I wouldn’t call myself crotchety or mistrustful of new technologies and ideas. But sometimes it takes me a while to come around to such things and decide that they are relevant to me as a consumer and not just simply a way to get gullible people to drop dollars on unnecessary or ridiculous items that will soon be obsolete. Take the E-reader for instance, I didn’t jump on that bandwagon until Christmas 2011. You can read about an experience with my Kindle Fire™ here.
My view of the 3-D movie or TV trend began in the same fashion. Previously, I saw little to no value in 3-D movies and had pegged them as a fad that would fade into technological history along with other “great” ideas that never caught on. Those ideas were so “great” in fact that I am failing to come up with a legitimate example at the moment.
The 3-D movie trend started way back in 2003, but I never wanted to pay extra for the ticket. The first movie that I saw in 3-D was Clash of the Titans in 2010. This may not have been the best choice to be my first experience with the 3-D thing because the 3-D experience was tacked on in post-production. But it is what it is. I saw Clash of the Titans in 3-D at the request of a friend and was not very impressed with the results. You can read a review of the film released in 3-D by Den of Geek! here. I didn’t really feel like it added anything to the experience and, to be honest, felt a little fleeced when the credits rolled. After this disappointment, I continued my boycott of the 3-D venture.
Last weekend, I went with a couple of friends to see Life of Pi. I had read the book a couple of years ago and was really excited to see the film. My friends wanted to go 3-D. I agreed, though I didn’t anticipate anything spectacular. I expected the movie to be good, of course. But I didn’t expect that the 3-D would add anything to the experience.
In all honesty, I was severely mistaken. The movie was awesome. I think that the movie would have been spectacular had I seen it only in 2-D because the filmmakers did an excellent job converting the story from the book. But viewing it in 3-D was an extraordinary experience that really rocketed this film to the top of my list. The concept behind 3-D film fit the movie well because the story is so vivid and sensual to begin with. The experiences of the narrator are dream-like and his story is fantastical, so much so that people don’t believe him. The 3-D technology brought those components to life in a way that enhanced the sensuousness and images of the exotic that are often associated with India. It made the viewing experience more real.
Following Life of Pi, I also saw The Hobbit in 3-D (as well as at the faster frame-rate). My experience in this movie was also very positive overall. The only time the film was difficult to follow was if the camera panned too quickly or if a character was only partially in view in the corner. It was weird when they stuck out in 3-D. It was very much like standing behind a person in real life. It only felt weird because I had not experienced such a sensation before while watching a movie.
My favorite thing though from my 3-D viewing of The Hobbit has nothing to do with the story. There is a scene with the sun high in the sky and the rays and the glare from the sun are amplified by the 3-D. It made me feel like I was standing there alongside the characters with the sun glaring in my eyes. It was a truly novel sensation and worth every penny.
My recent epiphanous experiences with 3-D films is comparable to the first time I watched something in HD on television. The clarity was amazing and made me feel like I was right there in the middle of the action. Even as an avid proponent of books who often looks down her nose at television, I was mesmerized.
I know that my initial dislike of the 3-D concept came about because I was watching movies that weren’t filmed with the idea of being made into 3-D. It was merely an afterthought for showing off and a way to make more money. In those movies, the 3-D images are not necessarily chosen to enhance the story or the viewing experience.
But, when a film is crafted with the initial idea of showing it in 3-D, the viewer is certainly in for a real treat. They experience the excitement that I felt as I sat through them. The fourth wall is made pliable and the viewer is virtually in the midst of the action.
After these two very positive 3-D film experiences, I must retract all former statements concerning my initial dislike of the 3-D film concept and I can say with all certainty that I will be seeing more 3-D movies.