I wish cinemas did 75% new releases and 25% old releases as a general rule. I really do. I even think this approach would be commercially popular, judging by the recent spate of arbitrary 3D re-releases, as there’s nothing more satisfying that getting to see your favourite movie on the big screen format it deserves. I think a large chunk of the audience would infinitely prefer paying a vaguely extortionate £7.50 (or £9 for a ‘premiere’ seat – that is, a not-shit one – because cinemas love capitalist class systems) to see Blade Runner than the same amount to watch Colin Farrell spoil Total Recall for everyone.
I hadn’t seen Raiders Of The Lost Ark in the cinema before, having been seven years pre-foetus upon its release, but I was fortunate enough to see Spielberg’s 1981 homage to classic adventure films in IMAX on Tuesday. You know the film inside and out, so there’s not a lot of point going in-depth with the story or characters. Instead, with a terrific conversion job that, according to the IMAX voiceover preceding the screening, even impressed Steven Spielberg, it’s the technical progress made with the 31 year-old film that I really wanted to highlight.
I’ve never seen a film this old look so good, with a superb, sharp picture and absolutely rich colours – if you count yourself as an Indy fan, I’d find a way to see it this week before your chance disappears. IMAX is a format worth paying for, one that is utterly validating for people who love the cinema experience, and aside from a few subjective factors (some kid a few rows in front was terrified of the melting Nazi heads, which implied he’d never seen the film before – that annoyed me) and pet hates of mine (someone sat a few seats down made noises with popcorn that I didn’t think were humanly possible, deciding the cinema was their own personal restaurant), it was such a thrilling experience to see such a classic film make a technically accomplished transition to the best format available.
The screening was to promote the Indiana Jones Blu-ray, where it sounds like most of the remastering work has gone into Raiders, overseen by Spielberg. If the end product is anything like this version, it’ll be counted as a tremendous success – fingers crossed that more classic genre films will get this kind of limited re-release going forwards.
Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark is in IMAX cinemas nationwide until 27 September 2012. Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures Blu-ray box-set is out 8 October 2012 – order it now from Amazon.co.uk.