The Large Screen Format, also known as IMAX, has been largely underutilized since it began. When the technology first was released, the theaters appeared almost exclusively in Science Museums, which set the tone for most of the movies created for it to be the equivalent of an overdone slideshow reel from high school biology class. While interesting at times, most of the IMAX movies could've just as easily been shot and shown in your standard movie or TV format, and the entire medium seemed to have gone on unappreciated.
However in the past few years, Hollywood studios have taken a second look at what the largest movie experience has to offer. Disney leads the way, having launched "Fantasia 2000" at the start of the century, and is now making its way through its catalog of blockbusters and re-mastering them for the biggest screen in town.
This years Christmas treat is the new large screen format edition of "The Lion King". "The Lion King" still holds as the high-water mark of success for the modern Disney and although the film is eight years old, it stands tall in its new larger than life projection.
There are some general rules about the Large Screen Format to consider, the overwhelming nature of the experience is such that it generally makes the good things about a movie better and bad things worse. So in the case of "The Lion King", the painted scenery and beautiful hand drawn animation transcends the Disney artistry to a new level. The scenes with the animals stampeding viewed on five stories of screen real estate is sheer bliss for animation fans. However the massive sound system also makes escaping the sugary-sweet over scored Elton John hit singles, that much more impossible, and there are times wished for ear-plugs as the gooey pop songs blare away.
Getting to see older films like "The Lion King" converted into the Large Screen format is fun, however I still hope to see an original movie that makes the most of what the IMAX theatres have to offer.
For Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2003 - Purple - Air Date: 12/25/02
The Lion King Large Screen Format Edition
USA - 1994 / 2002