Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sophie's Choice of the modern film critic - See it early in 3D or see it later in 2D?

I am actually attending my second press screening with Allison in a couple weeks. I was invited to the All-Media for Kung Fu Panda 2 that will take place in downtown Hollywood on Saturday the 21st at 10:00am. I wasn't even seeking out said press screening, as I figured that we would just take Allison to a 2D showing sometime over Memorial Day weekend. But the ability to take my kid to a press screening of something my wife an I actually wanted to see, on a Saturday morning where I could then take them out to lunch and/or ice cream downtown, was too much to resist. Yes, Allison probably won't care two wits about the 3D, but it won't affect her enjoyment one way or another (she handled the god-awful 3D in The Nutcracker, she can handle Kung Fu Panda 2). Dreamworks has been doing top-notch 3D work in their films long before it was the 'cool' thing to do. How To Train Your Dragon remains up there with Coraline and The Polar Express as some of the most impressive and immersive 3D yet attempted in animation. But for other films coming this summer, the choice is not so clear...

What of the several major pictures opening this summer that will likely screen for the press in 3D only? My wife and I have pretty much already decided to not pursue the press screenings for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Even though the picture was shot on a 3D Red camera, early reports still say that the 3D work overly darkens an image that already takes place mostly at night. And since my wife doesn't care for 3D and the film opens on my daughter's 'babysitting night' (ie - convenient and guilt-free babysitting), fair readers will have to wait until late Friday night or Saturday morning for a review of this fourth Pirates of the Caribbean adventure. And while I had no interest in seeing Priest early, I certainly have no desire to sample the film in its 3D format, as even the 2D trailer makes the film look murky and washed-out. I saw Thor in IMAX 3D and didn't feel like the experience suffered per-se, and for me seeing it in IMAX was worth the 3D. But I've read enough anecdotes from viewers who saw both and vastly preferred their 2D experience to make me wonder if I should have waited.

But while I can deal with seeing animated features in 3D, since the likes of Cars 2 and Kung Fu Panda 2 will likely look just fine in 3D, the live-action features are a dicier proposition. The two films I most want to see this summer, Green Lantern and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part II, will both likely be screened for the press in 3D-only. So the decision to make... do I see them early and get the fun of 'seeing it and reviewing it early' and hope that the 3D conversion process does not harm these pictures? Or do I just wait for opening night/weekend and just see these films in the way they were likely intended? Transformers: Dark of the Moon is an easier call, since I'm genuinely curious as to what Michael Bay will do with 3D effects and the resulting longer takes and brighter colors (no way a technical pro like Bay is going to let 3D filming darken his intended images). But for as long as 3D is the status-quo for major franchise pictures, it will be a constant and annoying choice.

Do I see Captain America when the rest of the critics do, or do I wait and see it in 2D? With the exception of The Dark Knight Rises (which will be in glorious 2D IMAX), almost every major 'big' film over the next few years (Superman: Man of Steel, The Avengers, Star Trek 2, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Hobbit, etc) will be 'in 3D', which means it will also be screened for the press in 3D. What do you think, dear readers? Would you give up the chance to see a highly-anticipated film early in order to see it in 2D? Would you dear readers feel cheated if I waited to review said movies in their native 2D presentations? Decisions, decisions...

Scott Mendelson


LYT said...

I don't think Captain America's gonna be in 3-D. Where did you hear that?

Scott Mendelson said...



Diane said...

Until every 3D film can have the immersive visual quality that Avatar had, I say go see films however you want.

I also am not a fan of the 3D craze, and am very glad that there is at least one 2D IMAX film in the lineup. I love seeing films in "true" IMAX, and am sad at how many 3D films are being presented in the format. I wish there could be room for both.

rick said...

I say see them in 2d, if only so you don't have to suffer through (as much)summer cash grab film making.

There's really nothing different from this 3d fad as the previous ones and I'm just waiting for it to die out, again.

(Yes, this time there's Avatar, but how many other films can you name with 3d that wasn't terrible or pointless?)


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