UP & Digital 3-D Technology

UP Movie PosterFirst of all, yesterday I went out and saw Pixar's latest film, Up, and it was a blast. As usual, the cartoony but more-and-more realistic-looking animation was superb. The plotline was very touching at points but still contained enough eye candy and silly jokes ot keep everyone on the edge of their seat and laughing. In short, it was another great Pixar film, although I'm not yet sure where it will go in my personal favorites; that can only be determined over time, I think.

This afternoon, though, I took the chance to rewatch the film in "Disney Digital 3D", which is just Disney's fancy branding to the RealD digital technology. Unlike old 3D glasses that used separate polarization or colors to each eye, RealD uses a more advanced polarization on alternating frames of the digital projection. This results in a much crisper picture than the older 3-D technologies, but it still suffers from a slightly dark look due to the polarization, although that might be due to the fact that I was sitting almost at the front of the theater.

RealD 3D Glasses

My experience with seeing it in 3-D wasn't amazing, but I did find it interesting. Only at a couple points in the film did the characters or sets seem to jump out of the screen for me, but when they did, the effect was pretty cool. Most of the time, the 3-D effect was subtle or barely noticeable, or at least subtle enough that I couldn't decide if it looked much better than the regular 2-D projection. On the other hand, when the film was showing photos or artwork on a wall, it definitely felt more flat to me, so maybe it's just my imagination building last night's show into 3-D. I think, to Pixar's credit, they never stooped to the level of making shots just so they wow the audience in 3-D, but they only used it to full effect when it filled the story. (I've seen numerous previews for other movies where it just seems that all the characters are sticking their face right up to the camera, which might be overwhelming but at least seems gimmicky to me.)

My main disclaimer on this front is that I do have an eye condition that does make it hard for me to see things far away (I'm almost legally blind, but not quite), and it may be that part of this condition makes it less exciting to me. People often ask me what I can see compared to them, and I tell them that I've never seen like them so I cannot really compare.

I guess my point is that the 3-D technology in films these days is much better than it was even a couple years ago. If it sounds intriguing to you, check out the new world of 3-D films and see for yourself if you like the experience. And speaking of which, besides a bunch of new films coming out in 3-D over the next year, it seems that both Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are going to be released in Disney Digital 3D over the next year before Toy Story 3 is released in June 2010.


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