Thursday, September 11, 2008

A neat idea - Iron Man 2 may be shot in IMAX 3D?

According to this Collider article, Jon Favreau is currently considering shooting Iron Man 2 partially in IMAX, with the possibly of having some scenes be in 3D, ala Superman Returns and Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix. Considering how successful the IMAX footage turned out with Chris Nolan's The Dark Knight, it seems a logical 'new normal' for major action films to shoot several of their scenes in IMAX. I suppose we can now wonder which film will take the big step forward and shoot the entire film in IMAX. And then, which will be the first film to be shot entirely in IMAX 3D.

Favreau also allegedly mentioned The Mandarin several times, meaning that Faran Tahir had best keep his passport up to date. For the record, I still think it's very clever to apparently neuter the ethnic issue by having a middle-eastern actor (born in LA, parents from Pakistan and India) playing a character named The Mandarin. Still, that name is bound to cause trouble (the equivalent would be having Tony Stark spend Iron Man 3 battling 'The Negro' or 'The Jew'). But I digress...

I found the 3D footage to be relatively effective in Superman Returns, while the climactic battle in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was actually easier to follow in regular 2D, although the 3D effect did have an hypnotic quality that was fun the first time (my mother went gagga over it). Regardless of how it's used, it is inherently distracting when the film changes from 2D to 3D at various intervals. And, to a lesser extent, it was somewhat jolting when The Dark Knight flipped back and forth between 2.40:1 and 1.435:1 IMAX (or whatever aspect ratio that was). It will be even more jarring on Blu Ray, when my TV will magically lose the black bars on the side at several intervals.

I say, Jon Favreau just made Marvel a boatload of money with Iron Man, both in real profits and stock hikes. It's likely to be their biggest franchise for the next several years (I'm guessing it'll be bigger than Thor and Ant Man). For once, don't be cheap and stupid and give Favreau the money to shoot all or most of the film in IMAX, with either the whole film in 3D or only very stand-alone action scenes in the eye-popper format. Because if they don't, I fully expect Warner Bros. to beat them to the punch, either with Harry Potter 7.1 and 7.2, or the inevitable third Batman film in 2011.

I wasn't crazy about the first Iron Man, but the sequel certainly has the framework to be a better, more confident picture (without the need to resort to a half-hearted super villain showdown at the climax) that actually delves into the geopolitical ideas that it brings up around the edges. A sign of that confidence would be an attempt to outdo The Dark Knight in this pioneering visual medium, perhaps even to do it a little better. I say go for it.

Scott Mendelson

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