Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Avatar, IMAX 3D

Scarlet and I saw Avatar this evening. We went all-out and saw it at the IMAX theter at the AMC multiplex at Cupertino Square.

I was under the misinformed impression that IMAX movies were shown on domed theaters. This theater was just like any other theater I've been in in the last year. I thought perhaps the screen was a bit bigger, and the aspect ratio looked to me to be more square.

As for the 3D part, that doesn't really do anything for me, because my left eye doesn't really work. I've always had trouble with 3D movies. 3D movies are universally designed to present slightly different images to each eye. The first such systems attempted to do this with red and green colored gels, and systems in the 80s and 90s used LCD light shutters to present alternating frames to each eye. Both of those systems really sucked for me. The colored lenses wound up giving me nothing but green, and the alternating frames just halve the frame rate, effectively, which just introduced unacceptable levels of flicker.

Invariably, whatever glasses they hand out for such presentations are required, otherwise your eyes see both images, which results in horizontal blurring.

Well, I'm happy to say that for the first time, I was able to watch a 3D movie without any of the problems I've had in the past. The new systems use simultaneous projection of light with different polarization. So long as I kept the glasses on, it looked, well, just like any other movie does. Occasionally, the polarization didn't exactly meet up and I saw a faint ghost of the view for the other eye, but if I adjusted my head slightly, I could minimize it.

Meanwhile, Scarlet said that the 3D effects in the movie were amazing. She felt like things were flying towards her, like she could have caught them. I was a little envious. But it's a little like listening to tetrachromats describe what they see. If you don't see what they see, it can't really be properly described.

The movie was good. It can, however, be rather fairly described as Pocahantas meets Halo.

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