Posted by: greercn | November 30, 2009

3D – Worth The Glasses You Need To Use?

The concept of putting unbelievably unattractive glasses on to add depth perception is a weird one. As a concept, it intrigues and compels me. When I was about 10, I saw an ad for a group of incredibly good-looking teenagers wearing the stupid glasses. They were having a great time at a movie and it looked like a red car was jumping out of the screen at them. I wanted to be one of them.

I have no idea which movie or product was being advertised, but the image stuck in my head. I was indoctrinated: wear 3D glasses and go to 3D movies and you will have a good time and be a cool kid.

There were four movies in 2009 that I saw that needed the glasses. I was in New York City (I live in London, England) and I went to see Monsters vs Aliens. I am not sure the glasses did anything to enhance the movie experience, but it was fun to be with a bunch of people going “ooh” and “ah” and the various monsters, aliens, human (albeit cartoon) heroes and villains moving straight towards me, hovering over my head and jumping around. The effects cost something like $15 million US and – of all the 3D movies I saw – this was the one that really made the most of the technology.

It was also huge fun to see the movie with people I used to see a lot of movies with at university. That feeling of being a teenager again – and being with people who will always be teenagers in my head – really added to the experience.

Having a soft spot for the worst kind of horror movie, I dragged my Usual Cinema Buddy to see “Final Destination”. If you’re not familiar with the oeuvre – and I use the term ironically – people die horribly, one by one, but in a cartoonish way. The parts were played by real people, but they were slightly less affecting and more cartoon-like than the Reese Witherspoon character in “Monster vs Aliens”. I quite liked the wheel that cut off my head (figuratively) but could have done without being absorbed into the bottom of the swimming pool.

That scene stayed in my head and, just like the shower murder scene in  “Psycho” changed my shower habits for a little while, so I felt uncomfortable about swimming in the deep end, until the trauma healed.  It is most odd to think whick films affect me like that and which don’t. “Jaws” never put me off going to any beach yet “Psycho” stopped me from having a shower for about five years.

The effects in “Final Destination” are visceral (literally), nasty, violent and shocking. I am told by American and Canadian friends that the effects are just as real when viewed on a TV at home with the appropriate glasses.

“G -Force” was about gunea pigs who are spies. Yes, really and it was an unadulterated and lovely pleasure. A complete hoot! The bumble bee coming toward you is probably the best use of 3D in 2009, but what’s not to love about cute little guinea pigs made by Disney at its best and Jerry Bruckheimer’s all-action approach to things exploding with big noises? Our hero guinea pig is called “Darwin” and the villain is Bill Nighy (villains are always from England in American movies in 2009) and the whole thing just gallops along at an incredible pace.

And for “Lost” fans, the fact that one of the guinea pigs is called “Hurley” will make their cup runneth over.

There is something that reminds you of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” in terms of the mixing of people and animated characters. It works as a mix.

I would recommend all but the most hard-hearted and unsentimental to see this film. It is so enjoyable. The 3D doesn’t add a great deal to the story or effects, but there are some lovely textures and shades that are enhanced by the glasses.

“Up” was a film I so looked forward to and yet, apart from the lovely first minutes showing a joyful, offbeat and long-lasting marriage, it all felt a little flat. The story is compelling and the travel effects are involving and entertaining. The moving balloons (thousands in different colours) and the waterfall probably are the best use of 3D in the movie and it is a brave attempt to do something different in 3D with animation.

But I am still waiting for the movie that will make me the cool kid with the red car coming toward me. If any movie can offer me that, I am right there in the front row, with bells on. And I will finally love the stupid glasses.

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