Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Bad Time to Buy 'Tideland?'

Word on the street is that Terry Gilliam's divisive "Tideland" hasn't been released in its proper aspect ratio in the U.S. or Canada. The film was exhibited in theaters in 2.35:1, but the DVD is in "full frame 16x9," the dimensions of 1.77:1 HDTVs. Since many cinephiles who don't live in a major market (myself included) have yet to see the film, their first opportunity appears to be a bastardized edition. Seeing as the film has inspired hatred from many, the people willing to dive into it are probably the same kind of people who don't like to see their aspect ratios fucked with.

There has been some debate on the Gilliam fansite Dreams about how much information is missing and how much is added (UPDATE: An article with screenshots is now up, precisely showing what is missing.) Since the film was shot on cropped Super-35mm instead of the anamorphic Cinemascope format (which uses the full space on the film negative instead of cropping), there is visual information on the top and bottom of the frame that could be opened up, although (1) the filmmakers didn't intend for it to be shown and (2) depending on the perf pulldown used during shooting, a zoom on the picture may still be required to fit it to 1.77:1. Gilliam has sent statements to Dreams saying that the image was opened up to a less-wide aspect ratio closer to 2:1 for the U.K. DVD because he thought it looked better on small TVs, but then said that the U.S. version doesn't reflect the version he approved. Since Gilliam doesn't seem to have a clue what's going on right now, I'm not going to guess. I'll just wait to watch the film until someone figures out what the hell is going on with the DVD or a 35mm print shows up at my doorstep (email me for my address, THiNKFILM.)

No comments: