xii—Shaping A Nation
Scottish simulation ride
You're skimming along on the top of the waves when suddenly you swoop into the air, rising above a sheer cliff face and over the ruined turrets of Dunnottar Castle. Moments later, you're at the wheel of a rally car, swerving around the country's toughest tracks. A quick intake of breath, and you’re so close to the top of the Finnieston Crane that you can make out each individual rivet, as the Clyde winds its way far down below. This literally is Scotland as you've never seen it before: a huge screen, straight-ahead, point-of-view experience that makes the wonders of our landscapes seem even more, well, wonderful.
But it's not only a visual experience. Shaping A Nation — The Ride (a new high-tech attraction at Edinburgh's Fountainpark leisure complex) has been specially commissioned for the iWERKS Turbo Ride system, so your cinema seat will be lifting and tilting, rocking and rolling in perfect synch with the images on screen.
'The simulation ride experience appeals to me because it adds
The making of . . . Shaping A Nation
another very real dimension to an already high quality film experience,’ says Peter Henton of Dover Films, the LA-based company who have added Shaping A Nation to their bulging portfolio of thrilling large format films. ’When projected on big screen, 70mm film immediately gives you that “being there" feeling. If you happen to be travelling in point-of-view mode on the screen, having the seats you’re sitting in replicate the motion of the device in which you're travelling makes "being there” like "really being there".'
To achieve such a unique viewpoint, a specially designed camera was fastened to, among others, a sports car, a fishing boat and the bottom of a helicopter. Henton reckons that some of the film's most breathtaking shots come down to the skills of pilot Fred North, whose feature credits include Ronin, Seven Years In Tibet and Armageddon. He also flew for television
every day during last year’s Tour de France. Also on board was Peter Allwork, whom Henton reckons is ‘probably the most famous aerial cameraman in the world today' and a veteran of Out Of Africa and Braveheart.
Shaping A Nation crams some of Scotland’s most familiar landmarks and landscapes into a tight six minutes to create an experience that Henton hopes will appeal to an age spread as wide as some of the glens the camera flies above. 'We want grandma to have a sharp intake of breath at times but, at the same time, we want a couple of teenagers to come off feeling they’ve not only learned a lot about Scotland and marvelled at the visuals, but also that they've had something of a thrill experience.’ (Alan Morrison)
I Shaping A Nation — The Ride opens at Fountainpark, Edinburgh on Fri 70 Mar.
The Green Mile (18) 189 mins at ‘k *
Behind bars: Michael Clarke Duncan on The Green Mile
It’s a trUIsm that the films of Stephen King's non or least supernatural writings are mostly high quality; those originated from the author's full-on horror fantaSy stories are often poor. Just take a look at Stand By Me, Misery, Dolores Claiborne, and Frank Darabont’s two King prison dramas, The Shawshank Redemption (seven Oscars nominations) and now The Green Mile (four nominations).
Darabont, who cut his teeth in the film business as a screenwriter, has received an Oscar nomination for his adaptation of the story originally published in six serialised parts. The tale is told in flashback from the present day, where Paul Edgecomb, now reSident in an old people's home, recounts his work in the 30s as a prison guard on Cold Mountain Penitentiary's death row. Apart from some necessary streamlining of a character that served merely as a literary deVice and of lengthy exposmon, Darabont is faithful to the book. Still, the film runs to over three hOurs. But while the closing line — ’The Green Mile was very long' — seems unintentionally loaded, Darabont’s careful and even-pacmg works at this length.
Largely confined to death row (the Mile, actually about 75 feet), the drama focuses on the guards, run by Tom Hanks’s Edgecomb, and the prisoners, most notorious of whom is
John Coffey (Oscar nominated Michael 1 Clarke Duncan), the giant black rapist
of two young white girls. lt's Coffey's
miraculous story that the film climaxes .
with, but along the way there's plenty more plotting: the terminal illness of
the warden’s (James Cromwell) wife,,
the sadism of guard Percy Whetmore (Doug Hutchison), which results in a hideously brutal electrocution scene, the incarceration of young murderer William Wharton (Sam Rockwell), and the appearance on the Mile of a smart mouse.
With a well-crafted script and roundly respectable performances, the film’s focus is less on the prison system — as, Shawshank did — and more on intimate human dramas. Only towards the end, where the strong storylines are resolved With a somewhat whimsical paranormal occurrence, does this sturdy piece of filmmaking waver. (Miles Fielder)
I General release from Fri 3 Mar. See preview, page 22.
Film Soundtracks Undoubtedly the best track on Three Kings (MP3.com *tt) is the opener, ’I Just Want To Celebrate’, the funk classic rediscovered by David Holmes and now snapped up by David O. Russell for his Gulf war film. A handful of other up tempo tunes — Public Enemy's ’Can't Do Nuttin’ For Ya Man’, The Beach Boys’ ’I Get Around’ — are contrasted with disturbing images of war in the way that Vietnam films have done in the past. The traditional Iraqi track, ’Zurna-Tabl-Naqqare’ is the obscure find and it's also the inspiration for five tracks scored by Hollywood regular Carter Burwell.
Michael Mann might make great films, but his soundtracks are often either dated (Manhunter) or don’t work without the images (Heat). The Insider (Sony Music ****) avoids both pitfalls. Like Three Kings, The lnsider takes its musical cue from the Middle East — Lebanon, where the film opens — with Dead Can Dance's Lisa Gerrard and Pieter Bourke responsible for the majority of the dark, brooding compositions. And not out of place is contemporary jazz saxophonist Jan Garbarek’s 'Rites’ and Massive Attack’s ’Safe From Harm’.
It's the new Air album, right? Wrong, it’s the soundtrack to Sofia Coppola’s film, The Virgin Suicides (Record Makers *****), meaning it's comprised of what was referred to as 'incidental music' in unenlightened times. Here you'll find thirteen thematically-linked tracks instead of neat pop tunes. The French boys’ trademark noodlings with trippy keyboards, space rock guitars and ambient effects remain intact. In fact, they sound like Dark Side Of The Moon era Pink Floyd on ’The Word “Hurricane’”. And listen for that lovely Lalo Schifrin refrain on ’Dirty Trip’.
It’s the new U2 album, right? Wrong, that's out later in the year. But there are two new tracks from the band on The Million Dollar Hotel (Universal- Island it), plus a cluster penned by Bono who’s also credited with the story for Wim Wenders’ film. The soundtrack’s bad, and when it's not bad — Milla Jovovich murdering ’Satellite Of Love’ — it's Just dull. Currently recording their tenth album, Bono and his boys sound like caricatures of their former selves. (Miles Fielder)
2—16 Mar 2000 THE “ST 25