‘Gemini Man’: Ang Lee’s Taking A Risk In Embracing New Film Technology

After a gap of three years, the director Ang Lee finally released his new film, “Gemini Man.” The script of the movie, which has been in Hollywood for more than 20 years, was finally finished shooting by Ang Lee. Underlined by classic action effects and advanced high-definition and high frame rate photography, Lee is still telling the story of the father and son.


“Gemini Man” cannot leave the enhanced format, a trend of movie technology. In short, enhanced format films have larger screens, like IMAX, high-definition images, such as a high frame rate, more dimensions, like 3D, and larger data volumes, like 4K, than traditional theatrical releases.


Nearly a decade on, many in the industry believe that apart from “Avatar,” there are only two films, “Gravity” and “Life of Pi” that can really add to the artistic side of the film with 3D technology, said Raymond Zhou, a well-known film critic, on Tencent.


This isn’t the first time that Ang Lee has used high frame rates in a movie. “Gemini Man” is a genre film with science, adventure, and action elements that theoretically has a bigger market than “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” Ang Lee’s 2016 movie, since there are more cinemas in China capable of showing 120 frames per second (fps) and 60 fps as there were three years ago.



That is to say, more ordinary audiences can be involved in deciding the success or failure of the film’s exploration.


“Gemini Man” has more action than “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” including gunfights and explosions. The fast-moving shot will give the audience a more intuitive experience of 120 fps. To give the audience a game-like immersive experience, Ang Lee specially arranged a lot of first-view shots, which are as good as VR.


A catalyst for cinema evolution


Movies in enhanced formats, including 120 fps, 4K and 3D, offer indeed a far better viewing experience than traditional films. The problem is that theater upgrades cost money and whether the investment is worth it depends on the audience’s acceptance of the film.


When “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” was released in 2016, only five cinemas in the world were able to screen the 120 fps version. Only three Chinese cities – Beijing, Shanghai, and Taipei – have cinemas that qualify for 120 fps. While the film producers are offering the 60 fps versions, many cinemas still aren’t equipped to screen them.



This time, as movie technology and cinemas have improved, large audiences have the opportunity to experience the appeal of the higher-frame version. In addition to the 120 fps, 3D version, half of China’s cinemas will offer 60 fps, 3D version.


Mixed reviews


With the development of film technology, adding AR and VR technology to films is nothing new. However, there is an old saying in China: “The water that carries the boat is the same that swallows it.” The point is that when these functions are attached to traditional films, people find that these new features do not bring substantial value to the film, and sometimes even become an interference.


This week’s Chinese domestic box office showed that “Gemini Man” was the biggest single-day film on its first day of release on October 18, and dropped to third place on the weekend, and the audiences’ comments on the movie are mixed. “Although the film has a lot of valuable themes, such as cloning, challenges arising from patriarchy and self-confrontation, overall it is not very new,” a comment on Douban, a Chinese movie reviewing site, said.



Some viewers also said that the action scenes in the movie were smooth and attractive, but the actors’ lines were too bad, and the plot was too clichéd.


Although the film reached a decent rating on Douban, with 7.1 points so far, it still falls short of the 8.4 rating for “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.”


Source: CGTN