Thursday, December 31, 2009

Avatar in 3D

Last week I saw Avatar in 3D. Avatar was good, the 3D was not.

Avatar – a really good film. Reasonable plot, good script, very good acting, good action, excellent special effects. It is exciting to watch and, famously, looks brilliant. In terms of effects, it’s the biggest thing since LOTR. Motion-capture has been improved from Peter Jackson’s model so that characters interact better with the environment and facial expressions are more detailed. This was required because of the large number of animated characters that required the motion capture technique (as apposed to just Gollum in LOTR).
Critics have said that Avatar is just a chance for director James Cameron to try out new technology, and the film itself is inconsequential. This is not completely unfounded, as the film is clearly centred around the new special effects, but I don’t think the rest of the film is useless. The Middle East parallel is shamelessly obvious (humans invade an alien planet and displace the helpless to gain access to a natural resource), and the name of the resource, ‘unobtainium’, is criminal, but otherwise it is a decent film.

3D – currently very overrated. This was the first film I’d seen in 3D, and I was disappointed. It didn’t look any better than the usual ‘2D’ films. The terminology is loose here, because ‘3D’ films are no more 3D than ‘2D’ films. Both are obviously still on a flat, 2D screen, but in both it can be seen that some things are closer and some further away. What ‘3D’ does, is make things “come out of the screen at you”. The problem with this is that you think something is flying towards you, and then is slides off the side of the suddenly-very-obviously-flat screen. This just looks stupid. ‘3D’ looks no better than ‘2D’, but can look stupid and hurts your eyes. In time, I expect 3D will improve, but for now, it is very overrated.

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