My wife and I are not the kind of older people that yell at kids to get off our lawn.  We don’t preach that mono on vinyl is the best music is ever gonna sound.  We don’t cherish VHS players and we don’t think black and white TV’s were good enough.

We like cooler stuff in our entertainment.

That’s why we recently purchased one of those new giant 3D televisions.



Okay, I admit we probably belong to that group of people who like to buy things.  We like to shop and research the latest gizmos.  It’s possibly an artifact of the hunting instinct that thousands of years ago gave humans the sense of satisfaction from slaying a woolly mammath.

Maybe we just love the smell of new plastic and black cables bundled together with twisty ties.  Maybe we love the sight of Styrofoam blocks all over the family room carpet.  We definitely love to point at each other and laugh about how ridiculous we look in 3D glasses.

Being boomers, we’re both old enough to remember when things like hula hoops and jukeboxes and drive-ins were still common sights.  Or going to a neighborhood movie theater on a swelteringly hot summer afternoon to see 3D re-release spectacles like House of Wax or Creature From the Black Lagoon, and then wearing the cheap red and blue glasses outside to chase after friends shouting “IT’S LIKE I CAN TOUCH YOU!!!”

Well, maybe that was just me.



These days it’s mainly the animated stuff in 3D.  That’s because you don’t really need to go out and buy super expensive 3D cameras to film them.  They just punch in a piece of code that creates virtual cameras that costs almost nothing.  Studio heads don’t have a coughing fit about making animated movies in 3D, and that’s why every animated blockbuster is coming out in 3D nowadays.

But I’m not a five year old who enjoys watching talking cars.  Call me paranoid, but when I see sentient machines roaming a barren Mad Max-style landscape, the healthy fear of technology I gained from ’80s movies like Terminator kicks into high gear.



However, I don’t have any problem getting into the gimmicky stuff because it’s always fun for things to pop out of the screen at me.  3D has it’s pros and cons though.  It can make really bad movies worst than you thought they could be.  A lot of modern horror movies are being released that hold absolutely no interest for me.  I don’t want to see the tortures of Saw in 3D.  That would be about as much fun as watching rape porn at a nursing home.  That‘s bad in a whole new unimaginable way.

One of the biggest complaints cinemaphiles have about 3D is that they think it takes them out of the story.  Most movies rely on suspension of disbelief and it helps to feel like the world on screen is real for a couple of hours, but when a hatchet flies off the screen and makes you flinch, that feeling gets ruined.  They don’t want 3D to come into their world.  They want the movie to pull them into it’s world.



If some crazy film buff wants to summon a sodomy demon out of the depths of hell to cast a thousand years curse on three dimensional cinema, well that’s their business.  But I’m not buying into it.

Think of landscapes.  If you’ve ever been to some grand natural attraction like Yosemite or the Alps, you might have noticed your crappy snapshots fail to capture the magnificence of the real thing.  Part of that is that you’re a bad photographer, and part of it is that the grandeur of looking at the real thing comes from depth.  That’s what makes it feel so big, that your two eyes are telling you it goes on forever.



In the same way, 3D one-ups a traditional movie when showing a vast landscape.  It could be a forest of skyscrapers or majestic mountains or floating islands or a dragon flying in and out of crazy rock formations.

Instead of shouting “HEY LOOK IT’S 3D,” you just follow the main character’s flight, like you’re used to doing in many movies, only with 3D the main character actually has somewhere to go, because the scene goes deep beyond the screen.

Last night, my wife and I watched Avatar on our new television, and unlike a lot of retrofitted 3D attempts, this movie was actually shot with those super expensive 3D cameras.  People may bicker about how shitty the story was, but they have nothing but praise for the 3D visuals.  Even people who thought it was a piece of shit thought it was a beautiful piece of shit.



The storytelling is basically Dune, Dances With Wolves and Pocahontas badly glued together, but it almost doesn’t matter because of what you see.  Maybe it was the decade James Cameron spent between Titanic and Avatar trapped in a metal bubble filming starfish in IMAX, that he hasn’t gotten travelogues out of his system yet, ’cause with this movie he takes us on a tour of a completely imaginary, mind-bendingly gorgeous world and it’s feast for the eyes.  Seriously, just watch this in 3D and try not to violently defecate in your pants.



My only complaint with the movie concerned the Colonel Quatrich character, and it mainly consisted of me asking why I couldn’t be as manly as that guy.  He was so masculine that just looking at him made me shrivel in my recliner.

Actually, I shriveled because the 3D was so advanced it seemed like Commander McBadass was actually coming off the screen and was sitting in my lap rubbing his big strong hands down my back and feeding me popcorn.



This hardcore cripplepuncher was basically itching for an excuse to wipe all those giant blue kitty thundersmurfs off the planet with his massive gunships and gun-toting, knife wielding mechwarriors.  He had guns and war and explosions.  He was takin’ care of business and workin’ overtime.  I loved it when he kicked open the air-lock, thereby endangering the lives of EVERYONE inside the compound, and came out, guns blazing without his oxygen mask.  The hell with sissy shit like “breathing,” he’s kicking ass on those blue suns a’ bitches.

Then we had to sit through some gentle, furry romance.  It was the Titanic plan all over again but at least we didn’t have to stare at girls in corsets crying on a ship.  I‘m cool with that.  You want your action and spectacle, you gotta finish all the romance on your plate first.



Then we get the final battle between Jake, the blue kitty princess, and the Colonel, riding in one of his mechs.  When he loses his gun, he pulls out a mech-sized bowie knife to keep fighting and jumps into a ‘gonna cut ya’ stance.  The action sequence is pretty kick-ass, and I was able to forgive the fact that the blue kitty princess gets the actual killing blow, and the fact that, as I saw it in 3D, there was a giant frickin’ arrow shaft sticking in my face.

3D television gets a big thumbs up and hearty toast of coffee to Colonel Quaritch.




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