Brendan Fraser introduces “REAL D” technology used to film “Journey to the Center of the Earth”

Opening last week in more than 1,250 theatres nationwide, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” is the first wide-release movie filmed exclusively in the ?REAL D’ format.

As the AMC River East hosted the debut public screening, Reel Chicago heard the movie’s star, Brendan Fraser, and director Eric Brevig present the new technology.

Despite his established status, Brendan Fraser seemed both genuinely nervous and excited as he asked the audience to put on their “Buddy Hollies” before the screening began.

“All the best technology that we have available in the world today is in that projection system in there,” he claimed. “You are really in for a treat. And ?buckle up’ because there is a really awesome rollercoaster ride sequence!”

After the screening, Fraser’s cry of “Whaddya think?!” drew rapturous applause and cheers from the crowd. It was his first visit to Chicago since filming “With Honors” here in 1993.

He was joined by director Eric Brevig, an acclaimed special effects veteran (“Total Recall”, “Pearl Harbor”) helming his first major feature.

The movie uses the latest technology in a post-modern retelling of the Jules Verne classic. Construction of the new cameras was completed “literally one week before we began filming,” claimed Brevig. “I was terrified something would break.”

A specially built Fusion digital camera rig hosting two twin lenses placed a few inches apart recorded the action, while a beam splitter channelled the light between them. The technology allowed Brevig to immediately watch rushes live on the set in both 2D and 3D.

The film was then cut in traditional 2D before being reformatted for ?REAL D’ projection, with exhibitors ? those who have paid the rumoured $20,000 fee to install compatible projectors ? eventually receiving a special hard drive of the movie.