The Haphazard Blog


Avatar and 3D

by on Jan.23, 2010, under Entertainment, Movies

I saw Avatar in 3D last weekend. I thought it was a pretty good movie. I don’t agree that it is #40 in the IMDb Top 250 though. The movie is visually stunning and it kept my attention from beginning to end. It is almost 3 hours long, but I didn’t feel as though there were any parts that just dragged. I’d definitely recommend it to others. My brother told me to see it in theaters, and he was absolutely right. It’s meant for the big screen and 3D. We’re still about 1 year away from that kind of 3D in the home.

In my area I had a choice between RealD 3D, Dolby 3D (sometimes called Digital 3D) and regular 2D. The closest IMAX theaters are 3 hours away, and although I have been to the one in Kansas City, it wasn’t solely to see a move (The Dark Knight). I did some digging to see which 3D is best. As usual, there wasn’t an obvious answer. From what I found, IMAX 3D is the most immersive. The drawbacks of it are that because it is so immersive it can cause fatigue and headaches because of the length of the movie. I think I still would’ve gone for it if it was in Wichita.

People differ on which is better between RealD 3D and Dolby 3D, but I read enough that says Dolby 3D has less of a ghosting effect than RealD 3D. I saw it in Dolby 3D and I didn’t see any ghosting. I didn’t have any issues with the quality of the video. I’d say the main drawback is that the glasses are re-used, so depending on how much the staff at the theater cares, they could have different levels of cleanliness. My lenses had some water spots on them. They were more than happy to swap them if you want. In my case, I couldn’t see them when wearing them, so no problem. The RealD glasses are yours to keep after the movie is over, so you always get a new/clean pair.

I came across a comparison of the various 3D technologies  (not the red-blue glasses) that I found interesting:

3D System Comparison

I found it interesting because a couple years back movie executives were talking about how to get people to continue to come out to theaters with the proliferation of HDTV, large screen TVs and home theaters. One idea was 3D. Over the last couple of years, there has been a fair amount of 3D movies. They were mostly animated, but there were a couple that weren’t. There has also been some sports in 3D in theaters. But this year we will see television broadcasts in 3D and television channels dedicated to 3D The vast majority of people will need new equipment (TVs, glasses, cable/satellite box, Blu-Ray player) to enjoy it, but it’s coming. Surprisingly, the technology that will be used is the one with the least drawbacks in terms of quality. The glasses currently to cost a little over $100/pair. Also, for anyone who already wears glasses, it’s not the most comfortable thing to wear a second pair for long periods of time.

I’m looking forward to 3D in the home, but I think I’m going to let a generation or two go by before I get a new TV that supports 3D. For now, I’ll enjoy it in the theater. Speaking of, the preview for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland looked really good. The story has been done over and over (most recently on SyFy), but I could be enticed to see it in 3D.

One last comment on Avatar in general. Before I went to see it, I saw on TV that people were saying they felt depressed after seeing the movie because they wished they lived in Pandora. They must have blocked out the parts where they live in nature, there are killer animals everywhere and humans are bringing war to them. I didn’t feel sad or depressed after watching it.

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Transformers vs. G.I. Joe

by on Jan.05, 2010, under Entertainment, Movies

I recently watched Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. I thought they were both good but Transformers was better. It’s interesting that what started out as childhood toys for me were both summer blockbusters.

Watching both, one thing that stood out to me was that special effects, especially CGI, helped make both movies do as well as they did. Even ten years ago, I think many of the effects would’ve been extremely difficult and even more expensive to do. It is all so seamlessly integrated now. I even admit I took a look at the job openings at Industrial Lights and Magic to see what kind of engineers they are hiring. (Quite a few, but mostly specialized.) They have become such an integral part of movies that quite a bit of the credits are devoted to the special effects people.

Looks like both movies will have follow-ups. Also, I had no idea that was Sienna Miller in G.I. Joe. Dark hair looks really nice on her.

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