It’s 9:00 am
It’s clear that my weekly trips to my local library have become my favorite new movie hunting area,what used to be a pretty barren place in terms of selection has turned into a nice little place to find a lot of good films,including a few that are brand new and factory sealed. Since these movies are all donated,it never fails to surprise me to see so many strong titles sitting on the shelves,you are not going to see this class of movie at a Goodwill.
But as I have mentioned before,finding good documentaries has been very hard to find. I don’t know if the dealers are snapping them up on Tuesday but finding them have been very elusive. But I got lucky yesterday when I went in,there was a documentary sitting on the shelf!! It was had just come in this week the clerk told me. I checked the disc and it was in perfect condition. To any of you who also collect films,ALWAYS check the discs before buying,never assume the disc is in good condition.
Super Speedway was shot for IMAX theaters and it chronicles the 1995 Indy car season of professional driver Michael Andretti. But the film starts with a very old race car being discovered in a barn. A tractor is used to pull the old racer from is dusty prison.
Then Paul Newman’s voice starts narrating what we are going to see as he explains a little of indy car’s history and how its in the off season that shapes the future for a car,its driver and their team.
Then the film shows exactly how a Indy Car is made,from a clay model,to being multi-dimensionally shaped,to then being put baked. Several different car part companies from all over the United Kingdom work together to make precise parts for each car,its extremely labor intensive and very secretive.
Michael Andretti drives for the Haas-Newman race team and its because of their massive support and pull that director Stephen Low’s crew was even allowed to film at Cosworth Engineering.
As the 5 cars for the Haas-Newman team are being put together,we are taken back to the old racer which is being stripped down to its frame. Don Lyons,whose family has found and restored many old cars like this old roadster,is explaining how hard it will be to restore this car,its over 30 years old and these types were built by ONE person for the most part. Finding original parts is going to be a real chore.
Meanwhile the new cars being put to the test during a session in Florida. Michael Andretti and his teammate Christian Fittipaldi are on the track to see how the cars are doing. Michael’s father,the legendary Mario Andretti is on hand to watch.
As the drivers run laps,they explain to the pit crews where the car is strong at and where its not. Mario climbs into Michael’s car and takes it out. But its when Mario takes out a IMAX camera rigged car that you truly get to see how fast these machines can go!!
Mario drives his camera equipped car out and films Michael doing some passing shots. But when Mario gets passed,it triggers is his competitive fire and soon father and son are racing each other at 225 mph!!
As the season unfolds,both Michael and Christian are having a hard time,their engines are blowing out and they are struggling to finish races. Indy car engines are designed to run incredibly fast but not to last. The designers want them to run a certain amount of time before they go south,each race will more then likely feature a new engine,this is one reason the sport is so expensive.
While the roadster is being restored,we hear Paul Newman explains in his voice over how dangerous those cars were. They were built out of steel and when they crashed,they most likely would kill their drivers. We see how strong the current Indy cars are (they are even stronger 20 years later) when the frame is crash tested.
The season goes on and Michael is doing a lot better,he starts winning and moving up in the point standings.
The film shows the Andretti’s at home as large family and how Mario is proud of his sons. Both Jeff and Michael are skilled drivers and Mario says Michael is better then Mario ever was.
The season ends and there is but one more thing to see…Don Lyons has completed his roadster and it is beautiful. So much love and dedication and its all in the car. The only questions remain are 1.) Will it actually run? 2). If it does,who is going to drive it???
Director Stephen Low is the master of the IMAX film,his work is simply amazing. He directed my favorite film that I have watched on a IMAX screen,”Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag”. He captures some of the best angles ever shot here,you feel like you are the one driving the car and his allowing Mario to race Michael is wise choice. When you have only 8 minutes of film in which to shoot,you have to pick your best chances for getting some exciting action very carefully!
I loved this documentary,this is my second IMAX documentary that the cheetah and I have watched and reviewed. These are some incredible pieces of work. While this film is only 50 minutes,its jammed packed with action and great behind the workings of a Indy car team.
“Super Speedway” also comes with a companion piece of how this movie was made. There was a little bit of Hollywood tossed in here and how they rigged the cars with the cameras was really interesting to watch as well. The companion piece runs for 47 minutes and it also very good.
There is one special feature,a 6 minute clip of bonus footage of Mario driving.
You can see about owning a copy of Super Speedway by clicking the link.
You already know the cheetah gave this 4 paws and a tail up and I gave a thumbs up for fine little documentary.