FILM RATING: 3 stars
To start with, I love the top half of this movie poster! I watched the new Nicolas Cage apocalypse movie Knowing (2009) last night. I’ve never been much of a Nicolas Cage fan…I don’t think I own any of his movies. But there are a few of his films that I like. I did enjoy the two National Treasure movies, even if they were sort of cheap Chinese knock-offs of Indiana Jones. And Knowing could have been a great movie…it just wasn’t. But it was “entertaining” on some level. I actually really liked the first and second acts of the film (as I learned in Cinema History class, all movies have a basic 3-act story structure). The mystery and thriller tension are great. And the pace of the editing is nearly perfect since I was intrigued by the story. It’s the ending that failed to deliver on the promise of the beginning. Stargate (1994) with Kurt Russell and James Spader is another movie that has an incredible beginning but just fails at the end in my opinion. I remember seeing Stargate at a special free preview screening that I won tickets to while in college. Upon viewing Stargate a few more times over the years, it’s grown on me more and more. So maybe Knowing will be a movie like that.
From a filmmaking point of view, the most fascinating aspect of Knowing is that it was made with the Red Digital Cinema Camera, which is a relatively new American made digital movie camera system that is taking the film industry by storm. It was initially developed as a prototype in 2006. I just learned about it from my classmate Tarek who is enthralled with the camera. This is the first movie I’ve seen made with the Red camera and I can’t really tell the difference on my 40″ HDTV from movies made on 35mm film. Of course ALL movies are digitally edited today…so while they may be filmed on actual film, they get scanned and then edited digitally and then put back on film to be sent to most movie theaters for projection…kind of an archaic system, huh? But until the Red Camera, digital cameras just haven’t had the look and feel of film. So it is with this new system that I think the digital revolution will finally come to Hollywood movies.
The Red Camera is really an “indie” camera system that was developed by the founder of Oakley, billionaire Jim Jannard…you know, the sunglass company. Check out a great blog about the Red One camera on Wired Magazine’s website: Analog Meets Its Match in Red Digital Cinema’s Ultrahigh-Res Camera. What I love about the Red Camera is that it costs about $20,000…a cost that is going to make movies much more affordable. Of course technology is only one aspect of a great movie. In the end, the story…and its execution by all of the people involved in making the film (director, actors, producers, etc.)…is what makes a movie great…NOT the camera! But if more of us storytellers can tell our stories, the more possibilities for great movies.