I’m mostly blind in my right eye thanks to the stupidest injury I have ever inflicted upon myself. My vision has gotten better in the 12 years since I lost it, but if I close my left eye, all I see is a white blur with shapes in it. Except at night. For some reason, I see better at night.
This is why 3D doesn’t really work for me. You need two working eyes for the illusion to succeed. I saw a few 3D revival films as a kid — the kind with the red-and-green glasses, most notably House of Wax — and it worked fine, but in recent years, things like Spy Kids 3D or that ride thing at Canada’s Wonderland just look like fuzzy 2D to me.
For this reason, I wasn’t expecting much tonight when we went to see G-Force with the kids. This spy tale featuring commando guinea pigs is in “digital 3D,” which I assumed meant the extra $2 per ticket was for the high-tech plastic glasses they were handing out. “Just sit there for a couple of hours,” I told myself, expecting more fuzzy animated animals. “You’re doing it for the kids.” I expected to barely see a dorky movie.
But I was wrong. So wrong. For one thing, G-Force is a lot of fun, a well-put-together movie that makes kids laugh (farting rodents) and adults laugh (I liked the part where the guinea pig said ‘Yippee-ki-yay, coffeemaker!’).
For another thing, the 3D works. It works wonderfully. And I could see it, although it was probably fuzzier for me than it was for others. The film makes excellent use of it, too, unlike those old 3D movies parodied so well by Joe Flaherty on SCTV. This isn’t a case of things suddenly looming at the camera; this is true 3D, with layers upon layers of scenery. Think of it as ViewMaster on Red Bull, and moving. The spies’ holographic projections hovered in the foreground. Exploding objects made us want to duck. An insect character kept buzzing in over my shoulder. It was all very cool.
Even the trailers, for upcoming 3D films A Christmas Carol, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and the re-release of Toy Story I & II as a 3D-double feature, were compelling. The Toy Story trailer has a magical moment where its creators used the 3D technology to play a great trick on the audience, and I laughed out loud.
Don’t ask me to explain how this new 3D works. But it had me thinking it just might give movie studios a much-needed boost. And I found myself wondering how it would translate to other films. The latest Star Trek, for instance, would have thrived with this technology.
It’s still in its early days. I look forward to seeing what comes next.
- Note: I did my usual thing where I don’t look up the voices before I see a film. I picked up on Steve Buscemi and Tracy Morgan in G-Force, but not the others. Sure, Sam Rockwell fooled me — he is a master of seeming generic when he really isn’t — but Nicolas Cage was incredible. Yes, I just said that out loud.