Who doesn’t like free? And who doesn’t like great iPad apps? When the two come together it’s good stuff. With that in mind, we’d like to share our Best Free iPad App of the Week here every weekend.
This week’s pick is Paramount100 – an app that marks the 100th anniversary of Paramount Pictures and celebrates 100 years of movie making at Paramount. Here’s a little slice of its App Store description:
The year 2012 marks Paramount Pictures’ 100th Anniversary and this 100 Years of Movie Magic app is an exploration of the studio’s incredibly rich and storied history. From Paramount’s modest beginning in 1912 with Queen Elizabeth to Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, the app provides a fresh and innovative opportunity to experience your favorite films by flipping through never-before-seen photos, watching memorable film clips, and listening to timeless music scores.
When you first open the app you’re greeted with a slideshow featuring images from a dozen Paramount movies that have won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
The app’s main content sections are these:
Foreword: a one page piece by Paramount’s current Chairman and CEO, Brad Grey – that talks about Paramount’s history as the longest standing Hollywood movie studio and lists some of its most successful and memorable films. It’s a little surprising that it makes no mention of the iPad app that it is the foreword for.
The Paramount Story: A brief history of Paramount from its beginnings right through to today.
100 Years in Pictures: A long series of individual pages for Paramount movies dating back to 1912. Each film has one big photo page with an Information popover available via a tap on the top bar – you can also tap to get details and see more images of the film.
Films: A coverflow-style slider to let you browse through movies by year from 1912 to 2011, or switch to browsing by movie titles from A-Z.
Academy Awards: A look through the Oscar history of the films by date or A-Z – shows details of nominations and wins for each.
Studio Tour: Maps and location details for Paramount Studios.
Scene It: A page where you can try out the Scene It movies trivia game within the app. You can take one hundred question quiz and if you want more you’ll be prompted to get the Scene It game in the App Store.
When you’re choose to look at an individual movie in the Films or 100 Years in Pictures sections, there are buttons along the top nav bar for: Info (brief details on the film) Media (more photos and short video clips for some of the films), Academy Awards (Oscars info), Purchase (links to iTunes to buy or rent the movie where available), and Share (via email, Facebook, and Twitter).
I should mention that the app does feel very much like a Version 1.0 (which it is) in several places. It’s a little crash-prone and it has some elements that do not work as intended. A few examples of this include:
— Some of the short movie clips play unevenly and the screen just goes black in some sections in the in-app player.
— The Purchase / Watch Now links are often broken – some of them throw up ‘server cannot be reached’ sort of errors, others just take you to the wrong iTunes page.
— There’s a big mess on the Media sections for all the Star Trek movies. The media for nearly all of them shows Star Trek Generations for example.
In spite of a handful of 1.0 style bugs, what really makes this app compelling is the great photos. I especially enjoy the old movie posters used in some of the coverflow views, photos of classics across the decades, and some great behind the scenes images.
Here’s an App Store link for Paramount100.
If you’re after more great free iPad apps, be sure to check out our previous choices for Best Free iPad of the Week.