Beauty and the Beast 3D

Today is a special post since it’s the first guest submitted piece to be posted. Today’s entry comes from Jude Harrington, the very same Jude who introduced me to Sherlock! In this post he discusses his thoughts on 3D movies and the newly re-released Beauty and the Beast 3D.

This is more on the 3D experience than the movie itself.  First I should say that I have only seen this movie twice and both times was this week.  The first time was at home on Blu-Ray a week before the release of the 3D version and then at the theater the Saturday of the release. And I must say that it was well worth the experience of the big screen (however the cost was outrageous but this is for another time).  The main thing to say is that it confirmed my initial thought on 3D films which is that in order for it to work the film, or at least the design of it, must be made with 3D in mind.  Now, this is not to say that things must be flying towards the audience, although this can add to the fun. For example, there were some really good animated previews for new films such as, The Pirates: Band of Misfits, Brave and Dr Suess’ The Lorax (to be released in March and June 2012) and old films such as Finding Nemo.  It’s obvious why the first three work in the 3D format and I think the reason Finding Nemo works is that it was originally created using digital animation so some sense of 3D is already built into the film.  Another trailer to consider is Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 3D (to be released on February 10, 2012).  Here is another example where 3D is inherent to the film in that it is a live action film.  This is not to say that it translates perfectly but the depth created by 3D does not look foreign to the film.

With that said we shall move to Beauty and the Beast 3D.  In some scenes the 3D was really well done and in others it was just awkward.  The awkwardness stems from the fact the the film was and, despite the 3D, is still 2D animation. In the past 3D films would literally jump off the screen and it seemed like a floating head in front of you.  Today this still happens sort of, but the 3D effect is better thought of as more depth as in the back of the screen is pushed back.  Here is what makes 3D problematic for Beauty and the Beast.  For the majority of the film what it seemed like I was watching was layered cardboard cutouts.  So imagine being able to look at the seen from the side.  What you would see is very thin cardboard or paper layered with then background pushed the furthest back, the next element is closer to the audience and so forth. It is the same thing that one would do would if they were to put on a play with cardboard cutouts. So while depth is added the image still remains flat. If you take the same thought experiment for Star Wars and Finding Nemo (looking at it from the side) you would find that the characters (especially in Finding Nemo since this is how digital animation actually works) will not be flat but three dimensional.  There was two standout scenes which was when Cogsworth slide down the banister and the point-of-view was the knife and the grand scene where Belle and Beast were dancing together. Specifically when the camera starts above the chandelier moves around it and down to the couple. This scene and that moment truly felt like a 3D film.

Final thoughts.  This is not to say that it was a bad film or experience.  In fact, after seeing it on the big scene it became one of my favorite Disney films.  The 3D did add a little to the experience but overall seeing it on the big screen is what truly made it a worthwhile venture.

-Jude Harrington

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