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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

`Superman Returns' debuts (in IMAX 3-D, and Boring Old Two Dimensions)

Two notes about `Superman Returns,' which starts playing late tonight...

- Several people have e-mailed me to ask where the IMAX 3-D version of `SR' is playing. Your info is here. Some earlier CinemaTech coverage of the 3-D version is here, and last week's LA Times story is here. From Geoff Boucher's piece in the Times:

    "Superman Returns" opens June 28 in standard-screen theaters — but there's a version with 20 minutes of 3-D footage that will open in more than 115 Imax theaters, making it by far the widest release in the history of those king-sized screens. It will also become the first Hollywood film to be shown at the Smithsonian Institution's Imax theater in Washington.

    ...[H]ow will viewers know when the 3-D scenes are on? An Imax official said there would be a visual alert flashed on screen (such as a pair of green glasses in the corner) but [director Bryan] Singer said there's a more intuitive cue. "Pretty much when Clark Kent takes his glasses off," Singer said, "you put yours on."

- Most reviews of `SR' (including this pan from Roger Ebert) don't make any mention of the Genesis digital camera that was used to shoot the movie. That's a good thing, I think, indicating that the movie (which I haven't seen) doesn't scream `digital.' The same was true of last week's `Click,' which was made with the same camera -- none of the reviews remarked on the digital angle.

I could only find two reviews of `SR' that made mention of the Genesis, one from Movies Online, and one from the San Jose Mercury News.

Sheila Roberts of Movies Online writes:

    Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel used wide lenses and large framing to convey the enormous size and scope of the film. “Superman Returns” is the first feature length motion picture to be shot entirely with a Genesis digital camera system, jointly invented by Sony and Panavision, which emulates the curve and color space of film. The filmmakers paid meticulous attention to detail to the physical shooting of Routh as well as the computer rendering, scanning and animation of the character in order to capture the reality of a man who can fly at will. The end result is an extraordinarily gorgeous looking film filled with breathtaking imagery that makes you believe a man truly can fly.

Bruce Newman of the Mercury news writes:
    The movie was photographed using the latest-generation digital video camera, and the results are eye-poppingly realistic. When Superman (played by Brandon Routh) makes his entrance -- attempting to rescue a jumbo jet that's hurtling toward the ground in a flaming flat-spin -- the picture's huge frame and forced perspective give his struggle a real size and weight.

Both Roberts and Newman really liked the movie. Here's a compilation of critical opinion from

Finally, Here's a CinemaTech entry from last week that includes some comments from `SR' cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel.