Monday, January 24, 2011

It's a 3D world.

Someday, everything will be in 3-D! Um, yes, well... it already is, isn't it? I think that a lot of corporate eyeballs cha-ching with dollar signs at the thought of making 3D the standard for ALL movies and television, games, handheld devices, and what's next? Billboards? Spreadsheets? It's always been a gimmick, but for a decade or two there's been a huge push to move it over into that realm of things that society thinks of as necessities or needs.

It's really really great that certain movies are in 3D (and IMAX), and then others should not have gone there. {Two-bit movie reviews follow…}

The worst one I've seen was Superman Returns. I hated the movie, first of all, but to make the mention relevant, they only had parts of it in 3D and I thought they were poorly done (speaking of the 3D effects).

The best 3D I've seen is called Deep Sea, which is one of those short films that are perfect for the museum setting (41 minutes). Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet narrate - and the 3D effects were stunning! It was one big Wow. Another one with gorgeous 3D is, of course, Avatar. Visually it was everything it was cracked up to be... and then some. Toy Story 3 was great watching in 3D (although we saw it on a regular-sized screen instead of IMAX) as was Up.

Alice in Wonderland (seen in IMAX), in my opinion, was a disappointment not redeemed by 3D effects, costumes or Johhny Depp. The 3D was not well done, and disintegrated badly for me into double images at the edges (and sometimes in the center). Distracting! I think that all of them in IMAX will do that to some degree, because your eyes have to get some exercise in order to see the whole screen, and the edges are a considerable distance further than or closer to your eyes, depending on where you’re sitting. I guess the solution to that would be to not put important stuff at the sides of the screen! Tron: Legacy was pretty good when it came to 3D and effects. It lent itself well, especially in Hugh Jass IMAX. There was some problem at the edges, but the subject matter managed to excuse that for me. The other thing it excused (and this is OT) was the digitalizing of actors. Man! Is that creepy! Technology is getting it closer all the time, but the fact that it’s not there yet is too obvious to forgive – BUT – in this case the young Jeff Bridges is supposed to be that creepy digital guy in most instances, so it’s OK. It’s not a great movie but I thought it was OK, and if Jeff-Bridges-in-Anything is not enough enticement, Michael Sheen has a short but delicious part… plus substantial eye-candy (I just realized that Garrett Hedlund also played Patroclus, the beautiful cousin of Achilles in Troy.

Before Tron: Legacy they showed a trailer for the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean movie which will be available in 3D IMAX. I have to say this: I will absolutely see this movie but I think I would really hate it in 3D IMAX. It was very disorienting and it seems like the whole thing is designed around those schlocky old 3D devices like jabbing or throwing things toward the viewer.

I keep a pair of cardboard red/cyan glasses (a lot like The Doctor is wearing there, which might be red/blue, it's hard to tell) on my desk, just in case I run across something fun on the web, like this flickr group, this guy who has anaglyph 3D videos and more, or just do a general search for 3D video. Those suckers really work!

Lots of them offer "no glasses required" which means that you will be required to relax and cross your eyes for 3D to emerge, as it was in the old, handheld stereoscopic devices. This video popped up recently about 3D with no glasses required. A lot of people seem to think it's fake, but whether it's fake or not, it's pretty funny - either a joke or just crazy as hell.
The *real* "3D without glasses" is hopefully going to be less painful, either with a viewer panel placed over the TV or someday with holograms. Sadly, though, we are just not there yet. The glasses you wear for 3D TV sets darken the picture significantly (like sunglasses), and if the picture is going to degrade, I would just as soon stick with the schlock, like this one*.

Alphabetical list of 3D movies

*somehow, I managed to see this movie a few times at the theater while I was still in high school, regardless of its so-called X-rating. It was a real cheezball.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Call me a curmudgeon, call me a Luddite, call me whatever -- but I must confess that I'm not a big fan of 3D movies. Plain old 2D is good enough for me. Damn progress, always mucking things up *grumble, snort, fart*

Connie, Orlando said...

The only 3D movie I've ever seen was Epcot's Michael Jackson movie. Only saw it once, although I went to Epcot numerous times (when Fla residents could get a 3 month pass to all the parks for $30). Don't go to Disney, Epcot nor will I ever go to Animal Kingdom. I protested it's opening on several occasions. Left wing, commie, animal rights activist that I am. Never been to Universal. Not a big fan of tourists.

Blueberry said...

Debra: I hear you. 3D is in its "growing pains" period. The methods of perceiving 3D aren't very healthy, esp. for very young kids, which is something I didn't get around to chatting about. It's best left as a gimmick for young adults and older - at least right now. Get out and see the *actual* world, which has the best 3D ever!

Connie: I used to live in Florida but it was before Disney World was built. Now it's hard to envision Florida without it! Never been to Disney or Epcot, and probably will never go.

Connie, Orlando said...

I came to Orlando from Miami before Disney. It was green and wonderful then. Where did you live in Florida?

Blueberry said...

Panama City in the late 50s/early 60s, Sarasota in the late 60s.

Connie, Orlando said...

I've been in Florida since a baby in 1953. Never visited the Panhandle and really should. Sarasota is a nice area, although it's been over 10 years since I've visited. I don't travel much. You must have been a kid when you were here.

Blueberry said...

Started 1st Grade in Panama City.

Ricky Shambles said...

I saw Avatar in IMAX 3D and loved it, but don't see it as practical. I noted today Time Warner Cable is offering 3D on demand and wanted to find someone who actually bought a 3DHDTV and smack them in the mouth.

Blueberry said...

We just bought a new TV, and it's not a 3DTV but it's 3D-capable, whatever that means. I'm guessing that's going to be the standard for new TVs.