It's not new information that Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony are going to star in a feature film titled "Amazing," a joint production between the NBA and the Shanghai Film Group (SFG) that's been billed as "the first NBA-themed motion picture outside of North America." The NBA and SFG announced the film project in August 2010, and we promptly noted how fascinating it sounded, how excited we were for it, and how big an opportunity it appeared to present for sheer filmic disaster.
But you'd be forgiven if you forgot about "Amazing," because things have been pretty quiet on the development front since that initial announcement. The scheduled summer 2011 release date came and went, as the league and its players tended to other, more pressing business. 'Melo moved from Denver to Manhattan and appeared on "Nurse Jackie," while Dwight seemingly tried to move from Orlando before hemming/hawing his way into a one-year extension with the Magic, and appeared in "The Three Stooges." And in the absence of updates, it seemed like the project had been, at the very least, de-emphasized. Film buffs the world over began to fear that the film would never see the light of day.
[Adrian Wojnarowski: NBA hoping to generate more revenue with World Cup of Basketball proposal]
This last weekend, though, roundball-loving cineastes received some long overdue good news. Not only is "Amazing" back, on its way to global cineplexes and sounding bigger and better than ever, but thanks to the magic of The Basketball Jones' Trey Kerby, we now know what it looks like. And oh, man, does it look even more insane and great than we'd hoped.
Li Anlan of the Shanghai Daily has some details on the film:
For the first time, the NBA is partnering with a non-US film studio to release a major film overseas, the producers announced at a global press conference [...]
"Amazing," a production by the Shanghai Film Group, tells the story of a fictional world known as "The Sixth Sense." It uses basketball imagery to combine the visual elements of a video game with a movie, akin to the 2010 American science fiction film "Tron: Legacy."
Stop drilling, NBA, Shanghai Film Group and acclaimed director Sherwood Hu, because holy cow, have you struck oil. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. More basketball movies that are, to any degree and in any capacity, like "Tron: Legacy," please.
Like, no disrespect to Kevin Durant's upcoming "Thunderstruck," but I think we can all agree that we as a society need more basketball movies that take place in chaotic, neon-soaked, CGI-dominated landscapes, and if we can get Dwight on a 7-foot-long light cycle, so much the better. More movies that take the NBA and its players out of reality and puts them into "a fictional world known as 'The Sixth Sense,'" which seems like an especially weird name for a world in a movie considering there already is a movie called "The Sixth Sense" that had a world in it that involved ghosts and things, but anyway: Yes, more of that, please.
More movies that star not only Anthony and Howard, but also Yi Jianlian and Scottie Pippen, whom the Shanghai Daily's Anlan reported were both attached to appear and who are there for your viewing pleasure in the trailer. More reported appearances in movies by Yao Ming and Wang Zhi-Zhi, too. More of literally everything this is about.
But wait: There's even more.
"The movie … is intended to show a few urban white-collar basketball fans realized the truth of life in basketball the face of temptations. The hero of the film played by Huang Xiaoming is a game tester, testing a new 'virtual reality' basketball game, this virtual world is not so simple, even accidentally involved in some thrilling adventure."
This jives with the initial one-line descriptor offered by the NBA and SFG way back when, when they called the film "a basketball-themed movie about young people achieving their dreams through hard work." Except for, you know, the whole virtual reality component, which is obviously a pretty big component.
If Rudnitsky is correct and "Amazing" is, ostensibly, "like Chinese 'Space Jam,' but for adults," it's going to be one of the most unbelievable things ever committed to film/digital video. Actually, scratch that — it is already that. This is, in every sense of the word, pretty unbelievable to me. I can't wait to
illegally download it off the Internet travel to China to cover the premiere this summer.
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- Dwight Howard