Saturday, February 07, 2009

Coraline? Thumbs up! 3D cinema? Thumbs down!

The clan Lango all trundled our way out into the spring-like warmth of a sunny Saturday afternoon to take in the visual feast that is "Coraline". Go see it. It's NOT your typical animated film at all- and that's the best thing about it. Laika nailed it. There's things in this film that you'd never see from the big studios because they'd never dream of trying it. And by being bold they managed to do something that has been a rare accomplishment- every single member of our family loved it. Including my wife- who is certainly not your target audience for this kind of film. She finds most animated films to be a waste of time. Can't blame her, really. But she really liked "Coraline".

However this whole 3d cinema thing is for the birds.

It's not that I'm a fuddy-duddy who hates innovation. I think it looks great. It's a cool effect and it's really quite impressive when used right- but it hurts. I've seen "Chicken Little", "Meet the Robinsons", "Ant Bully" and now "Coraline" in 3d. Each time I was left with a head-ache for the rest of the day. And I'm not alone. Everybody in the family had a head-ache after the film, from the 7 year old to the old man. In fact we chose the theater because we thought it would be a 2d showing (since they didn't advertise it was a 3d screening). We were disappointed when we saw that it was a 3d screening. We knew we were in for pain. As it was I watched at least half the film without the glasses because my eyes were suffering.

Look, I like neat-o things like anybody else, but I hope this 3d thing dies out like it did in the 50's. Either that or they need to come up with a way to do this stuff that is completely different than the way it's done now. Our family can't be the only ones thinking this 3d cinema thing is little more than a painful gimmick- right?

If you can endure the 3d thing, definitely see "Coraline" in 3d. It looks nifty. But it's so well done and such a gorgeous film that even if you skip the whole 3d 'experience' it's still a real treat.


Pandalope said...

I don't know. Maybe I'm just at that right age where the 3D experience doesn't affect me negatively, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the 3D films I've seen. It's exciting to me because it brings so much depth to the film experience; I'm more impressed with 3D when it is used to push things away from you rather than throw stuff in your face.

I don' think it has quite matured yet though as it's basically the same 3D we've seen before. I can't help but wonder what the next step is with 3D. I do feel if a film is going to be released in 3D, that it should be reflected in the layout and timing of the shots as the audience has a lot more to take in with all the depth that 3D provides. The problem being that if viewed in 2D, the shots may drag on a bit too long.

3D aside, I am really impressed by Laika and I hope they enjoy tons of success from this film.

ila said...

my experience, I saw a 15 min 3d movie in omni theater in Singapore, it gave me a headache, I watched Bolt 3d in a theater in Toronto, it was totaly ok, no side-effect. I think it depends on many factors that we don't know yet.

Paul said...

Haven't seen Coraline yet, but I'm right there with you on the stereoscopic cinema. Everyone got super excited about it in the 50's, and when the novelty wore off, it disappeared. But once again, everyone in Hollywood, especially in the animation world, is jumping on the bandwagon. Katsenberg is basically hailing it as the savior of the movie industry. I understand where he's coming from - 3-D offers something at the theater that audiences can't get at home. It's an attempt to compete with TV, and videogames.
But come on. Is that the best they can do? 3-D glasses? 3-D glasses don't make bad movies better. And they don't make them less painful on the wallet. (Most theaters are charging more for 3-D).
The real problem with Hollywood movies is that they cost so darn much to make, and that expense gets passed on to the consumer. There's been plenty of inexpensively made independent hits over the years to prove that big-budget isn't the only option.
Gimmicks wear off. If people start feeling like they're getting their money's worth they'll go back to the movies.

Nate said...

Couldn't agree with your more Keith!

I enjoy the 3D when it's used on those nice long shots that give the environment depth. But whenever it's a closeup shot where stuff is jumping out of the screen, my eyes just don't focus well on the object popping out and it starts to give me a headache. It also leaves me feeling "googly eyed" for the rest of the day after I leave the theatre.

On top of it all, I'm stuck wearing uncomfortable plastic glasses for 2 hours that have me constantly rubbing my eyes and nose because they just don't sit right.

Matthew Long said...

For me the problem with 3D cinema is that there are way too many focal lengths going on, if your eyes aren't focused on the object they intend you to focus on then you end up in this fight for dominance between the film and your eyes. With live theater you're further from the action, you don't constantly have things seemingly 5 inches from your nose moving at a fast pace, so it doesn't seem to be a problem.

With normal film you focus on the screen, and just move your eyes to follow the action on the screen, no need to adjust your focal length which after 80-90 minutes is extremely tiring.

That's the biggest problem for me, and I don't see how they can overcome it.

Josh Bowman said...

*whaaa* We don't get Coraline here in Oz until MAY!!! And i totally agree with the 3D gimmick, I've been to a few 3D films and on almost every occasion I was left thinking it would be better to just see it flat. So I've given up on the whole 'Real-D' craze until they can find a way to do it that isn't so gimped.

Floyd Norman said...

No headache, but I still don't care for 3-D movies.

I remember "Bwana Devil" and "House of Wax" in the fifties. (yawn) It was a gimmick then -- and remains so today.

I want a good movie experience, not some flashy, pointless gimmick.

Tim said...

I love 3D. But I love it more in short doses, like the 20 minute films in the Disney parks. Muppet 3D is the best.
(I also love ViewMaster.)
So I have to agree with your assessment, Keith. My eyes/brain just can't handle the quick editing that make you change your focal point every three seconds or so.
- T

P.S. The WORST 3D I ever saw was at a cheap simulator ride at Navy Pier in Chicago. The right and left video channels were out of sync by a couple of seconds. Talk about a headache! At least our over-priced tickets were refunded.

David Beer said...

John Lasseter was in London recently, and in an interview on TV, he was selling the 3d vibe so much, i'm convinced he has shares in the technology, haha.

Apparently it costs cinemas here £60-000 to kit a screen for 3d.

I havent been the least bit interested, should i be, considering Im a 3D animator?
Will this affect the way we work?