...more recent posts
Yesterday I killed 2 rats with one hawk: I saw the re-released Japanese animation classic Akira and my first DLP (digital widescreen) movie. Akira is playing at the AMC 25 on 42nd Street, which is a spectacle in itself if you haven't been. It's a five-story, high-tech, high-kitsch multiplex with stadium seating, perfect sound, and NO CUSTOMERS! It's like the home entertainment system from heaven--GO, before AMC declares bankruptcy and lets the whole thing get run down.
Anyway, about DLP: Everything is in sharp focus, the colors are bright and true, there are no hairs or specks, but there is a faint, evenly-distributed grain that runs through the entire image. After a half-hour or so you don't really notice it. No eye-strain, no headaches; like CDs, in some ways it's superior to analog and in some ways not. I'll have to see a non-animated movie before I completely judge the process.
And about the re-released Akira: WOW! I've seen it several times on murky VHS and wasn't prepared for the Blade Runner-like depth and complexity of the widescreen version. The movie's been cleaned up and digitally remastered and everything's bright and sharp. The scenes of Neo-Tokyo are incredibly densely-layered, and when Tetsuo turns into a giant, mutating, HP Lovecraft Mecha-blob at the end, you can see all the horrible, sublime stuff you only thought you were seeing on the video. The little snots at Time Out call the movie "incoherent," but I prefer the Voice's "hermetic." One goes to anime for gorgeous drawing, surreal imagination, and lightning-fast action, not Raymond Chandler-like plotting. Animes are always delphic, weaving together post-WWII nuclear terror, cyborg speculation, and weird meditations on childhood trauma. One thing I'd forgotten about Akira: the characters are naturalistic (i.e., Japanese-looking)--no Bambi-like, swimming-pool eyes. Don't get me wrong, I love the eyes and exaggerated coiffure, but it's interesting that Akira broke the mold back in '88 and '90s productions didn't follow suit.
The Harry Smith Archives site has a message board in case you want to ask him somthing.