Spielberg 'Blown Away' By IMAX Conversion Of Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark IMAX release

Steven Spielberg likes IMAX's Raiders of the Lost Ark conversion. He really likes it!  In an interview with Yahoo!, the uber-director said that he was "dubious" when IMAX approached him about giving his 1981 action-adventure classic the 70 mm mega-screen treatment, but ended up being way more than pleasantly surprised.

"I didn't know if the 1981 print would stand up to a full IMAX transfer, so I came expecting a sort of grainy, muddy, and overly enlarged representation of the movie I had made [31] years ago," the filmmaker said. "And I was blown away by the fact that it looked better than the movie I had made [31] years ago."

From Sept. 7 to 13, Paramount will release the IMAX version of Raiders theatrically in conjunction with the Blu-ray DVD release of the epic.  On Saturday, Sept. 15, AMC theaters will also present an Indiana Jones movie marathon that will show all four films beginning at 10:30 a.m. A collectible poster and lanyard are part of the $25 ticket price.

Spielberg, who'se now working on the fifth installment of the Indy franchise, even said that the IMAX conversion improved upon some of the original film's cinematic shortcomings. "All the shadows in the earlier scenes that we shot in Hawaii [were] always kind of muddy anyway on 35mm," he explained, "because we couldn't schlep all of our big arc lights down into this valley."  When he watched the IMAX conversion, Spielberg said, "the shadows weren't murky and washed out; they were sharp as a tack."

"I sat there, I think, probably with my mouth open a little wider than it normally is," he added.

He was similarly impressed with how the IMAX transfer improved upon the sound quality of the 35 mm version. "When the giant boulder comes rolling down after Indiana Jones, Spielberg said, "You'll see it full size, and you'll feel it in your stomach."

Check out the IMAX trailer:

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  • It is really nice to hear a giant of the industry like Spielberg is still being enthralled by the magic of cinema and hasn't become jaded after decades in the business.

  • The Pope says:

    It is really nice to hear that a giant of the industry like Spielberg is still discovering ways in which new money can be made from old rope.

    • Jake says:

      My thoughts exactly. This must be the same Spielberg that showered praise on Revenge of the Sith. I hate to break it to you Spielberg, but a movie shot in 35 millimeter doesn't look any better when projected on an IMAX screen. It is just blown up a little bigger.

  • max says:

    I was under the impression Indy 5 production got canceled... One can only hope.

  • Can I get away with spending an entire day watching all 4 Indy films (well, I might duck out as the fourth one starts)? probably not.

  • Peter says:

    Converting a 35mm film to the 70mm does actually make a big difference to the sharpness and quality of the picture. This is because the negative area taken up by 35mm is much larger than the equivalent "academy aperture" film, meaning that when the image is blown by 2 and a quarter times, the resulting image is only 25% larger then the original 35mm film meaning that picture is much sharper.

  • David says:

    Also, Raiders just went through a frame by frame restore and scanned at 4K for the Blu-Ray release. The new restored Raiders was used for this IMAX engagement. Raiders is going to look a lot better, even better than it did back in 1981.

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