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X-Men: The Last Stand


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#1 fstop

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 06:42 PM

I just got back from seeing this-

it was competently handled (given what it was and the lacklustre established franchise), more interesting and less faceless than Bryan Singer's offerings, but still nothing to write home about. The whole thing felt like it had woken up midday with a hangover, which it more or less had. Principal characters are knocked off left right and centre almost as quickly as new faces introduced- I have no idea how anyone watching this indendently of the first two is going to make sense of what is going on! The visual effects were consitently brilliant too (the flying character looked far more convincing than anything in the SUPERMAN RETURNS trailer).

However, I was really shocked by how bland and ugly the photography of X3 was throughout. Most of it looked like it was shot outside on the drabbest day 50 miles out of Vancouver, with no gaffer or electricians in sight. Lots at the mercy of an overworked focus puller. There were some really clumsy iris pulls, skies always overexposed and white, blown out backgrounds, grain, grain, grain- most concerningly the picture was at it's grainiest in the sequences WITHOUT visual effects. Long focal lengths throughout shot seemingly wide open, so half of the production design budget may as well have been donated to charity. Even more suprising is that the climax, which given it's VFX created scope and colour makes it at odds with the rest of the picture, is photographically superior. Ian Mckellen and friends are composited against rich, digitally graded skies giving the illusion of foreground and background being balanced. Medium and even LONG shots (gasp!) come into play during this sequence too. How depressing. :(

It was really shocking to see Dante Spinotti shot this movie (imdb had Phillipe Rousellot listed for ages)- he must have really got a short end with this one; the money or the politics or some other factor must have really got the better of him. A real shame.

I've heard this was anamorphic with a 2k DI. When will they learn?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 11:11 PM

I thought James Muro replaced Rousselot on this one -- and it looked like Super-35 to me, just like "X-Men 2". I just saw it in Stockholm, but thanks to assigned seating and a full house, I was in the second to last row, so I could hardly tell anything about graininess back there. I remember seeing grain in the trailers though. Looked like 5218 in Super-35 to me.

Even from the back of the theater, it looked like a rather poor D.I. at times.
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#3 Tim Tyler

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 11:27 PM

Hmmm. I saw this Friday afternoon in a new multiplex with good projection. I was sitting in the center a few rows closer than usual, and the picture looked pretty good to me. The grain never distracted me.

Jimmy Muro got the Steadicam credit I thought.
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#4 fstop

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 06:33 AM

Did Rousellot get fired from the production? Does anyone know the full story? Dante Spinotti gets sole credit in the end titles.

David,

I too thought it looked like Super35 but then again I thought the same thing about V for Vendetta before being told that was anamorphic. It seems to be much harder to tell these days.
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#5 Stephen Murphy

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 07:18 AM

Rousellot was fired after only a few weeks of production. As far as i know Jimmy Muro was called in to bridge the gap untill Spinotti became available.
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#6 fstop

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 08:37 AM

I see, thanks- maybe this explains why so much of it looks so voiceless, lit for exposure?

Once again, the results of mad politics are evident for all to see in the finished product.
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#7 Gary Robinson

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 03:39 PM

I just saw it from the 5th row, and certain shots looks very grainy. Is super 35 normally more grainy than anamorphic?
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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 04:04 PM

I thought "V is for Vendetta" was shot in Super-35... certainly looked that way. The IMDB also lists it as a Super-35 production, although we know that it can be inaccurate. But I distinctly recall thinking that they didn't shoot this one in anamorphic while I watched it.

Yes, on average a Super-35 film shot on the same film stocks with the same exposure will look grainier than something shot with anamorphic lenses since anamorphic uses 40% more negative area to create a 2.35 image. Super-35 starts out larger overall but once you crop it down to 2.35, it is a smaller negative than anamorphic.

However, most D.I.'s do some grain reduction which can make Super-35 look similar to anamorphic, graininess-wise, but at a cost to other image qualities.
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#9 Ignacio Aguilar

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 04:43 PM

I thought "V is for Vendetta" was shot in Super-35... certainly looked that way. The IMDB also lists it as a Super-35 production, although we know that it can be inaccurate. But I distinctly recall thinking that they didn't shoot this one in anamorphic while I watched it.


Yes, it was shot in Super-35 using Cooke S4 lenses. I found it a bit too grainy at times and a bit low in contrast to my tastes (it was shot mostly on 5218 and i read somewhere some of the outdoor night shots used the now discontinued 800 ASA 5289, while the few exterior scenes were done on 5205 (250 D).
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#10 Tomas Koolhaas

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 05:41 PM

I saw it from a row close to the front (4th or 5th I think) and it looked very grainy, I saw batman returns from the second row (not by choice) and that was 500 pushed a stop and X3 looked way grainier, in X3 certain shots were noticably grainier than others in the same scene (jaringly so at some points). I agree that the VFX heavy scenes looked better (but they also were the more importat and exciting scenes)
Cheers.
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#11 fstop

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 07:07 PM

John Holland had stated V was anamoprhic in another thread, and imdb seemed to confirm that (as it did for X3). Thanks for clearing this up for- seems I CAN tell the format still! ;)
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#12 Max Jacoby

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 04:09 AM

I remember John's post, which was one of the reasons I went to see it (along with Natalie Portman). I too was quite disappointed when it turned out to be Super 35.

On that film too they started with a different Dop who subsequently left and Adrian Biddle took over.
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#13 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 07:38 PM

Yes, it started with Alwin Kuchler, BSC.
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#14 fstop

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 05:32 PM

Wow! Had no idea Kuchler was the original DP. Any behind the scenes political info? I am very (pleasantly) suprised that Kuchler would be considered for a big Hollywood effects movie given his experience and background (I LOVE The Claim). Sounds half promising.

Kind of ironic that Biddle began and ended his career replacing another DP. :)
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#15 Jamie Metzger

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 08:29 PM

Besides Xmen 3 being a huge letdown, the story sucked a whole ton as well.
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#16 Max Jacoby

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 03:24 AM

Wow! Had no idea Kuchler was the original DP. Any behind the scenes political info?

'creative differences' with the 1st AD, sorry, director...
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#17 Morgan Peline

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 12:27 PM

Compared to X1 and X2, which I thought were quite intelligent for what they were, I thought X3 was such a blatent cash-in and ruination a of great cinema universe that when I came I felt that the screenwriters and director should be marooned on a desert island and never allowed to make a film again. Talk about absolutely no respect for the audience and true die-hard Xmen fans.
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#18 Lars.Erik

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 03:27 PM

Compared to X1 and X2, which I thought were quite intelligent for what they were, I thought X3 was such a blatent cash-in and ruination a of great cinema universe that when I came I felt that the screenwriters and director should be marooned on a desert island and never allowed to make a film again. Talk about absolutely no respect for the audience and true die-hard Xmen fans.



Ha-ha! With Brett Ratner being in charge? You were surprised about the lack of intelligence of this film?! You're a funny guy, you.
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#19 Morgan Peline

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Posted 11 June 2006 - 06:07 PM

LOL!

You can only hope that some of these cynical Hollywood guys would regain their self-respect and try not to ruin something special when they have so much good will from the audience.

Nope, it seems the need to make a fast buck always prevails, no matter how much they have to sell out!

Oh well, you can only hope sometimes! ;)
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