Aside from wanting to see the movie because of the bad ass trailer, I watched BOOK OF ELI from the Hughes Brothers because it was shot on the RED ONE camera, the same as ACCIDENTAL ART, but this was transferred to a 35mm film print and projected on a big screen. I wanted to see what it looked like… plus it looked bad ass.
I liked the movie as a movie, first and foremost. I liked the story and the action, although there was more story than action, which is a plus. Albert and Allen Hughes have a diverse and rich body of work. Starting out as 2nd or 3rd clones of the “Boyz in Da Hood” gangsta ripoff, they have long since departed into a dizzying array of genre and style. I particularly like the Jack the Ripper yarn FROM HELL with Johnny Depp based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore. BOOK OF ELI has several head nods to Kubrick, with an A CLOCKWORK ORANGE movie poster on the wall, then casting that movie’s star Malcolm McDowell in a small role later in the film.
Now as for the RED footage, I thought it was entirely indistinguishable from film. The depth of field, the detail, sharpness of image, movement, and even contrast were no different than film. I can’t speak as to the color palette as this movie had a nearly monochromatic look except for the final 2-3 shots. According to the D.P., an Oscar winner who worked on Forrest Gump and other movies of various genre, since they went for the sepia tones and little else, they didn’t need to color range of film negative. Now he was not sold on the RED ONE as a replacement for film, but the director’s are. They seem to think it is the new wave.
I do too. I have never said “film is dead” before, but I can now. I love 35mm and even super 16 and super 8, but film is dead. In a few scant years, we can kiss this good bye as a viable format if you don’t have many millions to shoot with…