despite the short timeframe in which it was accomplished) has given Spider-Man 2 another opportunity to wow you.

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