Saturday, October 24, 2009

UP in 3D

The new local cinema doesn't do 3D so we had to revert to our previous practice of visiting Salisbury (a half hour drive away) to see the 3D version of "Up".

1. The story

The film centres around a grumpy old man named Carl Fredricksen and an overeager boy-scout Wilderness Explorer named Russell who fly to South America in a floating house suspended from helium balloons (Wikipedia). It opens however with a short, showcasing Pixar's capabilities in 3D rendering, which was impressive and amusing.

I also liked the start of the film proper, which reprised Mr Fredricksen's life from a small child, most of it shared with the love of his life, Ellie who finally dies leaving him a widower. But I was always a sucker for sentimentality, of which this film is somewhat overfull.

The main story retains interest although it's overlong and sags in the middle. The characters, who are not entirely stereotypes, achieve their just desserts in the end ... but that's a kid's film for you.

2. 3D

Polarized spectacles are distributed in a cellophane wrapper at the ticket-check point. These fit over ordinary glasses. The 3D effect is quite real and initially impressive. It's not, however, immersive - at least not on a regular-sized cinema screen.

3D added little to the story however, really coming into its own in action and landscape sequences. Seems that film makers have not yet learnt how to use 3D to illuminate subtle, more relationship-centric scenes.

3. Rendering

It's been a long time since I've seen an animation. The people were rendered as caricatures, but the backgrounds were quite impressive. There were scenes where I could have believed that we were seeing real footage of the waterfall in South America, or picket fence suburban America.

There must be actors today who will never die, because they will be digitally rendered in the years to come. No tantrums and a lot less bucks.