Thursday, November 05, 2009

Robert Zemeckis: An IMAX 3D Experience

In the 80s Robert Zemeckis was successful. It was all about the wildly popular stories of the Back to the Future trilogy and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Zemeckis, never prolific, directed a handful of films in the 90s, of those, perhaps his most famous film, was Forrest Gump. The film won Zemeckis an Oscar for directing.

He followed Forrest Gump up with Contact, What Lies Beneath, and Cast Away.

And then over the next ten years it'sbeen all about these CGI animated films (always available in IMAX 3D).

In 2004 it was the animated The Polar Express, also presented in IMAX 3D.

In 2007 it was the less-successful Beowolf, also present in IMAX 3D.

And now 2009 it's A Christmas Carol, again in IMAX 3D.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure when it comes to the full package of DVD sales and TV rights down the road, A Christmas Carol is going to be a financially viable and relatively entertaining film. Goodness knows, people don't seem to get sick of the many, many, many adaptation of the Charles Dicken's classic.

And I respect Zemeckis for evolving with the times, he has found a way to make financially viable films for every decade.

But I must admit, the Robert Zemeckis of this decade, who is fascinated with classic stories told bigger than life in a feature-length format with 3D glasses is not the Zemeckis I admire.

Zemeckis created magic with many of his films, but generally this decade his films have been boring sure-beats. Films without risk, creativity, and the type of uniqueness that makes a truly great fresh and modern classic.


Krispy said...

I love A Christmas Carol, I've seen most of the seventy bazillion versions brought to the screen, and I've generally found something to like about most of them.

My litmus test is this: If a film version of A Christmas Carol excludes the scene involving the two children named Ignorance and Want, it loses marks. But a film that includes that critical scene (and there haven't been many) usually wins me over with that alone if the scene is handled tastefully and thoughtfully.

Now here's the problem: This new 3D version looks more like a Christmas themed roller coaster than a thoughtful meditation on Dickens's greater themes. How could the Ignorance and Want scene be included here without cheapening it?

I'll be seeing it just to find out if they can pull it off ... if, in fact, they even try.

And I'm with you on Zemeckis. Contact, in my opinion, is his masterpiece.

Paula said...

I saw the trailer. My daughter, my husband and I were all completely unimpressed. Let's turn an amazing story in it's own right into an excuse for 3-D special effects. Sigh.