Yesterday, we told you that Raiders of the Lost Ark would be returning to screens in an IMAX re-release this September. The extensive conversion process from the original 35mm film to the 70mm IMAX version was done during the reformatting for Blu-ray (this is all part of a run up for the release of Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures, which debuts on Blu-ray September 18th). Apparently, the conversion has gone so well that even Steven Spielberg was impressed with the results after initially being skeptical. Hit the jump to see what Spielberg had to say and for details on how you can get your tickets to see Raiders of the Lost Ark in IMAX this September! [Update: Now AMC Theaters are hosting an Indiana Jones marathon! Hit the jump for details.]
In a recent phone interview with Yahoo!, Spielberg talked about his reaction to seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark in its new IMAX format:
“I didn’t know if the 1981 print would stand up to a full IMAX transfer, so I came expecting a sort of grainy, muddy, and overly enlarged representation of the movie I had made  years ago. And I was blown away by the fact that it looked better than the movie I had made  years ago.”
Spielberg also commented on the refinement that the conversion process lent to the original film, improving on a number of areas:
“All the shadows in the earlier scenes that we shot in Hawaii [were] always kind of muddy anyway on 35mm, because we couldn’t schlep all of our big arc lights down into this valley. Suddenly, there was definition in the shadows, which I had never seen before. And the shadows weren’t murky and washed out; they were sharp as a tack. I sat there, I think, probably with my mouth open a little wider than it normally is.”
It wasn’t only the visual experience that was improved, but the audio as well. In an interview with The NY Times, Spielberg called out a particular scene involving a rolling boulder that he says:
“When the boulder is rolling, chasing Indy through the cave, you really feel the boulder in your stomach, the way you do when a marching band passes by, and you’re standing right next to it.”
No, there’s no aesthetic changes to the films. I’m not going back and doing to any of my movies that are now coming out on Blu-ray what I did when “E.T.” was reissued for the third time and I made some digital changes in the picture. I’m not doing that any more. I’ve resigned myself to accepting that what the film was at the time of its creation is what it always should be for future generations. I’m no longer a digital revisionist.Q. That’s something you learned from your experience with “E.T.”?A.I learned from the fans. And now of course, we have the other group of fans who only know the other “E.T.” with the digital augmentation and that has become their standard for receiving that story. The only thing I think we can do is continue to manufacture and put out both versions. But it’s too complicated to that with any of my other movies – I’m pretty much going to release those films the way they were originally made.
“I wouldn’t be interested in doing ‘Raiders’ in 3D because ‘Raiders’ is not really a modern movie. I don’t see it popping out at me. I think the film is dynamic enough without having to lay on a 3D conversion process.”
But he will consent to a 3D conversion of Jurassic Park for the film’s 20th anniversary next year. Have a look at this trailer for Raiders of the Lost Ark in IMAX:
Check out more quotes from Spielberg and details on how you can get tickets in the following press release. The new IMAX poster for Raiders of the Lost Ark follows below, courtesy of Fandango. Head over there and leave a comment for a chance to win a Blu-ray version of the film:
INDIANA JONES IN IMAX – FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER
DIRECTOR STEVEN SPIELBERG AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER GEORGE LUCAS’
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK™
DEBUTS EXCLUSIVELY IN SELECT IMAX THEATERS
FOR A ONE-WEEK ENGAGEMENT BEGINNING SEPTEMBER 7TH
INDIANA JONES: The Complete Adventures Debuts On Blu-ray™ September 18th
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (August 15, 2012) – The cinematic classic that introduced the world to Indiana Jones is ready to embark on a new adventure when director Steven Spielberg and executive producer George Lucas’ unforgettable Raiders of the Lost Ark is released for an exclusive one-week engagement in select IMAX® theatres beginning September 7, 2012. The film has undergone a complete restoration for the IMAX exclusive one-week release and subsequent debut on Blu-ray. Tickets and a list of participating theatres are available starting today at www.imax.com.
“When I saw the stunning quality of the picture and heard the enhanced sound in an IMAX theatre, I was quite literally blown away and hope that audiences will enjoy the experience as much as I did,” said Spielberg.
“We are honored to present all the excitement of Indiana Jones in a way it’s never been experienced before – IMAX,” said Greg Foster, Chairman & President, IMAX Filmed Entertainment. “We look forward to celebrating this iconic film with longtime fans as well as a new generation of moviegoers.”
The IMAX release of Raiders of the Lost Ark will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience® with proprietary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images coupled with IMAX’s customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.
Under the supervision of Spielberg and renowned sound designer Ben Burtt, Raiders of the Lost Ark has been meticulously restored with careful attention to preserving the original look, sound and feel of the iconic film for its highly-anticipated release on Blu-ray as part of INDIANA JONES: The Complete Adventures. Every extraordinary exploit of world-renowned, globetrotting hero Indiana Jones finally comes home in sparkling high definition on September 18, 2012 from Lucasfilm Ltd. and Paramount Home Media Distribution. In addition to all of the thrilling adventures, the set features seven hours of fascinating bonus material, including a brand new two-part documentary entitled “On Set with Raiders of the Lost Ark – From Jungle to Desert and From Adventure to Legend.” Featuring nearly an hour of rarely seen footage from the set of the film and archival interviews with Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford, this captivating piece transports fans back to where the legend began.
Lucasfilm, Indiana Jones™ and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.
[Update: Head on over to this article for news on the Indiana Jones movie marathon!]