Posts Tagged ‘3D’

Hugo – pretty. uninspiring.

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

I don’t get the hype about Martin Scorsese. Every year at the Academy Awards he is presented as if he would be this total genius, a director like no one else. I retain some hope that this undue praise is evoked by him being a nice chap whom people like on a personal level. In that case, I can live with it, even though aesthetically or politically, he doesn’t live up to the hype.

This goes true for the most recent Scorsese film, Hugo, which again reaped a bunch of Oscars. We have a poor orphan, so much for the Dickensian element. But this is not all. We also have a strange world of clockworks and craftmanship, a mysterious automaton and a equally mysterious Gandhi toyshop owner. Of course, the latter soon enough develops father-figure like qualities. No surprise there. Things take a turn for the worse when the movie more and more moves from a story about orphans and automatons to a story about the magic quality of the movies, of early cinema and the wonders it brought to this world. We do now that movie makers like movies. No surprise here. But for me, the shift from the magic of clockworks to the magic of movies felt like a bit of a stretch, there was no real, inner connection between the two.
In any case, there are a few pretty pictures, although less so than I expected after all the awards. I guess the award showers were intensified by the fact that this was a feel-good movie for the movie industry itself – of course members of the Academy like a movie that praises their achievements. In my experience neither the aesthetics nor the story really were moving. Just: moving pictures, some nice ideas, some entertainment.
IMDb entry | trailer

The Adventures of Tintin – entertainment with a weak finish.

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

A new town, a new cinema. Here in Notodden, deep in the Norwegian province, we might have only 12,000 inhabitants, but we also do have a 3D capable cinema that is only a short stroll away from home. So we can hope for a return to more regular film critiques – if the program allows that is… Still, we’ll have plenty Hollywood-style entertainment flicks and Tintin certainly belongs to this category. I do like the comics, and I found the movie to be an adequate conversion to the screen, 3D and all. The first half or even two thirds were actually very nice. Small episodes, chase scenes that were actually enjoyable, a bunch of likable if somewhat shallow characters and, of course, Captain Haddock and his addiction to alcohol as pretty much the only interesting character. However, the movie just went on like that: more chases, more adventure, no development, no conflict. I guess the same is true for the comics, so there is not much to complain about, but in the realm of animated movies, this is not nearly sufficient to even get close to Pixar’s productions. Too bad. But sadly, I do not really expect more from a Steven Spielberg movie, so I at least wasn’t disappointed. You can certainly go see it if you’re into Tintin.
IMDb entry | Trailer

Avatar – Depth without depth.

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

I took the opportunity of being back in Berlin for a few days to hop into a 3D showing of Avatar, even though I didn’t have particularly high expectations of the movie. But, as so many others, I decided to watch it to see how 3D cinema is done today and what its potentials might be. It was good to have watched the movie without expecting much from the storyline, the politics, or the characters, because all of these were extremely … flat. Rarely did I go to the cinema to see a movie where the characters lacked any kind of plausible background, the entire plot line was completely clear and without any interesting twists from beginning to end. Well, you could say that this complete lack of surprises was a surprise in itself, but that would be carrying things a bit too far. But, maybe there was one surprise: at one point I felt an emotional involvement even though I was really annoyed on an intellectual level. Maybe this is a hint at how one could see the movie when one does not wear several layers of aesthetic and intellectual doubts – at least I talked to a few people from completely non-academic backgrounds who enjoyed this movie tremendously and really thought that it was a very moving experience.

So back to the original motivation of watching this movie: getting an impression about the 3D thingy. First off, I am not one of those who like to sit in one of the back seats of a cinema, watching from a distance. For me, immersion is a treat. This went fairly ok with the 3D stuff too, but I think it might make watching a bit more difficult because I found myself watching at some detail of the scenery for a bit too long from time to time, thus running the risk of missing ‘the big picture’. But apart from that, I thought that they did a good job with using 3D for this movie. The special effects were nice and sometimes the landscapes were really interesting and beautiful and it was fun to explore them visually. This really adds a new quality to the aesthetics of the movie and can be used for much more than action-related effects. It will be nice to see how this is going to be used in movies that are exciting and touching – I do have some hopes for the next Pixar flick in this regard.
And one last remark: With the strong focus on bodily performance and sensations, I really felt uneasy about the way in which handicaps / handicapped people were portrayed. Instead of ditching the “crippled” body as practically worthless and only frustrating, it would have been much nicer to look the potentials that life in a wheelchair (or any other handicap) has to offer. Instead, this movie took a strong evolutionist/survival of the fittest turn. The use of all kinds of machines was portrayed as a sign of impotence – only the pure body, the handmade bow, and the symbiotic animal were worth anything. And aging or decay? Where were they? We see one dead body, which carries sign of old age, but what do the wonderful nature-bound, and always perfectly performing aliens do when they get old? *sigh*
IMDb entry | Trailer