I recently picked up a couple of the newer IMAX 3D releases, and also had a chance to get an advanced copy of "Ultimate G's: Zac's Flying Dream." I truly had no preconceived notions going into the film--with the title, I expected plenty of flying, stunts, and aerial vistas. While my experience with these films has ranged from great (The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti) to fair (Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs) to not-so-good (Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia), nothing had prepared me for this foray into a fiction based narrative. I know we're starved for exciting 3D adventures, but this one is serviceable for the kiddies only. Dramatically inert and inept, no amount of 3D flying can save this lackluster love story--yes folks, this one's a romance!
Narrative: For curiosity factor alone, a pre-teen Michael Cera is certainly an interesting draw. He plays a young boy who yearns to fly and, with the help of his steadfast gal pal, builds some disastrous mechanisms of flight. Before we can charge the parents with child endangerment, however, the story fast forwards to the present. The two are still friends and fly together in prop planes, but a boyhood rival tries some suave moves on the girl and a flight competition is staged for manly boasting rights. Then there's flying--finally! And love, too. The story is so wooden and stiff, it's almost painful. And I don't know what kind of message the film goes for as it makes the rival, an armed forces pilot, a cheater as well. Pretty distasteful actually.
Features: This is actually the first of the IMAX 3D films I've gotten with no special features. Granted, the features can be underwhelming--but this one only has trailers for other better looking films!
3D: OK, I know this is all anyone really cares about--but I'm telling you, you'd have to be pretty hard up for 3D to overlook the narrative deficiencies of this film. This is natural and clear 3D. Nothing is attempting to pop you in the face. The aerial sequences over the Grand Canyon, however, are lovely and the extra dimension does provide a singular beauty. The flying scenes, absent from the first half of the picture, are the only really effective use of the 3D technology. But mind you, there is no flying in the first 20 minutes of this 40 minute film and all the aerial shots are done from a small prop plane--so I don't really get the "Ultimate G" title which might have led me to believe in a speedier or more powerful mode of transport. Altogether unimpressive, I'm not even sure this would hold a child's interest without liberal use of the fast forward button. KGHarris, 3/11.