This is where I wanted to do a thorough write-up on The Hateful Eight, the new Quentin Tarantino film I watched in 70mm Ultra Panavision at the Imperial in Copenhagen, Denmark. Unfortunately, life got in the way and I’ve had no time to spend on my occasional blog, so here are the highlights:
The film itself is a typical Tarantino film, relying heavily on dialogue and actors doing what the director tells them to do. This, however, means closeups and not much else, wich brings me to my next point.
Ultra Panavision is, well, ultra wide. Among the so-called letterbox formats, it’s ridiculously wide. As it’s a 70mm format, the resolution is, at least theoretically, ridiculously high, bringing me to my third point.
There are very few shots that actually require that resolution. Most of them don’t, and even though I know there are people who will disagree with me, this film would have fared better without the 70mm format. So here’s my fourth point.
The Hateful Eight, also known as H8, would have been a better movie, at least a more enjoyavble one, if filmed in a less extreme format. As things stand, the ultra wide screen is a distraction, and the resolution, while nice, is not needed. The story is there regardless, but the format is, well, abused. Which brings me to my fifth point.
It is in the nature of the format itself that it lends itself better to the kind of film that makes actual use of its grandeur. It is also a format that no-one could run unaided today; the company had to provide cinemas with projectors and lenses and whatnot, or the shows would have been limited at best, even for the cinemas that do have their 70mm equipment intact. See, Ultra Panavision requires a special kind of lense that no-one has today, and very few had in the 60s when the format was last used at all. It’s not your garden variety 70mm, it’s, well, ultra special.
So to my last point: H8 does a disservice to every filmmaker wanting to film in 70mm since it uses the format wrong, in my humble opinion. It happened because Tarantino had the clout to do it, not because it was required. As a result, the presentations, including that at the Imperial, were lacking, sometimes severely, because it’s the one format that no-one can screen without help.
The film itself? Well, typically Tarantino. Think Reservoir Dogs with lots of money and hype.