December 18, 2009

How is that 3-D working out for you?

If you've seen "Avatar," please comment on whether the 3-D effects are working properly for you. I haven't seen it, but my 26-year-old son Chris has seen it (in the IMAX version). He iChats:
just trying to look at the 3d and get it to look right was pretty much the entire experience of it...

it never reaches the point of looking like reality, and looks less real than 2d...

the main thing is, nothing in the extreme foreground ever looked in focus...

the only way things ever looked like they popped out of the screen would be if i focused on something that seemed to be in the middle ground, and things could pop out that i wasn't looking directly at...

i don't think 3d ever looks like the true 3-dimensions of the real world, i think at best it looks like a very big hologram...

83 comments:

Skyler said...

i didn't realize it was a 3D movie. It hasn't worked in fifty years, why would anyone think it would suddenly work now?

vbspurs said...

I'm possibly going with the parental units tomorrow to go watch Avatar in the world's best cinemahouse: Boca Raton's Muvico Palace "Premier", an adult-only section within a regular movie theatre, where you can dine on champagne and burgers in your seat, if you want. But that's just for starters. If you're anywhere within sniffing distance of this modern cinema palace one day, GO.

And of course, I will report on Althouse if I agree with Chris or not.

Cheers,
Victoria

Flexo said...

Everyday film and video can have a pretty good three-dimensional effect if done properly.

I've even seen old episodes of the Twilight Zone -- the ones that they did on old videotape, rather than film, and some of the images there just right out of the screen. I think that it is probably due to a slight black outline to each of the figures.

If you go to the Sistine Chapel and look up at some of the paintings, they too will jump out at you. Or, rather, it looks like they are going to drop down on you. It's all very stunning. And that was done 500 years ago.

Heather said...

I can't speak for "Avatar," but My Bloody Valentine looks great in 3D.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Was he off to the side of the theater? That can mess up some such systems.

Chris Althouse Cohen said...

I was near the back of the theatre about halfway between the center-most seat and the farthest-right seat. If the 3D only works if you're dead center, then that's enough reason to be against it. I also found that you can destroy the 3D effect by tilting your head. It also made a huge difference what in the shot I was focusing on. It was an IMAX theatre, and I've read that 3D might actually work better on smaller screens. I wish I had known that earlier.

The 3D effect worked pretty well whenever things were supposed to be farther away, not coming towards me. Big, deep shots worked pretty well. But I think there are too many variables, and I don't see the real benefit. 2D looks better. Maybe I should see it on a smaller screen.

ricpic said...

In a review I read the reviewer said he was on the verge of 3-D induced nausea watching this film.

TRO said...

Hmm, talk like this does not bode well for the film. I'm a big Sci Fi film fan and love modern special effects but between the bad reviews on the 3D and the whole "bad American corporation/military vibe" the film supposedly gives off I have decided I will wait for the DVD. My sons may go see it, but even they don't seem all that excited.

I'm betting on a big bust on this one.

Ralph L said...

The Ralph is angry. Angry about Capitalization. It's getting on his Nerves. Could you youngsters please just write like a Normal Person?

victoria said...

I understand that some people were throwing up at the movie because of the 3D. Watch a couple of 3d cartoons in preparation. It takes a while to get adjusted to the 3d, then you hardly remember that you have the glasses on. Saw 3 3d cartoons with my grandson and they were fine after a while. Calme, calme.


Vicki from Pasadena

radar said...

I just got back from the theater. Medium size screen and I sat in the middle. The 3-D worked for me in the sense that it added to the experience without being distracting.

I found the CGI effects better than any I've seen especially the humanoid Na'vi. CGI "humans" are notoriously difficult to render as real humans are really quite good at detecting mistakes (google "uncanny valley"). Not sure if the techniques would work as well with human humanoids as opposed to giant blue feline humanoids with tails.

As most revewiers have pointed out, don't go to Avatar expecting an interesting story or complex character development. The imagery is outstanding though.

Kensington said...

Does the America-hating left-wing tripe pop right off the screen, too, or does it just sort of sit there?

Eric said...

I understand that some people were throwing up at the movie because of the 3D.

I already have problems with those swooping shots and the deliberately shaky reality-TV style directors seem so enamored with in the last few years.

Needless to say, I'll pass.

Chip Ahoy said...

You too can recreate the joys of 3-d photography with your own little camera. Yes! It's true.

Here's how. Stand steady and carefully frame your subject. Without changing anything, step sideways and take another shot. Present the two images, slightly different, side by side.

View the image by allowing your eyes to go slightly out of focus by relaxing them. Some people, control freaks all, have difficulty doing this. It requires letting go. In my own case, I relax focus until three apparently identical images appear from the two, actually, the one in the middle is a combination of both, and it appears to be in startling three dimensions.

I imagine an alternative method would be to have a few drinks.

Here are some photos I saw one night while looking up some arcane detail concerning the Amduat when I was led to the discussion board on egyptiandreams.com where a member posted this set of images. Try them out for yourself and be amazed that a regular bloke did this with a regular camera. TRY THEM, I said.

radar said...

Avatar's antagonist is the same sort of evil militarized-corporation as in the Alien franchise but I didn't get an explicit 'American' vibe to the evil corporation.

I found the action scenes in Avatar much easier to follow than the sort of thing found in Transformers or last summer's Star Trek.

The Crack Emcee said...

While I tend to agree with Chris (I saw it last night) I think he missed what Cameron was trying to do, which was get away from the 1950's version of a 3D experience ("things popping out at you") and merely make a visual experience with more depth. Unfortunately for Cameron, while he succeeded at that task, he also made a film that becomes no better than 2D once you adjust to it. Honestly, Avatar is boring.

It's biggest crime, though, is just being dumb. I mean, there the humans are, in the year 2154, and characters are spouting lines from the days of the Iraq War? And even though "Jake" is living on this space ship - a space ship! - with all this cool futuristic stuff (avatars, holograms, weightlessness, etc.) "Jake" says we have nothing to offer the Na'vi but "lite beer and blue jeans"? Shit, the movie's whole ugly conflict could've been avoided if somebody would've just invited a few of the lanky Smurfs over to see their crib! There's no way I could see a human in 2154 being overly impressed by the Na'vi's world - or world view - which, being NewAge, is just riddled with hypocrisy, inconsistencies, and (of course) nonsense. (For once, I'll spare y'all - and, yes, you're welcome.)

I've got a question for Chris:

Dude, it's 2154. We've gotten to the point where we can travel light years away from home, operate gigantic ecto-skeletons, fix inoperable limbs - and even inhabit other bodies. So is it even remotely plausible that the only way we can figure out to get at a precious ore below "the spirit tree" is to BLAST THE LIVING HELL OUT OF THE DAMN THING?

If it's true that James Cameron thought about this story for more than a decade, this NewAge "King of the World" has more muddle-headed issues with reality than all of his movie's bad guys rolled into one.

Avatar is one stupid, stupid movie.

john said...

Chip,

Geologists are very good at looking at stereo pairs that same way and seeing landform patterns in 3D.

Of course, being geologists we also have a hard time letting go.

Harsh Pencil said...

Haven't seen Avatar, but I saw UP both in 3D in the theatre and at my home theatre setup (90" screen, LCD projector on ceiling). UP was much better in 3D. Most of the time, my home setup is great. So, for instance, for a movie like The Dark Knight, which I saw in 2D Imax and also at home, I thought home was fine. But UP really suffered not being in 3D. The initial scenes of the house taking off and moving through the city were absolutely magical in 3D and not so magical at home.

WV: ingsi. Name of the indigenous people in the next Dances with Smurfs movie.

Chris Althouse Cohen said...

Crack Emcee: The shots that had a lot of depth did look great to me. Right at the beginning, there's a scene where it looks down a long hallway-ish room and it did seem like you were looking into the room. Also, near the end when you see the big group of people chanting, the depth of that shot looked very good. But there were many times throughout the movie when it seemed clear that you were supposed to feel like things were popping out (like those flying jellyfish, or every time something was clearly in the foreground). Also, it was just irritating to look at, didn't look like a normal image. Was uncomfortable the way staring at a hologram for three hours would be uncomfortable.

Lem said...

Now that you people are telling me the 3d is fubar, I'm getting curious and I'm going to go see it for myself tomorrow.

Paul Snively said...

Re: people throwing up at 3D visuals...

Having worked in the computer game biz, I garnered a fair amount of direct experience with this. It turns out that approximately 15% of the population cannot play first-person perspective 3D games due to experiencing motion sickness.

We actually know why this is, and what's interesting about it is that it's the same phenomenon as morning sickness! Morning sickness is an increased sensitivity to alkaloid toxins that are present in everything we eat, but not in doses that are harmful to adults. The symptoms of consumption of these toxins are a kind of dizziness, as if your eyes and inner ears were telling you two different things. Which is, of course, exactly what happens with motion sickness, and in 3D games in particular: your eyes are telling you that you are moving, and rapidly, while your inner ears are (correctly) telling you that no such thing is happening.

vbspurs said...

Radar wrote:

(google "uncanny valley")

I did so, thanks for the tip! That does explain why I too was creeped out by The Polar Express (especially the dead-looking little boy).

The part in the Wiki article that is most unnerving, though, is when that a related phenomenon is "Capgras Syndrome". Briefly:

"The Capgras delusion (or Capgras syndrome) is a disorder in which a person holds a delusional belief that a friend, spouse, parent or other close family member, has been replaced by an identical-looking impostor."

Yikes.

Lem said...

I'm near sighted .. thats why I use glasses .. will I have to wear the 3d glasses on top of my glasses?

I hope I need a glass of beer after.

I dont smoke ;)

vbspurs said...

Paul Snively wrote:

I garnered a fair amount of direct experience with this. It turns out that approximately 15% of the population cannot play first-person perspective 3D games due to experiencing motion sickness.

When the Wolfenstein 3D game app came out on the iPhone, I instantly bought it. It was the first FPS (and perhaps only one I recall) I ever played when young. I never once experienced motion sickness on my old computer back in the 90s...but almost immediately did when playing it on the iPhone. Strange.

wv: stomade. Gatorade to soothe a motion sick tummy.

vbspurs said...

Avatar is one stupid, stupid movie.

Oh, thank God.

But then so was Cameron's Titanic, though the latter had a certain charm and chemistry between the principals.

For me, Avatar sounds like a 3 hour-long version of the Jar-Jar Binks fiasco in the recent Star Wars movies. I'm sure that's not the case, but it SOUNDS like it.

ET1492 said...

The secret to watching a modern 3-D film without getting a headache is focusing on what the filmmakers want you to focus on. You can't scan the screen for details, or else things will look fuzzy.

I haven't seen Avatar, but I have seen Beowulf and Coraline in 3-D and it took me about 20 minutes during both films to get with the flow.

Lem said...

But then so was Cameron's Titanic..

The ending of Titanic let me nauseous.

vbspurs said...

The ending of Titanic let me nauseous.

Frankly, I stayed until the end only because I wanted to see that tin can go into the water. And it didn't disappoint.

Lem said...

..the Jar-Jar Binks fiasco in the recent Star Wars movies.

Althouse linked to the best review of Episode I The Phantom Menace ever produced by man.

Its hilarious.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I saw a 3-D documentary about California reefs at an Imax about ten years ago and it was awesome. It really felt like you were underwater with the fish. I remember in particular one scene where there was a fish that you could barely see about a hundred feet away and it really looked like it was a hundred feet away.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Victoria--

I totally agree about Titanic sucking the big one. I looked forward to that movie so much, and then when it turned out to be about two post-modern teens prancing around naked I wanted my money back.

In common with the Ben Affleck-afflicted Pearl Harbor, Titanic took a story about historical events that were much bigger than any possible love story, and completely ruined it.

Skyler said...

It seems to me that the most important part of a movie is now also the cheapest and technologically easiest. Writing a good script is no harder to do now than it was 70 years ago but it seems that to too many movie makers and producers, they seem to think the plot and the script are just something to connect the CGI concepts.

There haven't been many good movies in a long time.

The Crack Emcee said...

vbspurs,

"For me, Avatar sounds like a 3 hour-long version of the Jar-Jar Binks fiasco in the recent Star Wars movies. I'm sure that's not the case, but it SOUNDS like it."

Naw, it's not THAT bad - it's brain-dead but not completely revolting. It's just not in same league, cultural impact-wise or intellectually, as the original Star Wars or The Matrix. It's just more of your typical NewAge Hollywood mind-mush with a better back story (time, money, tech, etc.)

Chris Althouse Cohen said...

ET1492 said...
The secret to watching a modern 3-D film without getting a headache is focusing on what the filmmakers want you to focus on. You can't scan the screen for details, or else things will look fuzzy.


This is a really important point, and it's exactly what I realized late into the movie! I think the 3-D effect depends on the viewer having their eyes focused in the way that they think you will focus your eyes. About four-fifths of the way through the movie, I decided to test out this theory. I began to focus only on the things that appeared to be in the middle-ground (which was probably, in effect, a way of focusing on the movie screen rather than attempting to focus on positions in front of or behind the screen, where certain objects appeared to be). Once I did that, the 3-D effect worked pretty well.

There are three major problems I have with this, though:

1) What's the point of having certain things pop out of the screen if you're not able to look at them directly?

2) Being able to look around at all parts of the image is a pretty crucial part of how I watch movies. Maybe a lot of people just look at the key subject of each shot, or look dead center at the frame, but that's not a very good way to watch movies. I certainly don't want to be forced by James Cameron to watch movies like that.

3) It really adds to my feeling that the 3-D effect relies on too many factors that can be affected by the viewer. I should be able to watch the movie in my way and not have to sit in a particular spot with my head in a particular position and my eyes focused in a particular way in order to enjoy it, and I shouldn't need an instruction manual on how to make the effect work. It makes watching 2-D seem much more viewer-friendly.

The Crack Emcee said...

"There haven't been many good movies in a long time."

Not true. There's lots of great movies released every day, but they rarely get the big roll-out, like this. I knew I was taking a risk seeing this thing - at lowering my standards, big time - because, usually, I avoid conventional American film entertainment like the plague, but I rarely see bad films when I stick to my guns.

I love 'em.

Cheryl said...

I haven't seen Avatar yet, but did see the Charlie Rose interview with James Cameron last night. While I don't remember the exact wording, Cameron explicitly said that his purpose in using the 3-D wasn't to "throw things out at the audience." I think in the earlier days of 3-D, it was about the effect--doing things just of the fun of the medium. These newer films are using this more sophisticated form of 3-D to bring a new dimension, literally, to film. To draw us in and give us an experience that we can't get in our expensive home theaters. You know, to keep our collective butts in those expensive seats.

JohnAnnArbor said...

What kind of 3D? Does it use polarizing glasses? Or the heavier, shutter-based glasses?

JohnAnnArbor said...

3D still pictures are a lot of fun. 3D slides projected on a screen, or seen in a viewer (think big viewmaster) can really make you feel like you're in the scene.

Kensington said...

How good do your eyes have to be to appreciate the 3D here?

I have an eye condition wherein the vision in my right eye is considerably worse than the vision in my left eye.

Will the technology of this be lost on me?

BJM said...

@Cheryl

Yes, he said much the same in Wired:

"The conventional method relies on a series of cumbersome mathematical formulas designed to preserve the “screen plane,” the surface on which the movie appears. In 2-D that’s the screen itself, but in 3-D it’s an imaginary point somewhere in front of you. “The viewer doesn’t think there’s a screen plane,” Cameron explains. “There’s only a perceptual window, and that perceptual window exists somewhere around arm’s length from us. That’s why I say everything that’s ever been written about stereography is completely wrong.”

To Cameron, eliminating the screen plane is crucial. “The screen plane has always been this subconscious barrier,” says Jon Landau, his longtime producer. By removing it, Cameron hopes to create an all-encompassing cinematic experience. That’s the ultimate goal, the reason for the virtual camera and the simulcam, the hi-def head rigs, the 3-D camera system: total immersion. "


That certainly sounds like what Chris experienced. We've going to see it in Imax Sunday afternoon.

Corporate greed and/or mankind's technological hubris was the main theme of Titanic and all of Cameron's flicks so I'm not exactly shocked to hear he hits the meme again.

vbspurs said...

I want to see two films this weekend, but immediately I know the SJP/Hugh Grant vehicle, "Did You Hear About the Morgans?", won't be one of them.

The review by Michael Phillips of the Chicago Trib is hilarious though.

"It's not just the sound of crickets you hear watching this movie. It's the sound of dead crickets."

vbspurs said...

I have an eye condition wherein the vision in my right eye is considerably worse than the vision in my left eye.

Sounds like my dad, after his radio frequency ablation surgery for his neuralgia. I would give you a heads up about that, Kensington, if you can wait until he watches it this weekend. Otherwise, I'd say skip it because it can be dizzying.

blake said...

Agreed with Crack, there are many good movies released, but you have to be selective. (Don't see crap, unless you like crap. :))

Sometimes the best movies are foreign, sometimes they're low budget, and sometimes, yes, they're big budget blockbusters.

blake said...

I have amblyopia, so 3D has never worked for me very well. (Though a sort of masochistic streak had me see every 3D movie released in the '80s.)

I've avoided it this time.

vbspurs said...

Dark Knight was one of the best movies I've ever seen, Blake, so you're right there.

chickenlittle said...

The only thing that sucked about Titanic was di Craprio.

I speak as a Titanic trivia aficionado.

Kensington said...

I would really appreciate that, Victoria, thank you. I hope your dad enjoys himself.

My eye thing is called kerataconus, and so far it's only really compromised my right eye. With any luck, that will continue.

blake said...

Cameron's anti-business streak is somewhat amusing. He created Digital Domain so that his movies could have special effects at the level he wanted, and then he wanted to have the company have a credit on one of his movies (Titanic?) but the unions wouldn't let him.

I guess that wouldn't make you pro-business, but it'd make me anti-union.

vbspurs said...

I speak as a Titanic trivia aficionado.

Oh, I once went to a forum populated by such trivia fans. I recall a very intricate and knowledgeable exchange about attar of roses (I wanted to buy the perfume or soaps used by the passengers, as found on the bottom of the sea).

Titanic trivia freaks are a-ok by me. Except their penchant for Celine Dion, obviously. :)

vbspurs said...

Kensington, I've heard of that condition before (it could well be what dad has!).

@JohnAnnArbor: They've been using the polarising version for all the recent 3D flicks, so I am betting it's that for Avatar. In fact, as I type, I have a pair just in front of me -- a memento of that excellent 3D film, My Bloody Valentine (mentioned by another commenter).

@CrackEmcee: Your 9:42 comment is full of yummy goodness. Me likes the way you write.

LoafingOaf said...

vbspurs: an adult-only section within a regular movie theatre, where you can dine on champagne and burgers in your seat

And how much do they charge you for that? Seems better to just go to a dollar theater and smuggle all the booze and food you want in with you. :)

Although, actually, when I drink booze during a movie at a theater, I tend to have to pee at a key moment of the movie. So, probably better to watch it on DVD where you have a pause button. :)

Oh wait, this is 3D to prevent us from waiting till it's out on DVD. Okay, okay, I'll go see it at a theater soon. *salute*

I take it from this thread that it may be best to avoid the IMAX experience, though?

chickenlittle said...

Victoria,
I got hooked when my grandmother first gave me a copy of Link ca. 1970 or so.

I loved the Cameron movie for the historical photo detail, the best of which I suppose was the confirmation of Jack Thayer Jr's then disputed "theory" that she broke in two.
It happened, and the proof is on the sea floor.

chuck b. said...

The 3-D was fine, but the movie itself is incredibly awful. It was awful in the first minute, and it went downhill from there for nearly three hours. It was Phantom Menace awful.

I only saw it because my dad wanted to see it, and it's his birthday. So I took him. (My dad is 12-years-old. Spend $100M on special effects and he's the first in line.)

vbspurs said...

Muvico's Palace "Premier" experience is double the price of a regular ticket downstairs, not including the 75 cents booking fee (you get to choose your actual seats, just like we do in Britain). So that's a hefty 19.75.

But since everyone who enters has to be over 21 because of the access to booze (they have a restaurant, where you can have a more conventional night dining out), one of the Sundries' commenters said that they would happily pay that much just for the chance of getting rid of the annoying tweenies on their cell phones, all around. Each balcony has about 60 "premier" love seats, so you're cocooned in luxury from start to finish.

If I write too much about it, please forgive me. It's just that I love that place.

@Chickenlittle: Cool! Thanks for the book tip. That one I may be able to find in my local library. :)

Ralph L said...

Hugh Grant has lost his pretty boy looks. SJP could do with a few more oats in her feedbag.

chickenlittle said...

Victoria:
I guess he was a Jack Thayer III not a :jr". Link. But if you you read his account in that book (rushed to publication in 1912) you'll learn that he was the sole proponent (at the time) of the true nature of the sinking.

Ralph L said...

Chicken, my grandmother had a copy of that book, too, that I read in the 70's. She was 14 in 1912. Little did they know that much bigger disasters were about to hit.

Ironclad said...

I saw Avatar in a mini-Imax theater in Charlotte, NC. (not one of the Imax downtown - a converted movie screen type). The 3D did not detract from the movie, but it did not add all that much either - there were no "jaw dropping" effects or anything like that for me in the movie. But in general, the whole experience was good.
More to the point - there were ads for 2 cartoons that will be in 3D before the movie - a Disney and a Shrek. The 3D in both of the preview trailers is jarring, like the old movies when a rock came out of the screen at you. Having a sudden 2D to 3D transition to give depth would make me ill after a while in a movie. So, Avatar was better in that sense - the 3D never "left" and was just part of the whole experience.

Florida said...

"Avatar's antagonist is the same sort of evil militarized-corporation as in the Alien franchise but I didn't get an explicit 'American' vibe to the evil corporation."

SPOILERS AHEAD!

Hmmm. They force the natives to speak English. Evil Marines abound. References to Jarhead.

It's clear James Cameron is after the international audience.

I did not see the 3D version because I wanted first to focus on the story itself. And the reviews are dead on ... the story is secondary to everything else about this film. You could almost watch it with the sound off as the sound track by James Horner is totally forgettable also.

The plot is a doltish remake of Dances With Wolves (soldier goes native) ... only without the character development.

There is zero chemistry between the lead male and female actresses (yes, do Google"uncanny valley"). But even from a character development angle there just is no reason for a lot of the things they do. No reason for them to be in love. (He even kills her father). Imagine for a moment that Lt. Dunbar were to burn down Kicking Bird's tent with Kicking Bird inside it. Do we really think that Stands With A Fist would then fall in love with Lt. Dunbar?

Um, no.

She'd murder him.

Before the lead female even meets the lead male she helps him because "you have a big heart." It's just totally not believable storytelling and the character development is really for shit.

There are good reasons to see the film ... it's an amazing piece of art if you don't focus much on the stupid story and the anti-American crapola Cameron only put in there to get an Oscar nomination.

Cameron isn't stupid ... the Academy of Motion Pictures has said in no uncertain terms that pro-American films will not win Oscars. Cameron needs to make the half-billion budget back on this film or he'll never work again, and if that means bashing his country so be it. He'll bash America for a buck.

The commenter above who suggested that there's no direct American association obviously missed the part where the protagonist announces that he is a US Marine. Moron.

The only thing this movie has going for it really is the planet it's on ... knowing that it doesn't really exist, but that artists created everything about it. It's amazing what they can do with a computer.

But as storytelling - it sucks.

Not a good movie. Buy the DVD after it goes into the discount bin at Wal-Mart.

Jon said...

Crack said: Dude, it's 2154. We've gotten to the point where we can travel light years away from home, operate gigantic ecto-skeletons, fix inoperable limbs - and even inhabit other bodies. So is it even remotely plausible that the only way we can figure out to get at a precious ore below "the spirit tree" is to BLAST THE LIVING HELL OUT OF THE DAMN THING?

Not to mention- with all the planets, moons, and asteroids out there which are lifeless hunks of rock- what are the odds that this precious ore can only be found on a life-bearing world with native inhabitants? And right under their "Spirit Tree", at that?

Rick Lee said...

This from Internet mogul Jason Calacanis:

"The story, performances and characters are not bad or good–they are typical. The visuals, at least in 3D, are exceptional to the point at which I would say I’ve never seen anything like them in a film. In fact it feels otherworldly… Like hyper reality if that makes sense. There are moments, many of them, where you forget you are in a theater and feel like you’re running in the tree tops or flying on the back of a large bird. I had vertigo and heart racing fear of falling at times.

It is a must see, but not for the story part. The story is terrorism, coming of age, 9/11, odd-love rehash you’ve seen 1,000x. It doesn’t get in the way of the real story: ground-breaking visuals that transport you to another place. Avatar makes a Pixar movie look like an Atari 2600 game. "

vbspurs said...

SJP could do with a few more oats in her feedbag.

LOL, Ralph!

Peg C. said...

I can't work up any enthusiasm for the actors, though some visuals sound very cool. However, I had to close my eyes for the entirety of "Soarin'" at Epcot, which had been strongly recommended to us as a great virtual reality ride, because all the soaring and swooping makes me sick. I'm passing on this one! I actually hope it bombs. This is a simply obscene amount of $$ to produce a movie. I'd like to see the investors take a bath.

amba said...

Yes. Titanic SUCKED.

Chris Althouse Cohen said...

By the way, Titanic is one of my favorite movies.

Bill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kathleen said...

what is it with you people? 3d imax is the best thing ever. I would watch anything in 3d imax.

Eric said...

The 3d was alright by me. It was my first 3d movie ever in a theater, and I wear glasses to see distances, I sat in the back center. There were moments where the 3d glasses started slipping down my nose making the scene become less focused, I just pushed them back up and the scene focused.

That said, regarding the story. Yeah, plotholes galore. Cameron was the one who gave us that wonderful line from out of Sigourney Weaver "I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure." in Aliens? Musta forgot that in his old age?

Plus, not that it is a bad thing, but there are so many romantic fantasy moments. Bonding with special horses! Bonding with special flying horses! Bonding with special dragons!!1! Mother tree bonds you with teh hoel wurld!11!

It was pretty to look at and I will see it again soon, regardless. But not for the story.

XWL said...

This movie was every seventies blacklight poster come to life.

Freeman Hunt said...

I thought I had problems with the 3D because I was wearing the 3D glasses over my glasses. Guess that wasn't the problem.

Freeman Hunt said...

I did notice, in some shots, that Cameron was framing in three dimensions. That was interesting. Changes the art a bit.

jeff said...

I just got back from seeing it in 2D. The thing lasts about 17 hours and I spent most of it looking at the background. Absolutely amazing visual. As everyone else states, its Dances with Blue Humanoids. The unobtainium retails for 20 million dollars a kilogram which I'm guessing after 150 years of Obamaflation, would be equivalent of a buck fifty seven, so I wonder at the economics of mining so far from earth. For the true surround sound experience, try to get 3 adults and 4 kids under 5 to sit behind you, jabber all thru the movie and kick the back of the seats.

Kensington said...

Ooh, Freeman, that's another question I had. How does this work for people wearing glasses. Are the 3D glasses large enough to fit comfortably around normal glasses?

M. Report said...

How about those 3 Ds ?

The previews had more obvious 3D
effects than the movie, except
for the titles, which were set
forward of the screen; Once the action started, they faded into
the background, as Cameron wanted.
Wearing the 3D glasses over eye-
glasses worked for me only because
my frames are small, and close to
my face.

True, it was not a story for those
with, ah, _sophisticated_ tastes;
There was not a polymorphous
perversity in sight, either physical or psychological;
The story stayed within the norms
of human, and Na'vi, experience,
and contained a double deception:
Cameron catered to Anti-American
prejudice with stereotypes which
were not valid; The Na'vi are not
Gaians; Their planet actually has
a Group Mind which manifests in
crisis. The Terrans are not greedy
Capitalists, but a dying planet's
last grasp at a critical natural
resource; even then, they retain
a minority carrier of conscience
which restrains their rapacity.

As to you pseudo-physicist second
guessers; Unobtainium is not that
stable; Hit it with a meteor, or
even high explosives, and it is
reduced to worthless dross. It is
also Pandora's power plant; It is
no accident that the Home Tree grew
over a major deposit.

The closest cavalry-and-Indians
story is a book called "The Indians
Won" wherein Indian troops back
from the Civil War teach the tribes
the White Man's way of war.

The closest here-and-now story is
the current one in which the US
can win in Afghanistan by siding
with the Tribal Khans rather than
the Mayor of Kabul.

Freeman Hunt said...

Kensington,

It seemed to me that they tried to strike a balance between making the glasses too bulky for people without glasses and making them too streamlined for people with glasses. I think they did a pretty good job, but it isn't glitch free. The 3-D glasses work best up high, close to your eyes. I had to keep smashing both pairs of glasses into my face whenever I noticed things getting blurrier. That's sounds worse than it actually was. I would say that the longer your nose is, the better you'll fare with having to wear the two pairs of glasses.

Tip: If you have more than one pair of glasses, I would wear the smallest pair in the theater with the 3-D glasses.

Freeman Hunt said...

Light spoilers, don't read if you don't like that.

I thought the political angle wasn't pushed too heavily until about the 2:15 or 2:20 mark. Then it went all out with the political metaphors, which were very muddled.

Cameron really took the wind out of the final action sequence. You're supposed to be rooting for one side, but Cameron only set up two people on the other side as being bad, yet you're supposed to be excited as you watch a bunch of people you don't really have anything against get killed. It's weird.

Seneca the Younger said...

Okay, I think the summary here is "you're either going to like it or not."

Me, I liked it. A lot. I suspect a lot of the complaints about the 3D not working are examples of it working; Cameron avoided all the cliche "broom pokes out from the screen" shots, and used the 3D subtly; for various historical reasons, I'm very aware of the difference, and as a sometimes screenwriter I was watching the technical details very carefully ... until I was sucked in.

The truth is, I would have been happy with a National Geographic "Welcome to Pandora" travelogue, as I thought the planets was beautiful. I did think that they should have stopped messing with Unobtanium, and started mining the upsidasium that made the floating mountains float.

And I may be a "right wingers" but I'm also a Choctaw indian, and I was pleased to see the Injuns win.

SMSgt Mac said...

The film lived down to it's previews. Tech and effects are no substitute for plot and characters.
I predict: 1. 'great weekend', 2. 'no legs', and eventually it will be referred to as 3. Cameron's 'AvIshtar'

...but maybe that's just me.

rosi said...

As everyone else states, its Dances with Blue Humanoids

Smurfs. They're jumbo smurfs.

Fred4Pres said...

Gabriel Malor at Ace says Avatar does not suck as bad as Ed Morrisey says.

John Lynch said...

I liked Aliens. That was a great movie, period, and the marines were the good guys.

davis,br said...

I had no problems at an Imax theatre, row 6 center on Sunday. The screen was huge, and I had to pretty much scrunch down in the seat and look upwards throughout the movie.

Tonight I took it in about "halfway up" in a Cinemark venue, again center, and I had no problems "looking around" at what interested me.

I've never seen a 3D film before (nor been to an Imax).

(Hell, I've been to a movie exactly twice in the past five years ...yeah, for the two Avatar performances.)

As far as the film itself goes: I'm a VRWC type conservative, and an AGW skeptic (denialist, really: due to the bad science) ...and - oddly enough, given all the public angst from my side of the political divide over the percieved "politics" of the film - I thought the film was jolly good fun.

...and I'll probably see it a few more times afatg.

...and recommend it highly, for a diverting evening.

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