Image Entertainment // 2000 // 37 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 31st, 2011
I'm going to be brief because this thing is terrible.
Looking to cash in on the 3D/IMAX wave Image somehow saw fit to unearth this dopey 40-minute tale about a dorky pilot's abiding love for an airplane mechanic and the cartoonish villain who tries to sabotage their love by putting gum on his laser.
Typically, these IMAX productions are designed to offer fantastic, awe-inducing photography, footage that is designed to wow on those mammoth, four-story screens. And, to be fair, there is some cool cinematography to be found in Ultimate G's. The problem? They are fleeting moments and the remainder of the runtime is devoted to melodrama, terrifying in its ineptitude.
The good first: the flights scenes, involving two stunt planes zipping around the Grand Canyon are legitimately cool. The IMAX cameras snag some great shots, from within the cockpit and outside, capturing these machines blasting around the canyon walls. The centerpiece is an extended "acrobatic competition" at the end, with Zac, our hero, taking on some douche pilot who is a rival for the affections of Laura, Zac's object of affection.
While the camerawork of the finale is smart, the storyline that was concocted to bring us to that point is moronic. Spool back the start of the film and we see young Zac (Michael Cera, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) and young Laura work together to build flying machines and get Zac killed. A few of these mishaps are played up for laughs, though the only real reason I can see for the existence of these clumsy Hallmark-Channel-knock-off moments is have Zac's father explain the physics of light to his son, that is, to the audience, who are, presumably, complete dolts.
Fast forward sixteen years and older Zac, who has the social graces of an amoeba, attempts to woo Laura, now a mechanic. She is uncertain how to react to his painfully awkward come-ons and it's only when Carl, the jackass pilot who bullies Zac into a pointless air show and cheats by -- that's right -- putting gum on his laser (?!), arrives that Zac digs deep and finds the stud within. When he inevitably wins, it's make-out city! And, thankfully, after only 37 minutes, the credits roll and I can get back to watching more engaging and genuine investigations into human emotion in the Zack and Kelly breakup episode of Saved by the Bell.
The Blu-ray opens with a solid 1.78:1, 1080p transfer that shines in all facets, but takes off in a big way during the flight scenes. Which is the only thing worth watching anyway, unless you want to a get a kick out of a tiny-sized Michael Cera. Not much for the DTS-HD Master Audio track to do, with the syrupy score and low-key sound work. The jet effects offer some limited kick. No extras.
Too much acting, not enough flying. Guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (French)
Running Time: 37 Minutes
Release Year: 2000
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* 3D Version