I went to the 8:30 ayem press screening of Zodiac this morning just to see how it looked, and what I saw alarmed me. Despite director David Fincher having allegedly checked the print being shown, a slightly distorted version of Zodiac was shown. The Grand Palais projectionist was using a slightly wrong lens, the result being that the images in the film looked a bit more expanded horizontally than they should have.
Jake Gyllenhaal, those first murder victims at Lake Berryessa, Candy Clark, Robert Downey…they all had slightly wider heads that they should have. Every image was just a little bit fatter than the actual proportions of the people, sets and objects that Fincher shot. I’ve seen this film three times, and I know what I’m talking about. Because the image was over-expanded horizontally and because widescreen aperture plates don’t change, this also meant that the sides of the images that Fincher shot were slightly shaved off.
I told the guys at Pheonix what I saw, and one wrote back and said that Fincher “qc’d the movie last night, and I was told that [this morning’s] screening was exactly the same as what David saw and approved, so I’m not sure what the issue is.” I wrote back and said that “whatever Fincher approved, something went a little bit wrong for this morning’s screening. I’ve worked as a projectionist and I know what I’m talking about. The proportion of the images are not quite right. I’m not hallucinating, and I had only one glass of wine last night.”