Nick Leshi

Nick Leshi
Bronx, New York, United States of America
December 13
Writer, actor, media professional, fan of entertainment, pop culture, and speculative fiction. Contact for more info.


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APRIL 7, 2012 11:12PM

The 3D Distraction

Rate: 1 Flag
Despite my better judgment, I continue my love/hate relationship with 3D (mostly hate). I went to see Wrath of the Titans. The original Clash of the Titans is one of my favorites, and this sequel to the critically lambasted remake is pulpy fun if you're looking for over-the-top special effects and cheesy battles between gods, demigods, and titans. The problem is the 3D, which, even though better than the much-criticized 3D conversion of the previous film, is still unnecessary and distracting.

My own expectations for 3D are simple -- if I'm paying a premium for tickets with the three-dimensional gimmick, then I want to be completely immersed in the world I'm seeing on the screen and I want objects to be flying at me for most of the flick. As one of my friends wisely put it, today's 3D "is more like high def," except all it does is distract the viewer.

As I mentioned before, film already gives the illusion of depth. When I see a movie, I want to lose myself in the story, not be constantly reminded that I'm watching a production everytime I see embers floating slightly in front of the layered background. Instead of making cinema more realistic, as is the explanation I keep hearing for the continued investment in the 3D technology, it often seems like a bad effect, looking blurred or partially three-dimensional rather than the seamless reproduction of our physical reality that James Cameron promised with Avatar.

Popcorn movies are supposed to be a form of escape, but 3D drags me out of the moment. The glasses are annoying and the depth-illusion is far too weak to warrant the extra ticket price. Instead of enjoying the battle between Zeus and Hades played by Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes, I was repeatedly pestered by visual tricks that after a while started to give me a headache.

Time for 3D to fade away into oblivion.

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I saw "Hugo" in 3-D and really enjoyed it. After a few minutes, I forgot that I was watching 3-D but felt I was watching a movie with really excellent depth perception.

I had a less enjoyable time with "Avatar," but part of the reason was the theater itself. The glasses weren't new and they were badly smudged, which ruined the experience. (We got brand new ones for "Hugo.") Also, for the first ten minutes of "Avatar" there was no sound, which stirred up an anger that never went away for the rest of the showing.

Much as I like "Titanic," I won't be seeing the 3-D version. I hate when they retrofit old movies as 3-D; I think of it the same way as I do with colorizing old black & white movies. It's just exploitation to make a few more bucks.
I saw Titanic last night and give it a B. It was shown in IMAX and turned out better than I expected. I went to a 4 pm showing and paid $11 for the ticket and $300 for popcorn and a diet drink. There were less than 50 persons in the huge theater. I had only seen IMAX one other time.

The underwater scenes were surreal and up close. Some of the Bill Paxton and his ruff-cut partner were off screen at times, sort of like pan and scan instead of letterbox. I could see a wrist but no body. The Grand Staircase was more elegant and lavish than I remembered and the haughty First Class passengers seemed more affected. I wanted to slap the snot out of Billy Zane as Cal. 3-D made him much more of a crumpet. At dinner, I was actually at the table with them. The goblets were huge and the tableware worthy of The Queen, unnoticed before.

The sinking was everything but wet. When the stern collapsed back into the water, there was little doubt that any souls survived. More noticeable were Mr. Lightoller for some reason and Mr. Murdoch taking his life, as he was right in front of me. The uniform jackets on the orchestra, while playing on the boat deck meticulously embroidered. More vivid expressions on the priest as he was praying toward the end and passengers holding him for strength.

I got my $11 worth, Nick, I am finished with the movie now and forever and admit a preference for the 1953 ish version with Clifton Webb and beautiful Barbara Stanwyck in good ole black and white. For 3-D and IMAX I would see an appealing movie again. The real treat was seeing Gloria Stuart again. A true professional Hollywood Actress.