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a visual knockout but it could have had more racing footage
There would be no point in denying that "NASCAR: The IMAX Experience" loses a little something in its transference to the small screen. However, it's still an eye-popping documentary for both die-hard racing fans and those viewers who know little or nothing about the sport - although the hardcore aficionados might wish there had been a little less talk on the soundtrack and a little more action on the racetrack to make the experience a more compelling and complete one.
This comes as a bit of a surprise, especially considering the fact that the film was originally shot in the 3-D IMAX format. One might reasonably expect that the movie would be little more than a succession of speeding cars and hurtling objects aimed directly at the stunned eyes of the audience. Not so, for the movie actually spends far more time on the nuts-and-bolts, behind-the-scenes aspects of NASCAR than on the racing itself. The film provides a brief background on the organization's less-than-savory moonshine roots, then proceeds to fill us in on various aspects of the sport itself, including the construction, specifications and testing of the cars, the training of the pit crews, the loyalty of the fans, etc. It also takes time out to honor the memory of the late racing great Dale Earnhardt, although due to the film's rather meager 49 minute running time, the tribute, like virtually everything else in the movie, comes across as a little more halfhearted and perfunctory than, perhaps, in all good conscience, it should.
To get most of the racing shots, director Simon Wincer strapped his camera crew into vehicles of their own in order to provide audiences with an experience as close to the real thing as possible. The majority of these sequences come in the last ten minutes or so of the film. As with all IMAX productions, the clarity and beauty of the picture is, indeed, a wonder to behold, with the colors literally leaping off the screen in many-hued splendor. Even without 3-D glasses and a two-story sized screen, this is a great visual experience. Now if they could have just shown a little more racing
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