Monthly Archives: January 2010

Avatar in 3D IMAX: An epileptic experience

When I first saw the Avatar trailer, I immediately denounced the movie as a complete waste of time. It is a well-known fact that a trailer is a collection of the best moments from the entire movie, and so, it was very clear this movie had little to offer besides graphics.

However, the movie reviews and the box office told a different story. One could almost be convinced that this movie is indeed an epic, after hearing how it has made a billion dollars already.

PRO TIP: Box office performance is indicative of nothing. Typically, one assumes that if a movie tops the box office, it must be at least a decent movie. This theory used to be valid, in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, our population grows exponentially, and there are now enough teenage douchebags with credit cards out there to destroy any statistical value in ticket sale trends.

The fact is, everyone wants to see this movie simply due to the hype. Sadly, I succumbed to this effect as well. Thinking I would give the movie its best chance of being entertaining, I decided to go to the 3D IMAX show, which required booking tickets 3 days in advance. It was a disappointing experience. Here’s why:

3D glasses have not improved since they were invented in 1754

It’s 2010 now. Come on. Are we seriously still wearing these plastic antiques? Here is a summary of my experience, annotated with my mood as it went along:

[NEUTRAL] Put on 3D glasses.
[HAPPY] Realize it is too dark for anyone to see how retarded you look with these idiotic glasses on.
[CONFUSED] Discover giant black gap between the two lenses. Spend 10 minutes in a futile attempt to get your eyes to ignore the black, althewhile staring directly at it.
[ANNOYED] Finally begin to see a full picture, but find that 50% of the screen is blurry.
[HOPEFUL] Convince yourself that your eyes just need some time to adjust, it will get better.

*30 minutes later*

[ANGRY] Still blurry.

*2 hours later*

[ENRAGED] Tylenol Tylenol Tylenol.
[ENRAGED + HOPEFUL] Finally accept the fact that 3D just plain looks like shit, and take off glasses in hopes to just watch the movie normally.
[THOUGHTS OF GENOCIDE] Discover that things are now a different kind of blurry without the glasses.
[HAPPY] Close your eyes.

I’ve watched three movies in 3D by now, and they have all been disappointments. I’m now completely convinced that the 3D format as a whole is an epic failure. I will only be watching movies in regular/sane/meal-friendly mode going forward.

IMAX does not improve the experience with 3D, it magnifies the problem

The quality of picture in 3D is very dependent on the angles being correct. If you sit in the absolute center of the screen near the back, you may get an enjoyable show. Anywhere else will result in blurred vision in at least some portions of the screen. I would literally stare at one person on the screen, and if I turned my head a bit to the left, that person would become blurry.

Of course, it is physically impossible to stare at one portion of an IMAX screen because it is obscenely massive. 3D and IMAX were simply not designed to go together, and any notions that their combination results in a higher level of enjoyment need to be silenced immediately. 3D may be tolerable on its own, but when you double the size of your screen to the IMAX size, you double your epilepsy dosage for the day, along with the price of your ticket.

Sam Worthington should have played a robot.

Did anyone else find the main character’s emotionless-marine personality a bit dry for the storyline? I kept seeing scenarios where Jake was about to die, and I personally did not care one way or the other. I felt no connection with that character at all.

The lead woman did a great job though, I felt sorry for her since she fell in love with a robot (especially since robots destroyed her entire family and half her race). On that note, how did that happen, exactly? The first scene she interacts with him and says he has a good heart. What is that based on? He has shown no heart. It doesn’t take heart to fight dogs that want to eat you. It doesn’t even take intelligence. It’s called instinctual self-defense. Even neanderthals have it.

The circle of life in Pandora is actually a giant arrow pointing up

There are no small animals in Pandora. Everything is a giant pterodactyl or rhino. Did anyone stop to wonder what the hell those animals actually eat? And don’t tell me they are herbivores. All the giant birds were always trying to eat other giant birds, or the humans. Even the giant insect (what’s with all the unrealistically massive insects these days?) wanted to eat the aliens. The only time they stopped their carnivorous tendencies is when the Tree God Lady told them to stop eating and perform their sacred duties of turning into rides.

All in all, the movie itself was not that bad. In fact, I have a feeling if I watched it in a regular theater, it might have even been a great movie. Unfortunately, the 3D and IMAX combination ensured that my mind was too busy silencing thoughts of vomiting to actually pay attention to the movie’s storyline. Luckily, it was predictable as hell, mainly because it was based off of a children’s story:


I will summarize my experience by saying it was like eating a bowl of Campbell’s soup in jail. While normally you might enjoy a potentially tasty soup, the fact is you’re eating it while in jail so it automatically tastes like shit.

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