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It’s been quite the year for digitally animating Will Smith in movies. Following an initially controversial entrance as the blue Genie when Aladdin’s trailer first dropped, audiences since embraced his new take on the Disney character. Aladdin marked Smith’s most successful film to date, with an over $1 billion win. Coming up next, the actor will play against a cutting-edge digital version of himself in Ang Lee’s immersive action flick, Gemini Man.
Ang Lee has been pushing the envelope on digital technology in movies for years. It started with 2012’s Life of Pi and the 2016 box office failure Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, and will continue this weekend with Gemini Man. The filmmaker shot the movie in 120 frames per second, which is about five times faster than the typical 24 frames per second. The movie will be screened in multiple formats in theaters, including 2K, 4K and 3D. Lee explained why he's pushing these new mediums and technologies with these words:
What we’re chasing is the next medium, should we take baby steps or take the risk of a giant leap? For me the answer is that I’m not getting younger, I’m a little rushed, probably. If you wait for this to develop gradually, I think it will take a very long time. I would rather go through the pain and the disillusionment of taking the leap and making something that snaps the audience into [the realization] that this is something fundamentally different.
The Life of Pi Oscar winner doesn’t want to wait until these technologies are the norm, per his interview with Deadline. He wants to be a leader and behind the breakthrough of it. He seems aware of the risk involved in making a movie such as Gemini Man, which cost $138 million. Being ahead of the game isn’t guaranteed to be lucrative, but Ang Lee is more interested in taking the leap.
Ahead of the film’s release, Gemini Man has already been recognized for its soaring technology advancements with an Entertainment Technology Lumiere Award by the Advanced Imaging Society. The movie is aiming to give audiences more of a reason to buy a movie ticket and provide an alluring experience you can’t find on your couch at home. Today, theaters compete with how accessible streaming services are these days.
While critics may be marveling at the visuals in Gemini Man, the movie has taken an early hit for its story. Since Gemini Man has been in development since 1997, the script does share some resemblance of action movies of the era. So while the technology of the film is leaps and bounds into the future, the script doesn’t seem to catch up to this innovation.
Gemini Man centers on a middle-aged hitman who must face off against a younger clone of himself. Along with Will Smith’s leading role, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen and Benedict Wong star.
Check out Gemini Man in theaters on October 11.