3D Movies? No Thanks.

I like pretty pictures. Today, I saw my first 3D movie, Alice in Wonderland. After seeing it, I have decided that anyone that says 3D is an incredible experience either a) has vision problems and/or b) does not appreciate a high definition image. By no means is a “2D” movie high definition (speckles and grainyness), but it does look decent for its size. “3D” is a step backwards in terms of quality.

Firstly, the glasses they give you have the same effect as wearing sunglasses. I’m sorry, but when did anyone wear sunglasses to a cinema? This significantly dulls the brightness and vibrancy of colour in the image. Throughout the whole movie I had the urge to remove the glasses to see the image with the brightness dial turned up. These 3D films, like Avatar, have “groundbreaking” CG. You would think that you’d like to view this image in it’s originally rendered, bright and beautiful colours, no?

The next complaint is about the focused portions of the image. Many will notice, when compared to the “2D” version, that a vast majority of the image is blurred to focus your eyes on the 3D portion. Although, this didn’t give me a headache (like some do suffer), I did find it very frustrating that I was unable to explore “groundbreaking” CG scenery. Instead, you are forced to focus on a portion of the image that, sometimes, isn’t even the character/object that is meant to be the centre of attention. To top it off, there are often objects that are presented in 3D but out of focus. Naturally, you are drawn to focus on that object but you become confused that the object looks both horrible and out of focus.

The movie was viewed at Hoyts Norwood (Adelaide, South Australia). The screen is most certainly not the biggest but it was the “Xtreme Screen” of the cinema. Now, I’m not quite sure if this is a 3D technology technicality or if it’s just how this movie was shot, but, the movie did not take up the whole screen (width wise). It was apparent to me that the curtain was still drawn over the edges of the screen. Firstly, this is supposed to be a spectacular image, why the hell isn’t it big? Secondly, this causes much disappointment when “3D” objects are flung off the side of the screen. Initially, the effect is cool, it looks like it’s coming towards you…but you are significantly disappointed when the border of the screen makes the image disappear and not the corner of your eye. Perhaps this would be more spectacular on an IMAX screen?

3D does, however, work in some cases. I found that when there is only one character on the screen, it worked well (an example in Alice in Wonderland is Cheshire Cat ). Also, ambient effects, such as smoke and fireflies, would add depth to the image. Fast moving objects, such as falling or flinged objects can also work, but I found that the fast moving object would often be blurred making it look very gimmicky. In Alice in Wonderland, I found that “real life” scenes were only partially in 3D and that the effect on “real life” scenes were underwhelming. CG generated scenes took more advantage of the 3D “technology”, significantly.

For non-glasses wearers, such as myself, these things are uncomfortable. I don’t choose to wear glasses for a reason and I’m pretty sure that most people that wear glasses only wear them because they have to.

For all this, you pay an extra AU$6 (Student). What a jip. Now, I understand that the technology to shoot the movie costs more, but I’m fairly sure the cinema does not need to purchase new projectors to show the film (I could be wrong). Why am I paying extra? New movies continuously use new and more expensive technology and we generally don’t pay extra. I can go see this movie in 2D and pay the normal price. Gimmick? Yup.

Where’s my damn hologram.

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