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1. Comments are still disabled though I am thinking of enabling them again.

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Thursday, 28 April 2011

A Thor Point

Look, alright, I know it's a terrible pun but I couldn't resist it, and it is pertinent.

As a long time comic book reader this is definitely my Summer. Coming soon we have films of Green Lantern, X-Men:First Class and Captain America but first out of the traps is Thor which I saw yesterday. It certainly has the look of the comics. As adaptations go it could hardly be faulted. The Asgardian scenes are huge and epic, the Earth scenes are contrastingly small and human and clearly designed to set it all firmly in the Marvel Films Universe. The story is also pretty damned good, merging Norse myths almost seamlessly with the modern world.

So why the terrible pun?

In a word, no, in a letter and a number - 3D.

I watched in in glorious 2D because 3D gives me a headache but 3D is stamped all over the production. And stamped is very close to the right word. Perhaps "3D tramples all over the production" would be a better way to put it. The CGI Asgard is magnificently realised but the constant swooping, diving, tracking, panning, in-your-face motion of the point of view just makes you dizzy and makes it almost impossible to focus on any single element of the shot. The battle scenes are relentlessly cut/thrust/poke/slash towards the viewer. Even a scene where an angry Thor dashes all the food from the banquet table has him upsetting the table towards the viewer with the food bouncing and rolling into the camera.
Every single shot in the movie seems to have composed with dramatic impact playing a distinct second fiddle to the potential for 3D effects and this means that when watching it in 2D the way that this is so much at odds with conventional ideas of dramatic staging is startlingly clear.

I had hoped that this 3D fad would, as it has been in the past, be a passing thing but more and more films seem to be being released in both 2 and 3 dimensional versions so it looks as if it's here to stay. All I can hope for now is that directors stop pandering to the perceived need for everything in 3D being into or out of the screen and return to letting the narrative and the drama determine the framing of the action.

I won't hold my breath though.

2 comments:

Cat said...

Remember the old kind of 3D that required those red and blue lenses? That kind of 3D never worked for me as I don't have binocular vision. I have to admit that I do enjoy the new type of 3D that somehow allows me to see the special depth-of-field even with monocular vision, however it gives my husband severe motion sickness! I mean really, really, demand-his-money-back-after-yacking severe! So we're not likely to go to the 3D movies anymore. Also, they're charging more for those tickets, which sucks, especially for films like the Harry Potter film where there were only about 5 minutes of truly amazing 3D effects. I found myself saying "for this I paid 5 extra bucks?" Sounds like Thor doesn't leave you feeling like it isn't worth the extra if you're looking for the 3D WOW factor. An action-oriented comic seems the perfect venue for such things.

I hear they are also starting to produce and sell 3D television sets, which seems crazy to me, but there you have it. Personally, I can't see spending the money.

Bob Hale said...

Well, having only seen it in 2D all I can say is that the constant use of the into/out of the screen dimension for almost everything seriously detracts from what is a good film (a very good film) adaptation of a comic. The problem is that any sensible decisions about how best to dramatically frame a shot seem to be taking a back seat to choosing how to make it look good in 3D.