Thursday, June 11, 2009

My problem with 3-D, and a fantastic film opportunity in Macon

Just in case you thought there might be some end in sight to the 3-D wave of animation (and eventually, I fear, nearly everything else), there was an odd story this morning that shows just how much it's taken over just about the entire world.

It seems that even Frenchies like Patrice Leconte, director of one of my favorite froggy mind-benders in "The Man on the Train" and many other flicks, is getting into the 3-D animated game. Granted, he's making something called "Le Magasin des Suicides" (literally, "The Suicide Store"), a "dark comedy" about a family-owned shop that sells suicide tools to a depressed and suicidal world.

At least the story sounds interesting enough, but as much as I've tried, I just can't get into 3-D animation as anything more so far than a gimmick. I thought Pixar's "Up" would be the movie that finally gets me on board, but I think I can now officially count myself as someone who just doesn't believe the hype.

Now, there was one movie so far that I thought really made fantastic use of the technology, Henry Selick's "Coraline," but that's really it. Every other time I've seen a 3-D movie (and there's been at least "Up," "Monsters Vs. Aliens" and "Nightmare Before Christmas"), the supposed thrill just left me cold, and I think I've finally figured out (after discussing it with my fellow cubicle slave Randy Waters) why.

It's those glasses, which to me just make the whole screen muddy. A big part of the thrill in animated movies for me is to see the vibrant colors used to create something as beautiful as a painting. Think back to when Remy the rat first beheld the cityscape of Paris in "Ratatouille" or when Kiki was flying over Mediterranean Europe in Hayao Miyazaki's "Kiki's Delivery Service." I just can't imagine those unforgettable images would be as magical if they had been run through the 3-D machine.

And beyond the muddiness of the images, I just feel like it removes me from the experience by a level or two, putting this filter between me and the screen that just creates a remoteness that limits my engagement with the movie.

Now, even if I am an increasingly old curmudgeon about this and other things (I listened to the Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow" the other day to see if I could get into it, but I can't ... I love hip-hop and always will [listening to Dead Prez right now], but I just can't stand that vodaphone crap, another gimmick that just distorts the beauty that is rap music), I am sane enough to realize there's really nothing I can do about it. I was tempted to go back and watch "Up" in 2-D to see if I would enjoy it more, but decided to save my money instead.

But before I go any further on in that longer-than-expected tangent, this was supposed to be a plug for the Macon Film Guild, which is showing what I expect to be a truly great flick this Sunday in "Sugar."

It's been forever since I've seen a great baseball flick in a movie theater, so I was hoping that this one from Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck would get a proper run, but it never materialized. I was bit underwhelmed by "Half Nelson," mostly because by the time I finally managed to see it the flick had been hyped so much that I was just expecting more, I guess.

With "Sugar," however, you can count me as thoroughly amped. The flick tells the story of Miguel "Sugar" Santos, a Dominican teenager who gets scouted as a pitcher and at 19 enters the U.S. minor league system with hopes of hitting it big.

The Macon Film Guild, which consistently shows quality flicks that should find more of an audience, is showing this one at 2, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Douglass Theatre in Macon, so if you're anywhere in the Middle Georgia area, come out and check it out, because it deserves a big crowd. If you're at the 2 p.m. show, I'll see you there.

And I'll leave you today with the first trailer I've seen for Martin Scorsese's next flick, "Shutter Island," which looks, thankfully, like it will be even crazier than I was hoping. Based on a Dennis Lehane novel, it of course stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a U.S. marshall who uncovers a nasty secret at a hospital for the criminally insane. It really looks like Scorsese making a B-movie, and almost a horror flick, and I can't possibly see anything wrong with that. Peace out.


nateshorb said...

Yes! I TOTALLY agree with 3D. I went to see UP at a matinee to save the cash, only to find out that even the discounted 3D price was more than regular movie admission, and then I was completely underwhelmed and felt like I couldn't see the film clearly in all of its vibrancy. There were times I took the glasses off to see the color, but then it was just really blurry, so that didn't work either.

Unlike you, I loved the movie, and am hoping to go back to see it in 2D.

Also unlike you, Half Nelson is one of my favorites, so you really should watch it again.

And I've been waiting anxiously for Sugar to show up to a theater near me.

Reel Fanatic said...

I am gonna give Half Nelson another chance, nateshorb, because I think you're probably right .. Like I said, I saw it at the height of its hype, and I think I just need to watch it again with some distance

J. Marquis said...

Did you ever see Beowulf in 3-D? I thought some of the scenes (especially when he's fighting Grendel's mother) were pretty thrilling...

Reel Fanatic said...

Unfortunately, I didn't see that one, Mr. Marquis, but I probably should have

Mercurie said...

I am with you about 3D, Reel Fanatic. Unless I am watching the original House of Wax or The Creature from the Black Lagoon, I'll gladly stick with 2D....

Shorty said...

Shutter Island was an aweseom novel by Lehanne...can't wait to see Scorsese put his print on the film version

Eric said...

Yeah, I avoid the 3d movies for that very reason. At the risk of sounding like I am refering the sound in movies as being "Vulgar", I really do not think the technology will take off until they can display the film it a true 3D/ Holo tank format. Along with the flying cars they promised us.
As for Marty's latest I read a some comentary stating that he is taking on Hitchcock with this one. I love Scorsese's work and expect this will not dissapoint. On a side not a buddy of mine from back in the day before he moved to LA was the AC on that show as well as Cameron's Avatar