RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Good news and bad news for Triangle Star Wars fans today.

The good: “Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones” is coming to the really big show – IMAX theaters.

The bad: “Attack of the Clones” won’t be coming to Raleigh’s IMAX at Exploris anytime soon.

“We just heard about it,” Chris Schmidt, who handles public relations for Exploris, told me Thursday afternoon. “We still have to see the contract and review the terms before we can make any decisions.”

Personally, I hope Exploris can bring “Clones” to town ASAP — as in, get the contract and sign it. What would Yoda say? “There is no review; do.”

(Charlotte also has an IMAX, and there are four IMAX theaters in Georgia. We’ll watch for play dates and schedule then post when they are available.)

Daily Variety broke the story on Tuesday that IMAX Corporation, 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm Ltd. Would be reformatting and rolling out “Clones” at 70 theaters on Nov. 1. But where it will be shown hasn’t been disclosed.

If you haven’t been to Exploris or an IMAX theater, you are missing out on the cinematic version of the big bang. The mammoth screen. The incredible sound. The sparkling clear images.

Fox says the IMAX format “will provide an entirely new way to experience the ‘Star Wars’ universe.”

Beam me up, Scotty. I’m ready.

There’s no doubt that putting “Star Wars” in that venue will add another dimension for fans of the 25-year-old series. Frankly, I can’t wait to see what Yoda and the gang look like after mastermind George Lucas reformats for the giant screen.

And someday maybe the original will be reformatted -or , dare I say, cloned. Can you imagine what that scene with Luke Skywalker diving into that canyon on the Death Star will look – and feel – like in an IMAX? It’s enough to make me shudder.

As much as Exploris may want to show “Clones”, Schmidt said the museum must first see what the contract calls for. Sometimes, he explains, those owning film rights demand exclusive showings. Also, Exploris must book films months in advance.

Unfortunately, Exploris also doesn’t have any plans to show “Apollo 13”, the Tom Hanks smash 1995 space odyssey, either. “Apollo 13” is to hit selected IMAX theaters on Sept. 20 for a limited six-week run.

Exploris will be offering a new film come November: Jane Goodall’s “Wild Chimpanzees”. The film first hit screens in Canada in May and opens in the United States in October.

If you haven’t checked out the IMAX in downtown Raleigh, do so. The Shackleton film showing now is nothing short of breathtaking — especially the scenes from the hurricane which are so real they might send you reeling for the exit.

More films coming

To go to IMAX involves much more than just “blowing up” the images.
Changing “Clones” has been a long process. A Fox spokesman told Reuters that the transformation process is a frame-by-frame ordeal and takes five weeks. Cost? $20 million to convert it.

But “Apollo 13” and “Clones” are only the first of Hollywood films being transformed. Also on the way is “The Lion King” from Disney. Reusters also reports that Disney will release the forthcoming “Treasure Planet” in conventional as well as IMAX theaters in November.

For the latest news on IMAX happenings, go to:

Big Movie Zone:

Rick Smith is managing editor of Local Tech Wire.