Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

At that moment, Nigel discovered that one of his legs had broken off.

So heading back to the foyer to get a new pair of 3D glasses, he missed a specially-filmed 3D intro to the above film featuring standard wise-cracking Disney robot Carl.

Being a 3D announcement, about the essential wearing of 3D glasses to get the 3D effect, Carl of course wasted no time in leaning all the way out of the screen and across the huge cinema until his giant head was hovering just in front of me.

You’re okay, you’re okay…” he rattled-off pointing at individual audience members somewhere behind me, until he got to Nigel’s empty seat next to me on my left, and told him off for wearing his 3D glasses backwards. I was gutted that Nigel had not actually been sitting there for this. But hey, he was outside, hopping mad.

Next up was a trailer for Tim Burton’s forthcoming The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3D. This didn’t look particularly spectacular in 3D, mainly because it had originally been directed for just 2D. Now it had been updated into 3D, it consequently lacked many deep-looking shots and things flying out of the screen at me.

I’m curious – can they update any old movie into 3D now? As Des Lynam might ask, how on earth do they do that?

The 3D trailer finished, and Nigel strode back in just in time for a bonus cartoon short Working For Peanuts featuring Donald Duck with Chip and Dale. This was first released during 3D’s heyday in 1953, and was nothing to write home about (should that phrase now be “nothing to blog about”?) but for the fact that its 3D-ness had rendered it somewhat unviewable ever since then.

Again I didn’t really understand this – I thought they used a different 3D system in those days, using coloured lenses? Ah well, it’s so nice when I don’t understand how a film has been made. It means that I can actually stop seeing actors, camera-angles and stuntmen, and instead just believe in everything like I used to when I was a kid.

After the Donald Duck cartoon, would you believe, they ran the exact same footage of Carl the robot a second time… and this time he looked straight at Nigel when he told him off! I wanted to lean over and whisper to him to behave himself, but figured he’d seen Carl address the empty seat next to him, so elected not to break the illusion for either of us.

Finally, the film started. Meet The Robinsons - Disney’s latest CGI animated feature.

Any suspicion that this was the Pultrich 3D system was quickly scuppered by the second scene. The Pultrich system requires the camera to be constantly moving. For this scene our point-of-view remained totally static for a couple of minutes, and as such it was utterly fascinating. It was possible to really scrutinise the two characters, everything on the table and everything behind them – it was amazing. I’ll go on the record and spell this out - it all looked so real.

Meet The Robinsons is a time-travel movie about a kid who goes to the future and gets trapped. It’s not very story-driven, but it does bombard you with gags and enthusiasm. The villain isn’t remotely threatening, being as he is such a complete fool, but who cares? The whole film leisurely chooses jokes over serious characters throughout, yet still manages to be gutting in places. The lead character’s back-story about his mother giving him up as a baby speaks volumes about our broken world in which there just aren’t easy answers.

The scene in which Lewis meets Will Robinson’s family just goes on and on forever, but is so surreal that I was absolutely enthralled.

Amazingly, it was also a time-travel story that for me actually held together. I’ve never liked it when a character goes back in time and changes the future (because it prevents their very act of change from happening) but if you can accept that character’s immunity to such effects, and read a reasonable bit into other characters’ memories over a long period of time, then it just makes it home. Apart from the sound of footsteps in the opening scene, which I’ve decided to charitably assume is simply not in its correct chronological place in the film.

Throughout, the 3D was so spell-bindingly great that by the end it had become normal, and ceased to look so impressive. Man, what a terrible criticism to make!

After the credits were over, Nigel and I remained in the cinema for a few minutes, and were pleasantly surprised to see the projectionist recalibrating his two projectors for the following screening. So on went our glasses again, and as one test image got moved around the screen while the other remained static, it felt like someone was reaching inside my head and shaking my brain up and down.

After some eardrum-wobbling speaker-testing too, the projectionist came out and had a chat with us, explaining that anything shot in HD could now be updated into 3D. I still don’t get why or how, but we had certainly had our money’s worth by the time we left.

9/10. Well done Disney. Stay clean.

Thanks to Herschel for heartily recommending this motion picture publication / franchise.

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