Banner
Home Forums Movie Theaters The Lobby Ebert savages 3-D and asks important questions
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
  • Page:
  • 1

TOPIC: Ebert savages 3-D and asks important questions

Ebert savages 3-D and asks important questions 26 Mar 2009 15:26 #31266

  • Mike
  • Mike's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 5075
  • Thank you received: 45
  • Karma: 16
Monsters vs. Aliens
Monsters 1, Aliens 0

Release Date: 2009

Ebert Rating: **½

/ / / Mar 25, 2009



by Roger Ebert

"Monsters vs. Aliens" is possibly the most commercial title of the year. How can you resist such a premise, especially if it's in 3-D animation? Very readily, in my case. I will say this first and get it out of the way: 3-D is a distraction and an annoyance. Younger moviegoers may think they like it because they've been told to, and picture quality is usually far from their minds. But for anyone who would just like to be left alone to see the darned thing, like me, it's a constant nudge in the ribs saying never mind the story, just see how neat I look.

The film was made in Tru3D, the DreamWorks process that has been hailed by honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg as the future of the cinema. It is better than most of the 3-D I've seen (it doesn't approach the work on "The Polar Express" and "Beowulf"). But if this is the future of movies for grownups and not just the kiddies, saints preserve us. Billions of people for a century have happily watched 2-D and imagined 3-D. Think of the desert in "Lawrence of Arabia." The schools of fish in "Finding Nemo." The great hall in "Citizen Kane."

Now that flawless screen surface is threatened with a gimmick, which, let's face it, is intended primarily to raise ticket prices and make piracy more difficult. If its only purpose was artistic, do you think Hollywood would spend a dime on it? The superb MaxiVision process is available for $15,000 a screen, and the Hollywood establishment can't even be bothered to look at it. Why invest in the technology of the future when they can plunder the past?

Speaking of the past, "Monsters vs. Aliens" retreads some of the monsters that starred in actual 1950s B movies: a blob, the 50-Foot Woman and no end of aliens with towering foreheads on their dome-shaped heads. Whether the average kid will get all of the connections is beside the point; if kids could accept Pokemon and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, these monsters are going to seem like masterpieces of manic personality.

The plot: On her wedding day, sweet Susan (Reese Witherspoon) is mutated by a meteorite; just as she walks down the aisle she grows to (I learn) just an inch short of 50 feet, maybe because Disney wanted to respect the copyright. Her husband (Paul Rudd) was no match for her, anyway, and now he really has Small Man Complex. After she wreaks havoc with every step, the media names her Ginormica, no doubt sidestepping "Amazonia" so as not to offend the lesbian lobby.

She's snatched by the feds and deposited in a secret government prison holding other monsters, who have been languishing since the 1950s. They're old enough that, if they escape, they could terrorize the subway on a senior pass.

Earth is invaded by an robot, which has one big eyeball in the middle of its head, like a giant Leggs pantyhose container bred with an iSight camera. Gen. W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) and the President (Stephen Colbert) are helpless to deal with this threat, and in desperation release the monsters to save Earth. Springing, leaping, skittering or oozing into battle, we have Ginormica at the head of an army including B.O.B., Insectosaurus, Dr. Cockroach and the Missing Link.

Except for Susan, who is perky, these creatures have no personalities in the sense of the distinctive characters in DreamWorks' "Shrek" movies. They express basic intentions, fears and desires in terms of their physical characteristics. There is a lot of banging, clanging, toppling, colliding and crumbing in the movie, especially when San Francisco is attacked by Gallaxhar, a squid that is the master of the robot. Conventional evolutionary guidelines are lost in the confusion.

I didn't find the movie rich with humor, unless frenetic action is funny. Maybe kids have learned to think so. Too bad for them. Think of the depth of "Pinocchio." Kids in those days were treated with respect for their intelligence. "Monsters vs. Aliens" is also lacking in wit. What is wit? Well, for example, the spirit in which I am writing this review. The dictionary defines it as "analogies between dissimilar things, expressed in quick, sharp, spontaneous observations." A weak point with the monsters, and way outside Gallaxhar's range.

I suppose kids will like this movie, especially those below the age of reason. Their parents may not be as amused, and if they have several children, may ask themselves how much it was worth for the kids to wear the glasses. Is there a child who would see this movie in 2-D (which has brighter colors than 3-D) and complain?
Michael Hurley
Impresario
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Ebert savages 3-D and asks important questions 26 Mar 2009 15:28 #31267

  • Mike
  • Mike's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 5075
  • Thank you received: 45
  • Karma: 16
As Ebert asks: is there a child who wouldn't love this film in 2-d? Who would sit home complaining "I don't want to go because it's onlyn 2-D" The answer is : it IS a gimmick. A fun gimmick. But it is not essential to film making or exhibition.
Michael Hurley
Impresario
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Ebert savages 3-D and asks important questions 26 Mar 2009 19:20 #31268

  • sevstar
  • sevstar's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 527
  • Thank you received: 9
  • Karma: 0
Exactly the way I look at it.... as a gimmick. And once it is released on DVD it will be in 2D.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Ebert savages 3-D and asks important questions 26 Mar 2009 19:50 #31269

  • revrobor
  • revrobor's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 1136
  • Thank you received: 23
  • Karma: -7
I'll "amen" that guys. I wonder if they'll bring back "Smell-A-Vision" or the vibrating chairs? I wonder too if any of the producers are intelligent enough to realize it's good stories and not gimmicks that are needed?
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Ebert savages 3-D and asks important questions 27 Mar 2009 08:51 #31271

  • Mike
  • Mike's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Administrator
  • Posts: 5075
  • Thank you received: 45
  • Karma: 16
There's no doubt that it is impressive and fun. I have seen this stuff. But as so many people have said... they are now making the movies for the effects rather than the story. Center of the Earth was prime example. Really so-so. I agree with Ebert: if all films are going to go 3-D maybe it will be the ultimate killer. What's the matter with a good story? And as Ebert said... "For 100 years billions of people have imagined 3-D without any harm". It reminded me of the first Harry Potter film when someone opined that prior to the film hundreds of millions of people had read the books and imagined Harry and what he looked like: all of the images completely different and now when people read these books they see the movie star. A key to good storytelling (and film making) is a good listener and viewer. If you had spent 100K on 3-D how did you like the tanking of the Jonas Bros? Btter build flops into our projections.
Michael Hurley
Impresario
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Ebert savages 3-D and asks important questions 27 Mar 2009 10:50 #31272

  • cuemarks
  • cuemarks's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Senior Boarder
  • Posts: 60
  • Karma: 0
It is no fun to show flops like Jonas Brothers, but the 3D option for digital projection is a very small part of the over all cost of digital projection.
I am still waiting for my first 3D hit, maybe Monster vs. Aliens. cuemarks
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Ebert savages 3-D and asks important questions 27 Mar 2009 11:51 #31273

  • sevstar
  • sevstar's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 527
  • Thank you received: 9
  • Karma: 0
So many of these 3D releases are aimed at the family market. And I wonder just how long families will want to shell out the extra money just for the gimmick. In our area it will cost a family of four $42.00 at matinée pricing. Just shy of $50.00 for evening shows. Now your starting to talk serious money for a trip to the movies, just to get in.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Ebert savages 3-D and asks important questions 27 Mar 2009 12:38 #31274

  • cuemarks
  • cuemarks's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Senior Boarder
  • Posts: 60
  • Karma: 0
I charge an extra two dollars for the 3D movie experience. Even with that I am still cheaper than regular admission charged by the major chains north and south of me.
Has this fact filled my seats, not at all. Also, we have been under some pressure to increase ticket prices for 3D content. That would be tough to do here. cuemarks
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Ebert savages 3-D and asks important questions 27 Mar 2009 15:55 #31277

  • sevstar
  • sevstar's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 527
  • Thank you received: 9
  • Karma: 0
Here Regal is adding $3.50 per ticket and $5.00 per ticket for IMAX.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Ebert savages 3-D and asks important questions 29 Mar 2009 09:55 #31286

  • rodeojack
  • rodeojack's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 1255
  • Thank you received: 6
  • Karma: 2
I took my daughter to M vs A Yesterday... paid $21 (matinee) to get us both in, then another $17 for a small popcorn, a large nacho and a large Coke.

Having been to this theatre before (16 Christie digital screens), I had a fair idea how the picture normally looked. Yesterday, the commercials were VERY bright. OK, I thought. They say the Real-D filter and glasses drop screen intensity a lot. They've got "the big bulb" installed.

It was amazing, how dark it really got. They dropped the filter immediately and ran the trailers through it, one in 2D, and the other in 3D. Offhand, I'd say the gadgets took out half the light.

There was also some detail in the feature that I could see better without the glasses, again because it was so dark.

The 3D is OK. Maybe even good for those who haven't got anything to compare it to. The stereotypical paddleball trick was the first clue that there is a difference. Real-D seems to add depth, but nothing comes out of the screen. Compared to the Disney World (Land) "Bugs Life" 3D show, where things seem to be right in front of you, the Real-D process seems to keep everything at the screen, or behind... at least that's the way it looked on this show.

I'd give the whole experience a C+ to maybe a B-. It was a fun first experience. However, if Hollywood is counting on 3D and its premium pricing to bolster their day-to-day bottom line, I have a hunch this fad won't do it.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Ebert savages 3-D and asks important questions 29 Mar 2009 12:04 #31287

  • revrobor
  • revrobor's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 1136
  • Thank you received: 23
  • Karma: -7
I read all this 3-D hype and think "Who you kidding". We had 3-D in the 50s. It didn't last more than a few years. People got tired of messing with the glasses and weak story lines. And there was no increase in admission. You can only sit and watch the actors throw things at the camera for so long.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Ebert savages 3-D and asks important questions 10 Apr 2009 00:07 #31362

  • BurneyFalls
  • BurneyFalls's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 1341
  • Karma: 0
Interesting feedback on the big 3-D article a week or two ago in Entertainment Weekly. Check out, NOT 3-D AGAIN! in the April 10, 2009 issue. I think I will sit back awhile longer and watch the cards fall.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Ebert savages 3-D and asks important questions 10 Apr 2009 12:09 #31364

  • cuemarks
  • cuemarks's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Senior Boarder
  • Posts: 60
  • Karma: 0
I have the real d system at my theatres. When projecting a 3D movie the, filter [z-screen]is in place even during the 2D trailers. Also when in 3D mode the projector lamp automatically increases power to make up for the increase of light output demanded by 3D. I have plenty of light which makes for excellent 3D. If your system is lacking light output then your 3D will suffer
along with your patrons. When working properly 3D can add alot to a good movie. cuemarks
Last Edit: 10 Apr 2009 15:30 by cuemarks. Reason: extra word removed
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Ebert savages 3-D and asks important questions 24 Apr 2009 23:29 #31418

  • BennyG
  • BennyG's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Fresh Boarder
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: 0
I think there is a lot more to 3D than people are thinking. As a filmmaker with interest in 3D filmmaking I know that 3D is still very very young. I don't mean that in terms on how long its been around. I know the red and blue glasses with colorized images being overlayed came about in the 1800's. But it hasn't evolved much from then until very recently. Keep in mind Monsters Vs. Aliens was their first attempt at making a 3D movie. The directors of the movie weren't even told it was to be 3D till just before they started.

I think it will really come down to what James Cameron does with Avatar. I've talked to people about the Pace/Cameron Fusion. The camera is simply Amazing, they move as eyes do. When you focus on something closer the cameras actually shift inwards (cross eyed) to mimic real Eyes. There are a few big Directors (David Croenenberg, and Jon Favreau to name a couple) who have seen tests from Avatar. They have been quoted saying that it suspends another level of disbelief. Just like when Color or sound was first brought to movies. Speilberg has been working on a 3D technology that won't require glasses at all. He is shooting Tintin in 3D.

Im not saying 3D is the definite way of the future, but I am saying its young and it has an incredible future that I don't think any of us can understand from watching Monsters Vs. Aliens. With people like James Cameron and Steven Speilberg backing the technology I can guarantee you will see some mind blowing 3D in the next few years.

All that being said, I do agree with what has been said about Monsters Vs. Aliens. I personally loved it from the filmmaker aspect as I could see the potential that Digital 3D has. But I agree that it had serious downfalls like the Light Loss and Color saturation.

As for the comment about things not popping out of the screen at you. Things staying near the screen in 3D, I read that it was the directors who chose to do that. They didn't want the 3D to seem like a Gimmick which is bound to happen when things come right out of the screen at you.
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Re:Ebert savages 3-D and asks important questions 25 Apr 2009 12:52 #31423

  • rodeojack
  • rodeojack's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 1255
  • Thank you received: 6
  • Karma: 2
BennyG wrote:
As for the comment about things not popping out of the screen at you. Things staying near the screen in 3D, I read that it was the directors who chose to do that. They didn't want the 3D to seem like a Gimmick which is bound to happen when things come right out of the screen at you.

Interesting. I hadn't considered that this might be an available choice for the director. Looks like I need to watch a few more, to see if others push the image out.

Cuemark's comment about leaving his screen in place is also interesting. That is something the theatre I attended does not do, nor do they appear to adjust their lamp wattage "on the fly". Their systems are Christies, if that matters.

As for the actual screen illumination; it's been measured at around 5fL by people who do that kind of thing. The films are timed for that level, and many people might not notice. It did seem dark to me though.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
  • Page:
  • 1
Time to create page: 0.221 seconds
attraction attraction
attraction
attraction
attraction
attraction