Thursday, 28 November 2013

Modern cinema doesn't work with my eyes

A few years ago I went to see Toy Story 3 in 3D, and wrote that I was pretty sure I couldn't see the 3D effect. Now I've seen Gravity in 3D, and I'm definitely sure I can't see the 3D effect. Maybe the fact that it was three years between these films shows that I might not be that interested in 3D. But I saw many other films in that time. Nice, enjoyable 2D films that displayed easily visible images. The problem is, as I have already said twice, I can't see the 3D effect. I don't really know what it is, but it sounds impressive when other people describe it. Things fly out of the screen and hover right in front of you, like you can touch them. But around 10% of people can't see this, and it disagrees with some people so much that it makes their head hurt. It's not so dramatic for me. When I put the 3D glasses on they only have the underwhelming effect of turning a blurry mess into a normal looking film, which is useful, but I didn't need an extra pair of glasses for that before. It looks like the film is on the screen, but a bit darker. There definitely isn't anything getting closer to me. There is nothing hovering, and I don't feel like I can touch it.

I have pretty normal eyes. They are short-sighted, or long-sighted (I can't remember), so I wear glasses. I can see real things that are in front of me, and can see when things are getting closer, because they are really there. But there is some technology in these 3D films that doesn't work with my eyes. This isn't really a problem, except that it has ruined a good film for me. I'm sure Gravity is good, because I was able to see most of it. The effects were very impressive, even when I'm wearing what are now just effectively rubbish sunglasses. But I didn't enjoy it. The main point of Gravity is the visual spectacle, and I couldn't see the visual spectacle, at least not the good bits everyone else was seeing. At no point was I immersed in the film, because I was always wondering what I was missing. I wanted to know what everyone else could see. This has never happened before. I've seen lots of films. I think I'm quite good at watching films. This was the first time I felt inadequate.

It's like being on a rollercoaster, but my car takes a slightly different track that doesn't have any loops or drops, and just ambles along. I can see everyone else speeding around me, but I have to just fold my arms and feel annoyed. That's what Gravity made me feel - annoyed. It's not intense, or gripping, or a brilliant showcase for the wonder and awe of cinema - just annoying. I don't think they were going for that. And so the obvious solution is to not watch 3D films. I can do that, because they're not very important and very easy to avoid for years, but I just wonder what I'm missing. I want to know what these floating things look like. I want to know if it would really seem like something was hurtling out of the screen towards me. And I want to know what it's like to watch Gravity.

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