Extra Large Short At Telus World of Science
Earlier this week I was invited to a screening of one of Science World's newest Imax experiences entitled, "Extra Large Shorts." This is a compilation of short films, mostly animated, that were create specifically for the Imax screen. What a great idea! This got me thinking that for a medium as visually deep as animation, why haven't filmmakers taken advantage of the visual possibilities of marrying Imax and Animation more often? Our medium is rich, and full of potential when it comes to creating great experiences for audiences. Multiplying the size of screen would only multiply that experience. Outside of cost, which never seems to stop the true and stubborn animation filmmaker, I can't see why this idea hasn't come to fruition. If only Fantasia was shot for Imax. Animation and Imax could make going to the movies an EXPERIENCE again.
The highlight for me, from this show were three shorts:
It takes you on a four minute journey down the tracks of an old railway. Some of the tracks have fallen into disuse over the last century, but this didn't stop the filmakers from traveling through the tough terrains where the train once lay. This is what makes the film so magical. You can find out more about the film here.
More is Mark Osborne's stop motion short film. Mark is the director of Kung Fu Panda, and I can only assume this film had a big part in helping him land his first feature film directing gig . More received an Academy Award nomination, but lost out to Pixar's Geri's Game.
I was pretty excited for this one, after seeing Kung Fu Panda earlier this summer. I'd also never seen a stop motion film in Imax. This film takes full advantage of the format, and really put me in the moment.
More deals with consumerism, monotony, the fire inside us all, and selling out. These are very serious subjects for your average animated short. You can view More on Mark's website Get Happy.com. This pales in comparison to viewing it in full fisheye glory, so I would recommend seeing this how it was meant to be viewed.
The Old Man And The Sea
This is one of my favorite animated shorts. I've seen it several times, but I had no idea it was shot for Imax; so I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to see it in Imax. And you shouldn't either.
This 22 minute epic short created by Alexandr and Dimitri Petrov was actually the first animated film created for Imax, and won the Academy Award in 1999. I remember when I first saw this in Animation History class. I couldn't believe how beautiful it was watching paint strokes come to life. There's such a sense of space and light achieved in this film that just can't be achieved with hand drawn cell animation. I have so much admiration and respect for the patience and dedication of these filmmakers. The experience of seeing this film in it's full glory is worth the price of admission alone.
If you are in the Vancouver area, I would recommend you check out Science World's website for more information on showtimes.
I also saw The Dark Knight last week, very cool. Much better than the first installment to the new Batman series. Heath Ledger completely stole the show; What an incredible performance. Heath was right in saying that any press picture, including the one below, doesn't do the character justice. You really have to see him breathing life in his version of the character, which is by far the coolest adaptation to date. I heard Johhny Depp, and a few other actors offerred to fill in for the character's reaccuring role now that Ledger is gone. I doubt anyone can bring back the same character Ledger created, it will undoubtedly be a new spin. I do hope however, that if Depp gets the part he doesn't bring a Sleepy Hollow, or Sweeney Todd-esque Joker to life.