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Superman Returns - IMAX version

This is not the best film to see at an IMAX theatre.

Especially if you aren't in the perfect center where the cylindrical distortion is least.

ESPECIALLY especially if you've eaten a bit too much sushi less than an hour before.

And remember, IMAX seats are designed for children. Japanese children. NOBODY will be comfortable, especially not the eight-foot-tall guy who sat directly behind me. Fortunately, the seats on either side of me were open, but his KNEES were in my way for significant periods of time, because he was trying politely to keep them together.

OK.

First - the line. Very long, but the theatre holds a lot, and there were empty seats. Mostly at the bottom. Where I was. Where you have to look UP.

Second - The screen goes from one edge of your peripheral vision to the other, and fills the field of view, but unless you ARE at the parabolic focus point, you WILL experience considerable cylindrical distortion. Faces will look odd in closeup.

Third - this is a Bryan Singer film. The man uses EVERY BIT of the screen. All of it. The action will shift from the lower left to the upper right by way of all sorts of twists. He used forced perspective. A LOT of forced perspective. He used tight closeups. Did you know that Brandon Routh has a very slight mole on his jaw an inch below and forward of his earlobe, and just along the jawline? Well, he does. And Cyclops -er, James Marsden- has features which are chiselled. And when I say chiselled, I mean that you can cut yourself on them. If they were slightly more exaggerated he would appear to be the Burger King Man.

OK, now you know why I spent the entire film in varying degrees of nauseated.

Now for the film itself - Gorgeous. I really liked it. I don't want to spoil it though. Routh does a very good job of being Clark Kent - he was uncanny in his replication of the gangly-goof kid from Kansas, pulling JUST enough of Reeve's performance to make it ring true, but also pulling in the sense of Kal-El having been to 'the graveyard' that was the remnant of Krypton. He really carried off the sense that this was the same Superman we saw in the first two movies.

Kate Bosworth is not the same Lois Lane. She ALMOST made it, and they wrote the part well enough that if she had been able to bring in ANY of what Margot Kidder brought to Lois, then she would have done it. She just has, well, too hard a face, not in the sense of a hard-boiled gritty reporter, but more in the sense that the flesh of her face isn't quite flexible enough to convey the emotions. She relies on her voice and body language instead, and in one scene, her eyes do the work, but it didn't feel like the Lois we know. The character development was really good.

Oh yeah... Just to get it out of the way... Marsden and Routh _WILL_ launch a thousand pounds of slash. It's inevitable.

Slight spoiler ahead:
Luthor ... played very well, but the character seemed a bit stupid to me. What good is killing billions of people when you want MONEY and POWER and if you do that, those billions of people WILL NOT be there to provide it! Even worse, how did he expect to stop the militaries - his moll asks him that question, and frankly, his answer falls down on the implementation. Just KNOWING the great secrets of Kryptonian science doesn't actually help when you haven't built (or grown) the weapons.

Eva Marie Saint has aged well. She has character on character on character. She's still a good actress too.

Even the kid was good. I wish he'd been clearly credited, but I was actually trying to escape the theatre during the credits there, and he isn't listed on the offical cast and crew page, nor on the imdb page, nor on the rottentomatoes page (it gets a 75% fresh, with some critics apparently being in even worse shape than I was when they saw it.)

Routh allegedly gained 20 pounds in the gym to play the part. Like Reeve, he could easily have gained more to fit the part better, except for the phobia on the part of hollywood about actual muscle on actors (who aren't caricatured into action-adventure).

I saw the first Superman movie with Christopher Reeve in Berkeley, with Penny, and we wanted to fly home. It was the first movie since Star Wars (the original, renamed episode four by the retcon-meister) that really brought out a childlike joy and sense of fun for both of us. I know that for several scenes she would be pounding on my arm, and we'd come out of it just buzzing. As long as we saw it in a real theatre, that is.

Bottom line - I will see this film again at a regular theatre so I can see it without being overwhelmed by distorted visuals. The acting was good enough to get past my nausea, and the story was reasonably well told, seeming slow at times, but I think that the pace was deliberate. Even if they don't make a sequel, it was an excellent conclusion to the trio started with the first two Reeve movies. (The other ones - well, clearly they were just comic book stories filmed about Superman, not actually part of the reality of the story. Really.)

If they make a sequel, and they'll try if this is successful, I hope they can find a new story to tell.


Edit: because I'm an idiot and crossed the names of two actresses. Kate, not Nicole.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
foomf
Jun. 29th, 2006 10:42 am (UTC)
It is? Thanks, I couldn't tell the difference. Editing to fix.
bunny_m
Jun. 29th, 2006 12:34 pm (UTC)
Cool. Glad to hear you liked it (depsite the theatre-induced difficulties).

I'm heading off to see it tomorrow night with 100+ SF/F fans, so it should be an experience. Here's hoping that I like it at least as much as you did.

drath
Jul. 1st, 2006 05:05 am (UTC)
New icon here? I'm trying to figure out the proper lyrics to your ascii Mushroom Mushroom animation.

"A-person-person-person-person-person-person-person-person pie pie"... hmnm.
foomf
Jul. 1st, 2006 09:42 am (UTC)
It's a badger, a mushroom, and a snake.

Just done with ascii animation.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )