IndieWire -“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” entered fall with serious Oscar buzz. But after the curtain was lifted at last night’s NYFF world premiere, director Ang Lee’s excitement for the new technology that brought his story to the screen — with a presentation in 3D, 4k resolution and 120 frames-per-second — appears to have been his undoing. Indiewire’s Eric Kohn gave the film a B-, noting that it’s “just a decent story laced with attempts to make it larger than life.” Reviews across the board greeted the movie with something of a shrug, and critics had many problems with the technology.
Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.
If anyone has read any of my movie predictions or have talked to me in person, you would know that the movie that I hyped the most was Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. I even went so far as to call it the winner for Best Picture at the 2017 Oscars. Well, it looks like I’m going to have to find another movie because I’m not sure it’s going to happen now with the uphill battle for Billy Lynn.
This was supposed to be Ang Lee’s “movie of the future” because of all the new technology that Lee was using. Shot with 4K cameras in 3D at a high frame-rate of 120 frames-per-second. Generally, movies are 24 or 48 frames-per-second. In other words, the realistic value of Billy Lynn is off the charts. It is crystal clear. That being said, this seemed to rattle critics. One critic even said that because he could see so clearly, you could watch the extras “faking” conversations and it seemed all staged. This eye-popping experience seemed to throw critics off, ranking it a B-movie and not giving it a strong chance to be an awards season player for Best Picture.
I will play devil’s advocate. There are only a handful of theaters in the country that can show movies in 4K at 3D. So the casual viewers (me and you) will not see the movie with the new technology. So it makes me wonder if the technology led to the downfall of the movie and not so much the plot / character development.
This very well might be how we watch movies in the future. Change is always scary. Think about how it takes awhile for people to get used to change. Do I even need to list examples? The Iphone 4 to 5 to 6 to 7 (BUT THE HEADPHONE JACK?!?!?!?!?). The Shawshank Redemption flopped at the box office and is considered one of the greatest movies of all time. 808s & Heartbreak is seen as Kanye West’s worst album by some, but to others, it is considered the rapper’s greatest accomplishment and one of the most influential albums of the past 10 years. You can thank 808 for all of Drake’s recent music. I think the same can happen for Billy Lynn. It might be seen as a B movie right now, but we might look back and call it a monumental step for how we watch movies.
If the plot does not carry this movie and it’s not good, then so be it. I’ll be disappointed, but I’ll live. But if the reviews are being held back because of the technology, then I still have some hope for this film after all. No matter what, this is the #1 movie I want to see this year.
La La Land is now the favorite to win Best Picture at The Oscars.
This is still the best trailer of all-time.