NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience

"Excellent"

NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience Review


I will never forget my first NASCAR experience. It was about a year ago, and I was working as a promotional model for NASCAR at the Michigan International Speedway. At first, it seemed like any other sport event. The atmosphere was nothing new--raging traffic, crowded parking lots, rampant barbecues, sports memorabilia, and infinite drunkenness--but the fans made it different than any athletic event that I had previously attended. Never before had I witnessed so many devoted people cheering for their favorite athletes. Initially, I didn't understand their obsession. After the race... I did.

NASCAR is exhilarating. Period. Furiously competitive and insanely dangerous, the sport mocks athletes who merely toss inflated rubber balls into string nets. Whether you're watching the race from the congested stands or just listening to the racecars burning rubber from ten miles away, the intensity of a NASCAR race is undeniable. What other athletic activity involves speeds exceeding 200mph? No other sport compares. The drivers are risking their lives every time they step into their cars. Boredom is not an option.

NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience captures that experience on screen, and it's a remarkable IMAX achievement. It is a sports documentary that is both informative and entertaining. With vitality and soul, the film delves into the history of NASCAR and the all the people involved, but it's not all about history and facts; it also allows the audience to experience the sensation of driving 190mph, in 3D and on IMAX screens (some of which reach 12 stories tall). Now this is what I call awesome!

The movie--which runs a mere 40 minutes--briefly reviews the history of the sport and then switches gears and shows audiences the exciting world that is NASCAR today. It's told from the viewpoint of some of the most famous drivers in NASCAR history, and features behind the scenes looks at everything from the making of a NASCAR automobile to the unpredictable results of traveling at such high speeds. NASCAR 3D also investigates the fascinating science of racing technology and the physics involved in the engineering.

When the scientific jargon becomes somewhat stuffy, however, Kiefer Sutherland's narration helps keep the action moving. Lately, Sutherland has been making a good living with his voice. First, he was the sniper on the other end of the phone line in Joel Schumacher's Phone Booth. Now, he's narrating NASCAR 3D, and he's the perfect choice for the film. His voice has an unanimated quality that doesn't take away from the images, but still has a steadfastness that demands our attention.

Director Simon Wincer also helmed the recent IMAX film The Young Black Stallion, which was a little too melodramatic. Here, he finds the right tone and pace and captures the spirit and energy of a NASCAR experience like a lifetime devotee to the sport. With the help of some spectacular 3D effects, he puts the audience in the middle of all the racing excitement. But he doesn't totally depend on 3D images to captivate us; he makes the film very interesting with insightful, and often amusing, information.

There is a moment when somebody in the movie explains: if you attend just one NASCAR race, you'll be hooked on the sport for life. NASCAR 3D: The IMAX Experience proves his statement wrong. You don't have to attend a race to be hooked on the sport. Just go to this movie. It is an experience you'll not soon forget... and you will be hooked.

The DVD version (not in 3D) features driver profiles and extra NASCAR videos.

Vroom vroom!



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