Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Now Entering The Third Dimension

I write this with full confidence and no hesitation: go see Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D. Nay, scratch that: go get stoned and go see Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D. Forget all your hesitations, your expectations, and what you have heard about this film. I guarantee that you will have the best fucking time watching this movie.

Don't get me wrong, now. The actual movie is a piece of shit--the 2-D version anyway. But I didn't go to see this movie for the plot or the acting. I went for the experience.

Originally, my best friend The Cobra and I were planning on seeing Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (which I saw the next day and enjoyed it on a purely entertaining level), but once we realized the potential greatness of the 3-D experience, we threw all caution to the wind and purchased our tickets. Sure, it was $2 more above the ticket price, but hey, you get to keep the Ray Ban-like sunglasses, so that's cool, I guess.

We started off with a preview for Step Brothers (not in 3-D, but it actually looks pretty decent). Then, the screen projected the following words: "Please put on your 3-D glasses." I put them on but thought, "We were only going to be treated to one preview? Fuck that." I was wrong. All the sudden, a large animated rocket came roaring towards my face! This was a preview for Summit Entertainment's upcoming animated flick Fly Me To The Moon 3-D. My eyes were still adjusting to the 3-D look of the film, but from what I gathered, the film is about a trio of insect flies that accompany Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldron on the first mission to the moon. Animated insects? Comedy? Space? 3-D? I'm in. The next preview was for Disney's Bolt 3-D, starring the voices of John Travolta and Miley Cyrus. I saw this preview in 2-D before and thought it looked entertaining, so I can only imagine how much more awesome it will be in 3-D.

And then, the film began.

The opening credits alone rocked my socks as the title blazed onto the screen in large gold ancient lettering. The title then started speeding towards me, growing bigger and bigger until my peripherals were encompassed by its sheer magnitude. Let me state again: this was only the title sequence!

Soon, we were subjected to an intense dream sequence involving large bugs, whose antenna feelers threatened to tickle my nose. Animated as well, this scene was nothing new as I had just experienced 15 minutes of previews of animated 3-D. Then came the experience that I have only experienced at Disneyland's Honey, I Shrunk The Audience 4-D: live action 3-D entertainment! I was thrown off. There, on the big screen stands Brendan Fraser brushing his teeth, but something about him is different. Then, the screen cuts to the point of the view of the sink. Fraser looks down at the screen (at the audience) and spits all over the sink (the audience). For a brief moment, I was scared, grossed out, and excited to see Brendan Fraser's spit coming right towards me. I half-expected the seat in front of me to spray water on my face like when the giant dog sneezes in Honey, I Shrunk The Audience. The Cobra and I could not stop laughing at how ridiculous this experience was going to be.

And the film continued to be awesome, especially when we got to the real meat of the story: the center of the Earth. Dinosaurs tried to eat us, glow-in-the-dark birds flew around our heads (at one point, I actually reached out and tried to grab one of them), yo-yos and measuring tapes slapped us in the face. There was even a part where they ride coal mine cars, and the audience is treated to a rollercoaster experience: think Back To The Future: The Ride meets Thunder Mountain. I'm telling you, this movie was fucking awesome. It was like a 2 hour thrill ride from an amusement park.

Overall, the whole movie was a surreal experience. I could not help thinking how I thought that I was a part of the movie. I could not help thinking that I could get up from my seat and step into the movie. I could not help thinking that there were giant versions of Brendan Fraser and Seth Meyers living this fantastical life right in front of me but never really noticing me. The depth of perception in the film was incredible. You could actually feel the distances between point A and point B. Even the scenes of simply dialogue and plot movement were incredible because they felt like well-developed 3rd dimensional characters.

It was a truly interactive feeling.

Forget the old days of those red-and-blue lens glasses. The old way of creating 3-D images was to use two different projects to screen the same image that would then filter through the polarized glasses. However, if you tilted your head, the 3-D image would be lost. RealD 3-D, however, uses a single projector to display two frames: one for the left eye and one for the right eye. The frames are sequenced and then triple flashed to eliminate flickering and create smooth motion. The glasses combine the polarized light streams, allowing the viewer to see the 3-D image fron any seat in the theater. The result: a 3-D image that seems to extend behind and in front of the screen itself.

Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D marks a truly triumphant pinpoint in cinematic history as it is the first live-action film to be filmed in RealD 3-D technology. If this is any indicator of what the future holds, I will go see every 3-D movie that comes out in the future, animated or live-action. They have even had concerts in 3-D such as U2 and Miley Cyrus. We get to look forward to DreamWorks' Monsters vs. Aliens, Toy Story, Nightmare Before Christmas, Alice in Wonderland, and the most anticipated film of 2009 James Cameron's Avatar, set on alien planet, in which Cameron actually created an entirely new language just for the film. RealD has also claimed that its end goal is to one day have all media in 3-D format. Imagine this: DVD's , television live programming, Internet streaming, all in 3-D. I could go home, put on Scarface or Star Wars, and soon there would be bullets or lightsabers whirling around my head. Pretty soon the surreal will become extremely real, at least virtually.

Watching a movie in 3-D was like the first time I ever saw television in HD (High Definition). Once I saw the much better quality, I could not go back to regular TV. Watching Hellboy 2 was almost bland compared to the 3-D entertainment I had sat through only 12 hours before. I kinda feel like I can never watch a regular 2-D movie again, although I'll have to, of course.

Who knew that all this awesomeness could come from a Brendan Fraser flick?

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