22 Mar 2010

3D Cinema - does it make any difference

So I watched my third 3D movie on Saturday night (also the third with Maddie!) the rather brilliant Alice in Wonderland & it got my brain thinking about the whole 3D cinema (& forthcoming Sky TV) move in 2009/2010. It's not the first time that the film industry has tried 3D - I researched a bit & they existed even in the late 1800's - it's not a new idea. However in 2008 there was a small number of releases in 3D, then in 2009, there was a resurgence of 3D entering the mainstream - there were at least a dozen last year, of which I saw 2: Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs & Avatar.Now in 2010 they're everywhere! So below are my thoughts:

Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs - was my first foray into 'the world of 3D cinema' (yes I'm aware of the 'I wish everything was in 3D' gag - I keep spreading it after all!) & it was immediately apparent that there was something different about the presentation of the film - the screen seemed more alive than ever before.It was quite bizarre to see Manny's tusks & trunk (he's the Mammoth don't you know!) pop out of the screen - bizarre but good. Also because 3D is effectively messing with your perspectives & depth perception, it took a little while for my eyes to adjust. One thing that I thought was useful for this was one of the adverts (for Real D, the 3D glasses company) which had a dog with a ball which he chased round the screen - nice.

Avatar - simply stunning in 3D - there's lots of depth perception & it's a great movie...& so it should be, with a supposed budget of around $500m, I would expect excellence! It was subtle in the most part - fireflys & sparks/ash outside the main screen, pieces of scenery flying towards you - it was magical stuff. I'll wait till I get it on Blu Ray (end of April) & think on it again, but a definite winner in my book! You definitely get a sense of the fabric of the universe that Jim Cameron was trying to create. As with all films there are elements of plodding at points, but the general progression of the film was of the most epic of scales. You could tell it was in 3D but it was subtle enough but even from some of the earliest scenes (with the main protagonist coming out of cybersleep) show the huge depth & lengths that the director went to 3D pretty much everything. It's the highest grossing film of all time (so far)...I think I know why, but is it the 3D element or not - that's to be seen when the Blu Ray appears next month.

Alice in Wonderland - a very good film, but the 3D element was almost unnoticeable (apart from the traditional & necessary running through the trees clip). However, the film was (pardon the obvious pun) wonderful. I'm vaguely familiar with the source material (I must have seen Disney animate version at some point in my youth) & knew some of the characters. I also know that the author was based in Oxford. However, it was exciting to see a fresh take on everything & Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat was brilliant. All the characters seemed authentic & magical and it really did feel like a dream most of the time. Jonny Depp was his usual mad self (sorry!) as the Hatter & Helena Bonham-Carter was great as the selfish Red Queen. I think it's definitely worth watching, but I'm not sure that the 3D element was essential, as it's difficult to see where it was used. However, this might well be the beauty of the medium.

For further reading: this BBC article looks at the current trend of fast releases for home use (Blu Ray & DVD) - an interesting read.
And while the debate about DVD release windows goes on, a further element in the mix is the dawn of 3D television.3D sets are already on sale in the US, and manufacturers hope to launch their products in the UK and Europe over the next couple of months. Sky rolls out its 3D service to customers later this year."3D in the home is coming," says Mr Cooper, "but those TV sets are going to be a bit more expensive than the standard top of the range 2D HD TVs - and if people want to watch 3D films it is a question of buying into a 3D enabled Blu-ray player."
The debate continues...

No comments: