Up and the 3D experience

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, June 10, 2009, 3:30 PM | comments: 4

My summer thing, especially sans a day job, is to go see lots of movies. This year, I haven't really done that, because there haven't been that many that I wanted to see. But I figured I'd go see Up, the 3D version, to see what that was about. I'll get to the 3D in a minute.

First of all, I still don't get the flack that people gave Disney/Pixar for Wall-E. I mean, there were people who genuinely hated that movie. I thought it was brilliant. The Pixar era has largely shed marketable characters for strong storytelling, and I think that's a step in the right direction. Up goes that way as well.

The story begins with a very moving story that sets things up, and plays with themes of discovery, regret and loss from start to finish. More importantly though, it explores how we perceive our lives in terms of the adventures we have, or haven't had, and whether or not it matters. I think ultimately they were trying to impress upon us that your life is so precious in nearly every way, that no matter what you do with it, your life is as fulfilling as you make it.

Of course, that's something that's probably lost on a lot of younger kids, so they've drawn some excellent characters that have some very funny moments. It's certainly not preachy the way that Wall-E was, but it attempts to be every bit as deep. If it doesn't make you, as an adult, think about your life, and how awesome it was, is and will be, then you're not paying attention.

As for the 3D thing, I almost bailed to come back for a later non-3D showing. My local theater was charging an extra $3.50. Fortunately it was the first showing, so the base price was five bucks, but holy crap. I sucked it up and paid it anyway, figuring that since I'm a movie enthusiast, I'll see what this 3D nonsense is all about. I suspect what it's most about is subsidizing digital projectors where they didn't have them before.

It's clearly a gimmick that is packing them in, because five of the six previews were in 3D for forthcoming movies. And for an 11:30 movie on a movie on a Wednesday, there were a ton of people there.

The quality of the projection and the glasses is surprisingly good. It still uses two projectors, but it doesn't seem to mess with your head or cause headaches. In fact, ten minutes into the film, I stopped consciously realizing that I was seeing a 3D film. It doesn't have any 3D gimmicks to speak of, it's just 3D. The only thing that this format suffers from is that your eyes don't get to choose what to focus on, so backgrounds will always be blurry even if you want to look at them. Still, the animated genre is well-suited to the format, as the various animated previews demonstrated. Rodriguez's next kids movie is also 3D, and it holds up pretty well in the previews.

So with the decent quality and such, is it worth paying extra for? Honestly, not really. It doesn't really add anything to the performance beyond the initial fascination. Maybe that's one of the faults of the technology being as good as it is. If it's good enough to forget you're watching 3D, what's the point? It's hard to say. If it was a buck more, not $3.50, I'd probably say yes, it's worth it. Still, I'm impressed to see how well the system works.



June 10, 2009, 3:39 PM #

What has the world come to? My soul brother in the "shit costs money" realm is stressing over $3.50?

At least now you know that the 3D thing isn't for you.


June 10, 2009, 4:05 PM #

Yeah, but if I were paying nine bucks or more for movies, I probably wouldn't see very many. I'm spoiled that my local theater does the five dollar first showing thing.


June 12, 2009, 7:46 AM #

Actually, Jeff, I believe the Disney Digital 3D is shot from a single projector.


June 12, 2009, 10:28 AM #

That's what the RealD site says too, but it sure appeared to have two beams coming from the projection window.

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