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12:17pm on Thursday, 24th December, 2009:

Don't Mind if I Do


We went to see Avatar in 3D yesterday. The plot was something about night elves being displaced from Teldrassil to Nagrand by the bad guys out of BattleTech. It was basically John Smith meets Pocahontas, starring the voice of Mel Gibson, Lt. Uhura and Ripley out of Ghostbusters.

It wasn't the plot or the CGI that was worrying me in advance of seeing it, though, it was the 3D. I like 3D, except in two situations: when the background isn't in focus; when they throw things out of the screen at you. The former is merely a nuisance, and although they did have some of this at the start of the movie it soon disappeared. The latter, I absolutely loathe. I do not want to watch a movie being constantly on my guard in case someone throws something out of the screen at me. Wondrously, the movie didn't do any of this at all; some stuff went off the screen to the side, but it never looked like it was coming right at you. This is more than can be said for the 3D adverts that came before it, which all seemed to labour under the same misconception that people will want to buy your products more if you poke things in their eyes.

I like my 3D movies to be like a box I'm looking into, from which nothing escapes. That's how Avatar did it, and it did it well, too. The 3D effect only took maybe 30 seconds to settle down so it didn't look jumpy, and it had a good depth of field — it didn't appear to be multiple planes of 2D, unlike some of the ads preceding it. It did enhance the movie, too: the shots from a height looking down were much, much better than they could have been in 2D.

If the 3D movies to come are like Avatar in execution, I'll go for it. I just know, though, that it would be pointless for me to watch a horror movie in 3D because the urge to use gimmicky in-your-face effects would be too great for the director to resist.

Avatar? Thanks, don't mind if I do.

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).