Old enough to remember the 3D glasses of the 80’s? They were nothing like today. The lenses were thin blue and red film material and the frames were made of paper. Kids ran around the house with these glasses hoping to see life in 3D. Of course it never worked. Your friend would be red or blue but that was about it. In those days, the most that you would hope to gain from a 3D movie was a projectile shooting through the screen every 10 minutes (ex. Friday the 13th Part 3). It didn’t feel like the characters were standing next to you nor did it feel like you were a part of the action. Those were expectations for 3D. That hasn't changed.
In 2012, there’s a small spike in high impact action movies and even dance movies are being distributed in 3D. In the theaters, 3D glasses are sleek, stylish, and durable much like the Oakley brand eyewear. You’ll also find 3D Blu-rays. Glasses for the television are equally as nice as the theater glasses but you’re lucky to get 2 pair of them with your 3D TV set. You’ll have to come out of your pocket with more money to buy extras. Write a note to yourself to forget about watching 3D movies at home if you have guests. Not to mention, you will spend a few more dollars on calculator sized batteries.
I saw The Avengers and The Amazing Spiderman in 3D. The Avengers 3D XD was a choice that I made prior to leaving the house since I wanted a) the experience of the large screen and b) my 2nd theater 3D experience. If I remember correctly XD was an $18 ticket ( midday ). The Amazing Spiderman 3D was a last second decision only because I didn’t want to wait 30 minutes for the next showing. I was surprised when the cashier asked for only $8 so I gave it up gladly. I had an extra $7 to snack on chicken tenders and drink.
My issues with 3D appeared very early in both films.
I don’t feel that 3D leads to a better understanding of the films. It seems to be a marketing ploy to rake in more dollars. As usual, I tend to flip my glasses up ever so often to see if I notice differences. There are a few differences but for the most part a viewer can watch a 3D film without the glasses and clearly understand most parts of the movie. There are specific scenes that the director obviously takes exception with and decides to make those flagship scenes for the 3D presentation. Otherwise, it’s safe to say that most 3D films are probably converted to 3D rather than shot with 3D cameras like James Cameron did.
Technically, each film looks and sounds good. There are shots that I feel were great (especially a pull out shot toward the very end of the film). However, both films are a few shades darker than what I’m accustomed to seeing in theaters. The daylight scenes are no exception. The edges of the frames are often darker than the middle (note: it might get progressively better if you sit dead center of the theater). For cinematographers, I equate the darkness to the 35mm HD lens adaptor translation of each frame without the soft texture.
If you find that the 3D viewing is priced close to the 2D ticket, take a chance on 3D and see what you think. If you’re taking the family, and you haven’t seen a 3D movie yet, don’t say that I didn’t warn you. You might be slightly disappointed. Save that extra $3 to $10 per ticket for your nachos, a chicken strip salad, or a burger (*).
(*) If you haven’t tried Studio Movie Grill, and you’re tired of expensive hot dog or popcorn meals, try it. Burgers, pizzas, salads, smoothies; you name it, they probably have it.
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