Sunday, October 26, 2008

To 3D or not to 3D?

For most of the world, the movie question for this weekend was probably about whether to watch the pretty teens of "High School Musical 3" or the bloodfest of "Saw V" (or perhaps in a truly twisted double feature, both), but for me it was whether or not to finally to take the plunge into 3D for a return to the great "Nightmare Before Christmas."

Since it was being applied to a movie I love, I decided to bite on Hollywood's latest gimmick. The movie itself has stood the test of time very well, with Danny Elfman's songs and Henry Selick's stop-motion animation as magical as ever (though not enough to make me forgive Mr. Elfman for those horrendous Oompa-Loompa songs he crafted for Tim Burton's simply awful "Willy Wonka" remake.) As for the technology, however, I think from now I'm gonna have to just say no.

Did it bring anything positive to the movie-viewing experience? My first impulse was to say no, but in fairness that magical moment when it starts to snow over Halloweentown was indeed fairly cool in 3D, with the snow flakes seeming to fall on top of you. That wasn't nearly enough, however, to make up for what it did to the rest of the movie.

The first problem is that those goofy glasses, which I was happy to find fit comfortably over my actual specs, managed to blur the often stark colors of Selick's dreamscape into a rather unpleasant gray. Not very cool at all.

Secondly, the 3D technology just seemed horribly out of place with the stop-motion style, which is beautiful in its sheer primitiveness. I tend to frown on most ultramodern animation anyway. As much as I loved Gil Kenan's "Monster House," the humans in that one just looked like space aliens (and in none of the best ways), and the effect was even worse with Jerry Seinfeld's "Bee Movie." Call me old-fashioned, but I know what I like.

The trailers offered a peak at what should be my next chance to choose between 3D and traditional animation, and ironically enough it was for another Henry Selick movie (huzzah!). Coming early next year will be "Coraline," directed by Mr. Selick in the stop-motion style from the novella by Neil Gaiman about a young girl who finds all kinds of surprises when she explores the apartment next door.

I kept the funky 3D glasses I paid $2 for, but assuming that "Coraline" will be released in both formats, I'll take the traditional style, as you can with the trailer below. Peace out.


Mercurie said...

I watched The Nightmare Before Christmas for the first time in a long time last year, and it does hold up remarkably well. It is still a great movie to me.

As to Danny Elfman, I think he should be cut some slack for the Oompa-Loompa songs. The lyrics come straight from the book, so that Roald Dahl is partially to blame. Great writer, lousy lyricist!

Reel Fanatic said...

Ah ... I guess you can call that a big mistake on my part, Mr. Mercurie .. I haven't read the book since I was a small child, so I just assumed that Elfman made up those Burton Oompa Loompa songs, which I just detested

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