There are many tricks that go into making a great movie. One of them that I have never thought about is the aspect ratio of the film. I know that it is a key component of the movie making process, but I didn’t realize that it could be considered a background character in a film.
In the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film, it sounds like director James Gunn is using a shifting aspect ratio in that way. Gunn recently released a statement on Facebook talking about it:
"Just got out of working on the Guardians cut for IMAX 3D and I’m unbelievably excited about it. Guardians of the Galaxy has been planned as a 3D film from its very inception. Yes, if you see the film in 2D, you’ll get a full experience. But the 3D experience promises a little something extra. Unlike many directors, I’ve been actively involved with converting every shot to 3D, making sure it works perfectly for the story and the film, making sure it’s spectacular and immersive without being silly, distracting, or overly showy. 3D conversion was once far inferior to shooting in 3D, but over the past couple years new technology has allowed us incredible control over the 3D effects, making it equal to or in some cases greater than shooting in 3D.
"As an EXTRA benefit for those who see the film in IMAX 3D, we will be changing aspect ratios throughout the film in a way that makes the experience even fuller and more encompassing. I’ve personally chosen all the places where the changes occur and, again, I love how it’s coming along. The changing aspect ratios in this case are actually a part of the storytelling.
"Just wanted to share some of this stuff with you guys since I haven’t had a chance to talk about the 3D much. Hope you’re all having a great day. Hi!"
This isn’t the first film to play around with aspect ratio. Other films such as The Dark Knight Rises, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Grand Budapest Hotel, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and many others have used this technique. It worked well for some and not so well for others. Guardians isn’t being filmed in natural IMAX, but I am sure that this decision was made so that Gunn could have more control of the end product.
I dig Gunn’s enthusiasm and willingness to do whatever it takes to make a great movie for us to enjoy. He is using every instrument in his orchestra to his advantage, nothing is lost. I am quite certain that the movie will speak for itself and I bet the shifting aspect ratio will be the furthest thing from our minds while enjoying this film.
All I know is that I am thankful for the care and eye for detail that Gunn is putting into this production.