Being generally against any form of HFR(High Frame Rate) I can’t say I had high hopes when I heard about Gemini Man, for me it became one of those films that slid into the back of my mind right up until yesterday when I attended an advance screening.
Gemini Man has a fairly simple plot and set up which involves Will Smith getting hunted by a younger version of Will Smith. Directed by Ang Lee, this Action Thriller could really be described as a fairly generic addition to the genre when looking at the script, however Ang Lee does do a pretty good job directing the action here, which got the adrenalin pumping in a few sequences.
The absolute highlight of the film is the young version of Will Smith, who through the magic of VFX is recreated almost flawlessly in an amazing show of technical prowess. With the exception of a few choice scenes this is by far the best example of a consistently realistic digital recreation of a person, this will sure to be in the running for best VFX next year.
Ang Lee has once again chosen to film using HFR 3D capture, which as always I was willing to give a go. First off the 3D here works pretty well, it felt natural and not tacked on, depth wasn’t exaggerated and I noticed no weird artefacts throughout. Gemini Man’s HFR was generally made a bit more palatable by being paired with 3D which already differentiates it from a traditional theatrical presentation. That being said when the film enters an action scene and the camera is suddenly moving very fast (sometimes at light speed) the HFR was extremely jarring, it legitimately felt like I was watching a high end video game with buttery smooth camera moves where ever tiny bump and camera shake offending my eyes. This all resulted in sequences often feeling like they were completely computer generated which isn’t ideal, it sure didn’t feel cinematic.
Apart from Will Smith, we have a pretty decent group of people rounding up the supporting cast with Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Benedict Wong and Clive Owen doing their best with the material they were given (please always give more screen time to Mary Elizabeth Winstead).
Gemini Man definitely bested my expectations, I don’t love this film but It also isn’t a bad film, it sits somewhere in the middle of the road bolstered by some of the best VFX this year, but hindered by a capture process that often feels cheap and jarring.
Thanks to Paramount Australia for inviting me along, Gemini Man is in Cinemas October 10th.