Tornado Alley 3D Movie Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Tornado Alley 3D

Reviewed by Felix Stacia on October 4th, 2011
Giant Screen Films
presents a film directed by Sean Casey
Written by Sean Casey and Paul Novros
Starring:
Sean Casey, Marcus Gutierrez, Brandon Ivey and Bill Paxton (Narration)
Running Time:
43 mins
Rating: G
Released:  September 29th, 2011


6/10

 

 

I haven't seen much IMAX stuff. I haven't seen much 3D stuff either. I have found that with 3D animations, like the wonderful Up 3D, are much more successful than live-action features in duplicating the immersive nature of reality. As thrilling as it is, this pattern is sadly unbroken by Sean Casey's pursuit story. The 3D is far from perfect with weird optical distortions emerging around the edges of the indisputably massive IMAX screen (I saw it in Sydney, where Casey gave a very informative Q&A afterward). Much of this may have to do with the 3D being done in post-production, rather than shot natively. Be that as it may, the main asset of IMAX is the huge size and saturation of the image, which is better than standard 35mm film. IMAX films need IMAX cameras and they are neither light nor small. Yet to follow and enter the 'swirling columns of air', Casey had to build his own seven tonne tank, which he insistently and repetitively called TIV (Tornado Intercept Vehicle). Much of the three-quarter hour doco is dedicated to vehicles, be they the TIV or the Vortex 2 scientific crew's, which aims to study the storms through thorough data gathering.



Casey's team and Vortex 2 don't really collaborate. In fact, they are often at opposite ends of the same supercell. This creates a sort of disconnectedness to the narrative of the film, which I didn't like. However, it also nicely contrasts the two different approaches to storm chasing. Bill Paxton's narration is soothing and flavoured with plenty of Tornado Alley twang. Perhaps the biggest note of caution to potential viewers is that there are some huge, luscious shots of dark, apocalyptic clouds, as well as hellish hail and tearing winds. However, actual tornadoes, in and out, are surprisingly scarce in the footage. If anything, this film is not about the storms per se but about the people (and vehicles!) that chase them. This isn't a bad thing but it may disappoint the expectations of people who are uninformed. I was also surprised by the relatively short running time. However, as we were reminded by Casey (and presumably by admission costs), IMAX is expensive. I plan to watch Tornado Alley sans the 3D (and those glasses!) on Blu-Ray. I do not think the experience and viewing will be diminished too much. The soundtrack is pretty damn cracking!






 
 



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