By Jason Guyer
The film industry, especially movie theaters, are in a weird place that seems to be very bad for the industry.
The only real draw for people seems to be an inordinate amount of Marvel (superhero) or Star Wars films that hit theaters regularly these days.
There are many other types of films, some good and some bad. However, these other types don’t get the same attention from moviegoers. This all too often means great films never see a small community theater like our area in Claremont, never mind a large city theater.
The film, “The Lighthouse,” for example, can’t be found in our area. The best, maybe closest place, it will be shown at is this weekend’s New Hampshire Film Festival.
Robert Egger’s “The Lighthouse,” at least to me is a can’t-miss film and should be in all theaters. And I hope it does expand to more theaters. Although, this hope has failed me in the past.
Sometimes, as an avid theatergoer, you are left with what you are left with; and last weekend, I was left with Ang Lee’s “Gemini Man.”
Right up front, “Gemini Man” is not good.
I do try to watch films that are enjoyable and I believe most people would feel the same way. It is probably pretty clear that no one wants to watch something they dislike.
Sometimes though, a bad film can demand attention.
“Gemini Man” demands attention and that’s because of the attempt to change the theater experience.
Ang Lee, director of “Gemini Man,” is trying to make the theater experience better for those who would choose to go to the theater.
This is very commendable. I just wish the final product was better.
Ang Lee’s approach is more technical than most directors, especially in “Gemini Man.” Specifically, Ang Lee uses high frame rates — 120 frames per second to be exact. Higher frame rates have a smoother look, giving a hyper realistic look to a film.
There is one caveat: most home televisions operate at 60 frames per second, and just about all theaters operate at 24 frames per second.
There are 4k and 8k televisions that can get to 120 frames per second, but most of us won’t have this.
So, how do you truly enjoy a film like “Gemini Man?”
Specifically, you’re looking for 3D and a theater showing “Gemini Man” in a high frame rate (HFR).
The question then becomes: is it worth it to go out of your way to do so?
It is complicated. If you are into action films, then yes, maybe it is, and with “Gemini Man,” that’s all you get.
“Gemini Man” tells the story of Henry Brogan (Will Smith), a 51-year-old assassin who’s ready to call it quits. Brogan’s retirement plans get turned upside down when his own government suddenly looks to take him out. Before long, Brogan learns that the man who’s trying to kill him is a cloned version of himself who is younger and faster.
Will Smith plays both Henry Brogan and the character of Junior (his clone).
There is nothing new here with Will Smith. If you like Smith, you will like him here. If you don’t, you won’t. To be honest, Will Smith never really operates on new levels. The last time was his performance in “Ali.” Will Smith operates as Will Smith, and I think that’s more enjoyable anyway.
Smith does well with two roles. He does a great job making each feel like they’re similar to one another but different enough to be separate roles. Junior, the clone, is made to feel like the more interesting experience, but Henry Brogan is the better more interesting character.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Danny Zakarweski and is the largest role in the film besides Smith. Winstead is decent and keeps up with both of Smith’s characters, even though she is a supporting actor and takes a back seat to the cloning story line at points.
This is where “Gemini Man” falls behind. The story is just average at best and full of plot holes.
“Gemini Man” plays out in a very linear way. Scenes to show Brogan wants to retire upend that. Scenes to bring in the co-star. Scenes to bring in the clone. Fight.
There is chemistry between Winstead and Smith and it is never pursued or is in only a superficial way, and when that dynamic is one of the more interesting storylines, it should be followed.
In the end, “Gemini Man” is not a must-see. The film is pretty far from it too, well besides the action sequences.
Ang Lee is keen on testing the limits and it should be encouraged to give us, the audience, a better experience.
If not, there is a world where theaters would close and the theater experience would go the way of movie rental stores like Blockbuster.
This outcome would be bad; not as bad as “Gemini Man,” but still pretty bad.
IRATE SCORE: 1.5/5
Jason Guyer is an avid moviegoer and works in the graphics department at the Eagle Times. For questions or comments he can be emailed at email@example.com