It's been a year since we last heard anything about "Amazing," the feature film produced by the NBA and the Shanghai Film Group featuring the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Scottie Pippen, Yi Jianlian and Wang Zhizhi, billed as "the first NBA-themed motion picture outside of North America" and built around a virtual reality basketball video game with visuals reportedly akin to "Tron: Legacy." Given that lag in updates, and the fact that it's been plodding along in development since before 2010, you might have thought that the project — which, clearly, sounds 100 percent bonkers — had been shelved or even scuttled altogether.
Well, it hasn't. "Amazing" premiered at the Shanghai International Film Festival last week and a new trailer for it has just been released, and I have good news — it looks just as crazy as it did last year. Behold:
Since you almost definitely couldn't make heads or tails of what was going on in there, here's more on "Amazing" — which, despite extensive visual effects work and 3-D animation, reportedly only cost $10 million to make — from Julie Makinen of the Los Angeles Times:
"Amazing" centers on a video game company boss, Frank (Eric Mabius of TV's "Ugly Betty"), who is eager to rush his firm's new thought-controlled basketball game to market, despite the objections of the project leader Bingshan (popular Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming), who warns that a bug in the system could escape the computer and infect players' brains.
Along the way, Anthony shows up to coach an after-school program in China and speaks Shanghainese. Pippen materializes at the bedside of his No. 1 Chinese fan, and wakes him from a coma by massaging his legs. Howard appears in a light blue spandex superhero get-up with a cape and tries to use chopsticks.
"Think about the basketball as being a girl," Howard tells Bingshan in one memorable line of dialogue during a one-on-one pickup game. "You've got to hold her, caress her, kiss her, and when you do that, she'll make you happy."
All of this — all of this — sounds 100 percent perfect. Chinese audiences will reportedly get to bask in the perfection in mid-October, with the film's release slated to "coincide with China's National Day holiday and the NBA Global Games," according to Makinen. (The Los Angeles Lakers, who may or may not still employ Howard come October, will be participating in the Global Games.)
American audiences might not, though; there's no firm plan for a stateside release, according to David Shoemaker of NBA China. This, to put it mildly, is an outrage. Here's hoping our Chinese brethren flock to the cinema to make "Amazing" the most successful film in world history, thus ensuring it comes to the U.S. (Or, at the very least, rips and uploads a screener so that we can check out the virtual-reality goodness.)
Hat-tip to r/NBA, the keepers of the "Amazing" flame.