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Avatar - 3D or not 3D? That is the question.

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31st May 2009 15:21  #1

Intergalactic Ponce Member Join Date: April 2005 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 1,151
Avatar - 3D or not 3D? That is the question.
Having just read that Avatar will be presented in two different aspect ratios, (2D will be Scope and 3D will be 1.85) at James Cameron's insistance, I'm left wondering which format should I choose to be my first viewing.

I ask this as I firmly believe that first viewings of films matter. Imagine your favourite film. Got it? Okay, now imagine that when you first saw it, it was out of focus and/or the print had an annoying green emulsion scratch down the middle of the frame. Chances are your favourite film would not be your favourite film as that first experience of it would have been compromised and spoiled.

My concern with Avatar is that should I watch it first in standard 2D (Scope), letting the story and characters stand on their own and then  follow it up by seeing it in 3D for the 'spectacle' of it? Do I want the 3D experience to distract me from the story by seeing it in 3D first? Or do I say, to hell with that, and have my first viewing be in 3D?

I know there are bigger problems in the world right now and this is not a 'real' issue but reading the article on the aspect ratio's did get me thinking about this?

What do you all think?

Scope 2D or 1.85 3D?

31st May 2009 15:58  #2

Jersey Jedi Member Join Date: August 2004 Location: United States Posts: 714
If James Cameron comes out and say "This film is meant to be seen in 3D", that's how I'll seeing it. Plus, 3D has really come a long way from the "coming at YOU!" conventions that made it seen as just a "spectacle'. Probably the best examples were Coraline and Up, which really only used the 3D to draw you into the world they created.

31st May 2009 16:04  #3

Disciple Member Join Date: April 2006 Location: Sweden Posts: 765
I say you watch it in 2D/scope first. If you watch a film in 3D, the 'spectacle' of watching it in 3D sometimes makes it feel like it's a better film than what it is. If you see it in 2D first, you know how good or bad you thought it was and you can then determine from that wheter or not you want to see it again, in 3D.

31st May 2009 18:36  #4

Kozinski Member Join Date: June 2006 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 235
As far as I've read Cameron wants you to see this in 3D - the 2D version is probably for the theatres that can't support 3D.

31st May 2009 20:54  #5

Intergalactic Ponce Member Join Date: April 2005 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 1,151
I want to see it in 3D but this is a film that will predominantly (in the short term at least) be seen (in cinemas and the home) in 2D and will have to stand on the merits of the story not on how it looks in 3D.

Seeing it in it's 3D glory will be fantastic I'm sure but we will have to get used to it in it's 2D form for the majority our viewings until 3D technology in the home becomes affordable to the masses.

I think it's an interesting dilemma and one that we've not had to think about for a film of this scale and expectation.

16th June 2009 6:58  #6

Worst Nightmare Senior Member Join Date: July 2002 Location: Australia Posts: 6,706 Send a message via AIM to Worst Nightmare Send a message via ICQ to Worst Nightmare Send a message via MSN to Worst Nightmare Send a message via Yahoo to Worst Nightmare Send a message via Google to Worst Nightmare
If the director makes it for 3D then that id the way to go - especially for Cameron's films...

16th June 2009 19:44  #7

Nic_Mall Member Join Date: September 2005 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 91
2D. I'm not paying £1.50 extra every time "for the experience" when the whole thing was thought up to stop piracy.

18th December 2009 7:46  #8

Intergalactic Ponce Member Join Date: April 2005 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 1,151
Saw this Wednesday at the 20:45 show. Went 3D for the first viewing and I needn't have worried. The 3D in my view isn't the 'WOW' that industry types are reporting neither does it distract (the glasses) from the viewing experience as I first feared it would. I think seeing it 3D ads about 10% to the overall experience.

Don't get me wrong, the 3D, as far as 3D goes in films is great. It's not in your face all the time, its more of an additional depth that works well with Cameron's constantly moving camera. When I say moving, I don't mean Greengrass moving so no worries there. This is envronment establishing movement.

If you've seen any films, sci-fi or otherwise, the story will fels familiar but the way its presented is the reason you should see this on the biggest screen with the best presentation. I was fortunate enough to see this at th Odeon Leicester Square and they didn't let me down for my first viweing.

The 12 year wait for a new Cameron film has ben worth it. My head was still feeling the effects of visiting Pandora the day after. In a good way.

18th December 2009 14:10  #9

Chris Gould Editor Join Date: May 2001 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 7,104 Send a message via ICQ to Chris Gould Send a message via MSN to Chris Gould Send a message via Skype to Chris Gould
As a tech demo it's a wonderful piece of work, but as a film it was merely okay. South Park nailed it with Dances with Smurfs.

18th December 2009 15:42  #10

m@tt Member Join Date: October 2007 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 551
Empire magazine gave it five stars so it has to be good. It will change the way we watch films forever apparently. lol.

19th December 2009 3:51  #11

Jersey Jedi Member Join Date: August 2004 Location: United States Posts: 714
Loved it.



How's that for adding to the discussion?

19th December 2009 23:25  #12

C M Member Join Date: February 2005 Location: United States Posts: 149
Avatar - 3D or not 3D? That is the question.
Intergalactic Ponce wrote: Do I want the 3D experience to distract me from the story by seeing it in 3D first?

That makes no sense. Why would the 3D experience make the story any less important? It just adds to the experience but it doesn't hinder you from making your opinion on whether the movie's story sucked or not. Example: FD4.

20th December 2009 14:30  #13

Intergalactic Ponce Member Join Date: April 2005 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 1,151
I probably didn't explain myself clearly. Prior to seeing the film (back in May when I posted) my concern was that faffing around with the glasses and watching for the 3D effects would distract from paying attention to the story.

After seeing the film, I needn't have worried as the 3D was subtle and not the distraction I thought it was going to be.

I had seen UP in 3D inbetween posting and seeing Avatar and I was quite unimpressed with the 3D to the point that I could happily have seen it in 2D. I found I was dipping my head/glasses up and down questioning whether it was in fact a 3D presentation. That's the sort of distraction I was hoping to avoid on my first Avatar viewing.

I don't believe the 3D aspect of Avatar is giving the film that much extra above it's 2D version. It'll certainly be more immersive than the 2D version but I don't think I'll like the film any less in 2D. Over the next few weeks I will try to see it again in 3D at a regular multiplex and in 2D just for the sake of comparison.

Story and character are most important. 3D in Avatar's case is like adding shadows on the ground cast by space ships flying by, or lens flare. These are real world artifacts applied to unreal visuals to help sell them as fact.

I'm giving this too much brain time aren't I?

20th December 2009 18:05  #14

Jersey Jedi Member Join Date: August 2004 Location: United States Posts: 714
Intergalactic Ponce wrote: I'm giving this too much brain time aren't I?

Why else would we be here? Happy

20th December 2009 19:13  #15

m@tt Member Join Date: October 2007 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 551
Intergalactic Ponce wrote: I probably didn't explain myself clearly. Prior to seeing the film (back in May when I posted) my concern was that faffing around with the glasses and watching for the 3D effects would distract from paying attention to the story.

After seeing the film, I needn't have worried as the 3D was subtle and not the distraction I thought it was going to be.

I had seen UP in 3D inbetween posting and seeing Avatar and I was quite unimpressed with the 3D to the point that I could happily have seen it in 2D. I found I was dipping my head/glasses up and down questioning whether it was in fact a 3D presentation. That's the sort of distraction I was hoping to avoid on my first Avatar viewing.

I don't believe the 3D aspect of Avatar is giving the film that much extra above it's 2D version. It'll certainly be more immersive than the 2D version but I don't think I'll like the film any less in 2D. Over the next few weeks I will try to see it again in 3D at a regular multiplex and in 2D just for the sake of comparison.

Story and character are most important. 3D in Avatar's case is like adding shadows on the ground cast by space ships flying by, or lens flare. These are real world artifacts applied to unreal visuals to help sell them as fact.

I'm giving this too much brain time aren't I?


Story and character are most important? Avatar is not your kind of film then. I suspect a lot of critics who heaped praise over this film will look a bit stupid once the novelty of these improved CGI effects and 3D have worn off. Dialogue made me cringe and it's way too long.

20th December 2009 21:44  #16

Intergalactic Ponce Member Join Date: April 2005 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 1,151
Yeah, I did think about that when writing. I've put emphasis on story being important and that still holds true but I think because the story unfolds sort of, how shall I put this, as you might expect, I was left to take in the visual side of things without engaging brain too much.

I have to say, I am a Cameron w***e (I've even met him) but I do have to accept the films short comings.

There were shots that evoked Titanic going up at the back end. There was a shot of Jake clambering over a ship near the end that was extremely similar to one in True Lies (with the Harrier). The Amp suit, despite all its tech isn't as cool (sorry to use the word cool) as the Power Loader. I could go on but as I said I'm a fan so I'll cut the film more slack than most.

Although the film is long I didn't feel that it dragged. Would I like to see an extended cut? Yes, as long as the humans get a bit more screen time (if such scenes exist). If that means we lose some of the Na'vi stuff to compensate then so be it. Can't be specific on what might be lost though. If it could come in with a similar running time with a change of empahsis over to the human characters (give them a few more scenes) then that could be a good thing. Although the Na'vi stuff is the stuff people are responding to and is the films strength, if its decreased it might give the effect that it's 'throw away' whenever we go back to the Na'vi world. Obviously that is financial madness as all the money has been spent creating Pandora but seeing lees of it might benefit the plot. I'm not a screen writer though so I don't know.

Human characters were all one note although I did enjoy Giovanni Ribisi's character. I got the impression that we only saw each characters 'greatest hits' though as far as their scenes went.

Expected more from James Horner's score. The music is growing on me but I'm having to put the effort in. There is a theme there but it doesn't grab you like cues from Aliens, Battle Beyond the Stars or Krull, or Braveheart or....I could go on.

Why I like the film though is that for all it's faults, I felt, going in, a sense of anticipation not felt since being in my late teens (around '87 & '88) and that feeling held true throughout the film. I haven't had that feeling going into a film for probably as far back as then.
I like Avatar because it reminded me of a time long since gone and I love Avatar for bringing that feeling back even if only for a few hours.

Pretty gooey eh? But that's how I felt last Wednesday.

For the past 12 years I (like a lot of others) have been trying to imagine what Cameron could follow Titanic with. For me, Avatar is not a failure or a disappointment. Avatar is not perfect but I wouldn't have missed it for anything.

4th January 2010 9:43  #17

BoBoi Member Join Date: June 2005 Location: Australia Posts: 1,109 Send a message via MSN to BoBoi Send a message via Yahoo to BoBoi
I was pretty underwhelmed by this. I mean the visual effects were amazing. But as far as the screenplay goes, it's fairly mediocre. It's like Pocahontas in space, pretty much.

I do get why this makes a lot of money internationally though, I mean the story is simple and easy enough to captivate normal folks, I mean you don't expect complicated war film like The Hurt Locker (which by the way is a much superior film) to reach the same group of people or gross anywhere near Avatar. Which is sad.

But the fact that I didn't like Avatar is not all that surprising since I've never been a fan of James Cameron to begin with. I only like The Terminator and T2, I really hate Titanic and I thought it stole L.A. Confidential the Oscar it richly deserved.

As far as Sci-fi films go this year, I like District 9 and Moon much better.

And yes, I saw Avatar in IMAX 3D.

4th January 2010 11:01  #18

Disciple Member Join Date: April 2006 Location: Sweden Posts: 765
Well, i loved the movie. I get what you're getting at, the Pocahontas angle and the overall derivative story, but I still loved it; thought it was one of the most amazing  movie going expericences of my life; watching it in 3D.

Avatar just passed the one billion dollar mark worldwide btw and will soon overtake Return of the King and Dead Man's Chest to become the second highest grossing film of all time behind Titanic. (which also happens to be directed by Cameron. Wink)

9th January 2010 12:51  #19

Intergalactic Ponce Member Join Date: April 2005 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 1,151
I could be wrong but I'm sure there is a CG shot of Jake/Sam W. in the film. Obviously his avatar is all CG but I believe Cameron has sneaked in a full head shot of Jake as he does his first piece to camera/log. It's the sort of thing 'they' do to see if anyone notices or if it sits between actual live action shots without calling attention to itself. The shot in question did stand out to me as a CG test shot and I'm sure you can check it out if you trawl through the many behind the scenes featurettes on You tube for example.

There's a very brief shot in the second trailer at about 1m05s that shows what I'm yabbering on about.

15th January 2010 22:14  #20

RayRubio Member Join Date: January 2010 Location: United States Posts: 1
Avatar is a great visual experience
and Cameron made it in a way so it
can be seen great in 3D. If i had
a choice of buyin a 2d or 3d, i would
go for 3D with this movie, though my
decision would have been different
with another movie.

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