Thriller IMAX 3D, a detailed review

A bit of background about me
At the time of writing this I am 39, I have been a fan since I was about 8 years old and it started around the time of Thriller. I have watched the original Thriller for what must be over 100 times now. So I went into this one thinking the same thing I normally do with MJ estate releases and that was, “please don’t mess this one up”.
I have a 4K 3D TV at home with a Dolby Atmos sound bar so I am kind of into this technology a bit and love where they can take restoration projects like this now and although most think it is a gimmick, for releases like this (and it being MJ) I think 3D is an ideal medium. I bet it would look great in VR too.
A bit of background about this release
Although I think the US got the best deal, it was only in 2 cinemas in the entire United Kingdom, that is the first thing that annoyed most of us with this project. There was little excuse for that – details as to the reasons why I do not know currently. The lack of publicity for it helped with the “shock factor”? I get that. Hardcore fans will always find out about things like this being out there, because they are literally hardcore, but some  didn’t even know this was happening, and that is a real shame.
There are loads of people out there that were either fans a long time ago and just needed to be reminded of his greatness, or more importantly those that are NOT FANS. The element of surprise might of worked, but I am not sure if parents taking their children to a 12A and getting the 15 rated Thriller played first is going to impress them much. I didn’t take my MJ fan 8 year old to it as it would have just scared her. She would have been fine with the Clocks film though. This is important to note.
Thriller is scary, the makeup is timeless and I think more realistic that the likes of Ghosts. The House with a Clock in its Walls is bubblegum family horror, Thriller IS NOT. I think the MJ Estate are just trying to introduce it to new audiences which is a good idea.
First off all I am going to be excluding the issues with the Estate, many fans hate them, question the will, question Branca, this is far more complicated and will be for another time. THIS blog post however is going to be about ONE THING, the MJ Estate product, that is… “Thriller IMAX 3D”.
The Cinema/Audience
It was only on at two IMAX cinemas in the UK, Bradford and Cambridge. I went to the last screening of it at Cambridge at 515pm on Thursday 28th September (last night at time of writing this!). In our screening (screen 9) there were a total of 187 seats and 10 of them were filled. I think out of those, all of them were fans, most were wearing MJ t-shirts, all had the poster (which you only got if you asked for it and only one per ticket) and one fan was even wearing a Thriller jacket. Kudos to that fan! One fan left straight after Thriller because he had to catch a train and had see the Clock film already. I was the only other person that left about an hour later, but that was because I had a two hour drive home! What I saw of the Clocks film was good. But it wasn’t why I brought the ticket.
The Timing
The MJ Estate have stated that they are trying to associate Michael Jackson more with halloween, which I think is a great idea, but how are you going to do this at the end of September? You are a month early! Unless something else is planned for next month. The timing of all this just all seemed very odd and very rushed.
Choice of film
The choice of film was odd. It was good (well the first hour that I stayed to watch), I am a Jack Black fan, but it seemed more for kids, Thriller has never felt like it was “for kids” to me. Something to note again is that the film The House with a Clock in the Walls, was a 12A. Note that a 12A means even children under 12 can watch it, but only when accompanied by an adult – so imagine them turning up for Clocks and getting shown Thriller. Thriller when it came out was a 15 in the UK. So to be partnered with a 12A film was a little concerning at the beginning, I thought they might have cut stuff out, you know like what seemed like blood coming from zombies mouths, and the peril of someone being chased after and attacked, TWICE! I guess 12 year old kids can take more of a scare these days! It makes sense for a different rating, the original thriller came out in 1983 so many years have passed. I have also always thought Thriller was quite scary, scarier than Ghosts and the This Is It snippets. Something about the make-up just looked scarier in Thriller. Maybe it was because the original was also so dark, so it left more to your imagination.
The Picture
It looks beautiful. I could hardly keep still when watching it. I could have really done with it being on repeat 10 times though, so I could really take it all in. You were reminded why Michael Jackson IS the greatest of all time. It was beautifully restored and it demonstrates the sheer amazing capabilities of today’s technology. But here’s the thing about IMAX. Yeah IMAX is good, well lets just say its big at least. The quality was amazing, don’t get me wrong, but the problem with IMAX is that it to me it is just a big screen, I saw more detail (shiny eyeballs is always a good test!) in the Thriller restoration when I streamed the Thriller 3D teaser trailer from my iPhone to my 4k TV in 1080p. This has nothing to do with the restoration though, I stayed to watched a bit of the Clocks film and it also suffered from the same issues. IMAX films just seem BIGGER, but not better quality. IMAX is not as sharp as your 4k Netflix obviously, but this didn’t take  anything away from the awesomeness of Thriller.
The 3D
I have always found 3D distracting, to the point where I end up saying “wow that 3D bit looked cool” which is when I actually ask myself, am I actually watching this film or just the 3D?! 3D also makes it harder to concentrate on the little details. That said I was amazed at how well it was converted, like, how did they do that?! If they can do that to Thriller, just imagine what other MJ content would look like! Ghosts, Scream, Earth Song. This has massive potential, take my money now! I noticed some really good depth in some scenes, in particular the shot of the cinema with everyone watching the screen, every row of seats seemed to have loads of depth.
The short film feels like it was always meant for 3D, just the way it was shot, like with bit where it does the zoom in whilst walking away thing, which is called the “Dolly Zoom”, you know what I mean, the bit that zooms into Ola Ray, when Michael has just changed into a zombie. It is almost as if they were thinking of 3D when they shot Thriller.
The Audio
There were obviously problems with the audio in one of the Scream showings last year, but this was a mistake and was identified on Twitter, someone messed up the audio basically. I have also seen some uploads online of this latest run and some of the audio WAS out of sync and some was not. I am not sure if this was just because it was rendered in different ways on peoples phones before it got online, or it was actually out of sync. My viewing was certainly not, it was spot on. And one thing I did notice… when Ola Ray is “Dolly Zoomed” into and then the camera pans to Michael… they ramped up the volume of the “bong bong” bass part. A LOT. It shocked me, I got goose bumps, brilliant, just brilliant. Yup I almost cried at this point, brilliant. Damn it’s happening again, pull yourself together Steven.
Sound effects I noticed more and more when they are just playing the zombie sounds, they are happening all around you. Seriously spooky, and again, brilliant.
The colour
Many fans thought that the colour was off, that instead of it just being clearer, there was something a little off with the colour. I myself thought it looked fine, brighter, but the colour was the same tone to me.
The Differences
***SPOILER ALERT*** (skip this section if you want to)
I am glad to report one my one viewing there seemed to be very few differences, if any. Restoration is all about just that… “restoring”, not adding new things, just making things look better than before, and the only way you achieve this is by improving the picture and audio quality, nothing more, nothing less. So with that in mind, the extra bit at the end was kinda stupid. I get why others want to put their “creative” ideas into these things (I call this “meddling”!), but Michael already perfected all of his releases, so dear MJ Estate, please NEVER do this, NEVER MEDDLE! We really didn’t need Vincent Price’s eyes to pop out at the end. Really. I am just so glad that was done to Vincent Price and not Michael. Not only was it a bit silly, but it wasn’t even done very well. But I suppose if they are going to have to “meddle” on every release, they might have just got away with this one, but only by the skin of their teeth.
So what now?
So they must have spent thousands on restoring this. I can’t imagine they made much money from the cinema showings as people were buying tickets to see the Clocks film (or were they? Muhuhuhuhaaa!).
So although I have no idea what the Estate plans, here is what I think they SHOULD DO, and I know many fans are in agreement with this. A blu-ray release. Michael made and produced Thriller and The Making of Thriller a two VHS tape release back in 1983 I think it was. So first off, restore the “making of” too, release it on blu-ray 3D (just the Thriller short film needs to be in 3D) with a 3D lenticular cover that is similar to the IMAX poster.
Secondly, we know many fans will buy it on blu-ray, so consider the non fans, let’s get it on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video every Halloween.

After that, it is time to restore more MJ. Remembering to release them all in a way that the most fans and non fans alike can enjoy them to their fullest and in their masses.

To Summarise
I don’t often get to say this as most of the things from the Estate I do not like, and the ongoing court case over the “Michael” Album Cascio tracks with Vera Serova is always going to annoy me until they remove those 3 tracks from the Michael album and admit the tracks were fake… AND THEN APOLOGISE TO FANS.
But I am going to reach out a bit on this one, for the Thriller 3D IMAX release at least, and would like to say to The Michael Jackson Estate, finally, THANK YOU!
Steven

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Our PayPal fees are changing…

…but this time it’s a good thing!

We have now changed our PayPal donation transaction fees from 1.4%+20p to 5%+5p, which is aimed at making smaller monthly donations to our project, such as £1 per month, go even further.

Not many PayPal merchants know this, but if your account normally accepts smaller valued transactions or donations, you can ask PayPal for the revised fee structure of 5%+5p.

This works perfectly with our £1 per month model and means that instead of your £1 monthly donation becoming around 79p after PayPal fees, it now becomes around 90p after PayPal fees!

This extra 11p may not sound like a big deal, but this puts us in an even better position to be able to provide an even more sustainable charity project that fans can jump on board with for just £1 per month.

Your £1 per month now goes EVEN FURTHER!

Thank you to all donors making that change with us!

Steven Hodges
Would you like to join our £1 Michael Jackson charity tribute project? Its www.mjffc.org

(there are still ZERO transaction fees for one-off donations!)

MJFFC is teaming up with The MJCast!

Hi all,

It is with great excitement that we can now announce that we have teamed up with The MJCast to push Michael Jackson’s message even further, by getting the charity side of Michael out to many more MJ fans and non MJ fans alike!

The MJCast is one of the best MJ related podcasts out there and has a huge following. They discuss important issues in the MJ community and their podcasts are usually very informative and they often have interesting debates about important MJ subjects – those are the episodes I particularly like. I am a massive fan of their format and since they started in 2015, they have come very far when it comes to discussing the latest MJ shenanigans and they are never too shy to even touch on the subjects that the community often find, well awkward. You can check out and sub to their podcast as http://www.themjcast.com.

I myself will be their MJ Charity Correspondent going forward from Season 4 and will be providing updates to fans on, not only our own Michael Jackson Monthly Giving Project, but also some details about other MJ inspired initiatives out there that have also been raising money for charity since Michael’s passing.

MJ fans will be able to get involved by: providing any feedback they may have, asking any charity related questions they would like answered or even providing financial assistance/volunteering with the various MJ inspired groups out there. Please do hit me up on the usual socials to provide any feedback and to ask any questions. I hope to be able to touch on as many as possible going forward.

I personally cannot wait to be a part of their efforts to spread Michael’s love and charitable message to all of their listeners and thousands of new listeners to come.

Please join me in welcoming and thanking The MJCast for this opportunity and we hope you all can join us over the coming months to see what we can achieve as MJ fans.

The time is now for love & peace!

Steven
http://www.mjffc.org

 

MJFFC Branding!

As part of a new 2017 social presence update, we recently came to updating our logo again…

We wanted to try something a little different across our social networks. We decided to spend a bit of time building the MJFFC brand a bit more and have opted to try a somewhat different approach.

Over the next year or so we will be simplifying our content as much as possible, and part of this simplification had to start in an area that MJ fans saw first… our 7 pointed star logo.

We hope you like them!

MJFFC

INTRODUCING… F.A.C.E.S.

OUR UPDATED CHARITABLE OBJECTS

Ever since I started the MJFFC charity and its main “Michael Jackson Monthly Giving” Project, I wanted to cover the key areas close to Michael Jackson’s heart, and it pretty much went without saying, that they were Animals, Children and the Environment, which we called A.C.E.

However over recent years I have looked at these three areas in more detail and came to the conclusion, that they did not go far enough to cover the areas we wanted to help as an MJ inspired charity. We know deep down Michael cared about many things.

Keeping the Michael theme I remembered a lyric from Michael’s short film, Black or White. A portion of the short film goes as follows:

“Protection
For gangs, clubs, and nations
Causing grief in human relations
It’s a turf war on a global scale
I’d rather hear both sides of the tale
See, it’s not about races
Just places
Faces
Where your blood comes from
Is were your space is
I’ve seen the bright get duller
I’m not going to spend my life being a color”

One word has stuck out to me for months and was remarkably similar to the abbreviation of our current charitable objects ACE, and that word was “FACES”.

faces-all

I started to think what the other additional letters “F” and “S” could cover if we were to update ACE. I had many ideas, some of which were along the lines of Freedom and Sympathy etc. However they did not fit in with the charitable guidance when deciding upon charitable objects, they appeared to be too specific.

WHAT ABOUT “F”?

One day I recalled an acceptance speech Michael made at the 1993 Grammy Awards, where he picked up the Grammy Legend Award, Michael said:

“I realise that many of our worlds problems today, from the inner city crime to large scale wars and terrorism, and our over crowed prisons, are a result of the fact that children have had their childhood stolen from them.”

This, along with the obvious fact that Michael had such a huge family. It was fitting therefore that the charitable object for the letter “F” should be “Family”.

WHAT ABOUT “S”?

For “S” I went back to Michael’s roots and also to an area close to my own heart. Science & Art. Science has been a favourite topic of mine and covers many things such as the advancement of scientific research projects. This obviously includes the advancement of new technology, that can result in us being able to improve the lives of many people through the development and research of new technology. Then there is the real no-brainer… ART. Michael was an artist himself in so many ways. The art area covers charities that promote, or encourage high standards of the arts of drama, ballet, music, singing, literature, sculpture, painting, cinema, mime, etc. When I read that, so many of those words jump out at me. Music, the obvious one. Singing, another obvious one. Literature, Michael has written books, and also many, many amazing poems, which I urge any MJ fan to seek out and read. Then there was cinema. Michael LOVED films, because of his popularity he couldn’t simply go to a local cinema and watch the latest flick. So he re-created a cinema at his Neverland Ranch. He also starred in a few movies himself and there was talk that before his death, he was interesting in doing more movie work, or even directing movies himself. We all know this would have been amazing if it had come to fruition.

So there it is, I hope you enjoy our updates. I am continuously poking and prodding at the charity and its project to try and push it to new levels all the time and to make it the most tidy and easiest way to give money to charity in tribute to Michael Jackson. I know with hundreds of £1 monthly donors on board it can be a massive force for Michael’s ongoing legacy.

To view more, visit our F.A.C.E.S page here.

Thank you for reading! Speak soon everyone! LOVE.

Steven
🙂

 

 

Donation number 63 goes to…

Hi all,

For November 2016 we went back to the subject of the Environment.

We shortlisted 3 solar charities for your votes and we are proud to announce that the winning charity that received an honourable £215.38, was Solar Aid.

You can find out more about their work at www.solar-aid.org

 

Thank you to all of the regular givers and the one-off donations that came in.

Steven
www.mjffc.org.uk

 

Our 62nd October donation goes too… Elephants!

Hi all,

Many of you kindly donated throughout the month of October for a cause very close to many fans hearts, and especially Michael’s.

He loved Elephants. His good friend Elizabeth Taylor gave Michael a beautiful Asian elephant as a gift in 1991, and he was so shocked and loved it!

So for October, we chose 3 elephant related charities and the one with the most votes by our monthly donors was The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. £244.93 was the total raised, which after conversions was approx $300.66!

Thank you to all of those that donated for October and continue to show their support!

Steven

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Our 61st Donation, this time for the Italian People

Hi all,

a donation for September 2016 was made at the beginning of this month of October and we raised a brilliant £259.91 and shortlisted 3 charities supporting Earthquake Relief in Italy.

In the end The International Federation of the Red Cross was the charity with the most votes. We hope this money helps towards their Italian Earthquake relief efforts.

Thank you to all of those that donated.

LOVE.

Steven

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We’ve updated our logo!

WELL SPOTTED!

Some eagle eyed fans out there may have noticed, that our MJFFC, 7-pointed star logo has changed, but ever so slightly. We wanted to post a blog entry to give the reasons why we have recently tweaked the logo and a little bit of a background to why we are using a star logo in the first place.

logo-beforeandafter

WHY THE CHANGE?

The original logo has served us well since 2009, but in recent years we have started to think that it was a bit to harsh and well…. too “pointy”.

“the logo needs to be less like a blade
and more like a badge”

We felt like it needed an update. Michael was a constant perfectionist and when it comes to the running of our charity and the design of our content, we always strive to get it as close to perfection as we possibly can. We are constantly updating and improving things, so this also stretches to our design department. We thought we owed it to Michael to make such efforts in tribute.

WHY A STAR IN THE FIRST PLACE?

The inspiration for the original star was from Michael Jackson’s short film, the “HIStory teaser trailer”. We came a cross a High Definition version of this short film and were able to get close up to the 5 pointed star that Michael used on his outfits, he used the stars quite often. It was a simple 5 pointed star, normally in a circle. The ones that were the clearest, were the ones on the arms of those performers dancing with Michael, but also on Michael himself (see pictures below). It was bold, made an impact and planted the seed for future use with certain other MJFFC projects in the pipeline – but more on that when we are ready.

WHY DID WE CHOOSE 7 POINTS TO THE STAR? 

Well every fan out there knows that Michael’s lucky number is the number 7, so it was an obvious choice really. Michael was also wearing the number “777” on the opposite arm to the star, in the same short film. We took this as a sign and got straight to work. Here are some of the places where Michael used the number 7.

DO YOU LIKE IT?

We hope you prefer our new logo, and we hope you look forward to other changes we have planned for MJFFC in the future. We also hope this kind of attention to detail makes it clearer as to the work involved and the lengths we go to, to continue Michael’s legacy.

To the future, in which we hope you will join us.

Steven Hodges

http://www.mjffc.org.uk