One of the best things about seeing a great movie is remembering back to the time and place where you first saw it. I know that for me personally, I can remember many such moviegoing experiences, like the time I first saw The Matrix during the last night of its run in the smallest theatre of a local megaplex, wishing I had gone sooner so I could see it again. I remember the first time I saw American Pie and the screening ended abruptly due to a pulled firm alarm, and having to wait 2 days to see the last 20 minutes and hear that famous line "And this one time at band camp". I can remember seeing many good or great movies and the experiences that went along with them. Hell, I even remember a number of bad ones, but when you see movies for a living you tend to notice these things.
For general movie audiences, movies like Star Wars, The Matrix, Jurassic Park, and Raiders of the Lost Ark all lend themselves to such vivid and usually happy memories. It's no surprise that many of the movies I've mentioned above are all special effects blockbusters that in one way or another defined their respective times in terms of their visual effects, whether it be the bullet time-bending of Keanu Reeves' Neo or the appearance of the first generation of photorealistic CG dinosaurs in Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park. Now metro Vancouver moviegoers have the chance for one weekend only to relive these classics on the big screen in glorious 35mm during the Spark VFX '08 Film Festival running from January 30th to February 4th at the Vancity Theatre located at 1181 Seymour St. in downtown Vancouver.
The Vancouver chapter of ACM Siggraph and the lovely Vancity Theatre at the Vancouver International Film Centre have teamed up to bring a series of classic features selected from the VES 50, a list of the top 50 most influential and inspiring visual effects films of our time. Leading off on Thursday, January 30th with King Kong and Jason and the Argonauts; continuing Friday with Blade Runner: The Final Cut, Close Encounters of the Third Kind; moving into the weekend with Tron and The Matrix; and finishing off with Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, there is something for everyone in this retrospective series. Alongside the film screenings happening each night is a series of lectures and workshops with some of special effects' top names.
I know all of these films are available on home video and DVD, including a very cool recently released special edition of Blade Runner: The Final Cut, but it's not every day that you get to see these movies up on the big screen the way the directors intended. As good as these films look and sound in your home theatre, can you ever compete with the experience of seeing them projected? Add into that the stunning sound and picture quality of the Vancity, and even the recent snowfall shouldn't keep moviegoers from making the trek downtown to check these out.
Tickets are affordably priced ($9.50 for non-members and %7.50 for members) and available online at www.vifc.org and www.siggagraph.ca, or at the box office outside the Vancity theatre starting 30 minutes prior to the first screening of the day. I'll see you down there.
Mark McLeod has always loved film. In addition to his roles with ShowbizMonkeys.com, Mark also works on many film promotion projects in Vancouver, BC, through his company, Mark McLeod PR.