In 1992, at the tender age of 11, I went to see Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare with a cousin and an adult that might have been my cousin’s mother (I think). At the time, my viewing menu consisted of 80s action and horror films, and the Freddy Kruger saga was one of my favourites.
I remember very little about my childhood. Sometimes I can’t quite remember the massive amount of movies I saw. But I do remember seeing Freddy’s Dead. After all, the final showdown was in 3D, making it my very first 3D experience.
I remember being handed these little suckers:
Remember this? Made with thin cardboard and cellophane. The early years of technology…
I remember my excitement about seeing another Freddy movie. I remember my excitement when I put on those cardboard 3D glasses. Most of all, I remembered my disappointment at the end of the film, for the 3D sequence looked like those animated “holograms” in plastic school rulers that were so popular back in the days.
I think it was 1998 or 1999 when I had my second encounter with 3D technology. I was walking with my parents when we came across an arcade that advertised the first 3D game engines in the city. My father, being the geek that he is, asked me if I wanted to give it a try. And I, being the geek that I am, said yes without hesitation.
My first 3D game was Duke Nukem 3D. As I played the game, I was in awe of what I can now describe as the depth of field and my absolute lack of coordination. I was a terrible gamer back then.
Twenty minutes later, I was crippled by a paralysing headache. This was followed by a weeklong migraine and a deep desire to never see anything in 3D again.
My third 3D experience was Avatar. It was a James Cameron film. He created new cameras to shoot it. Sam Worthington was in it (he’s so damn cool). People who saw it before me told me it was life changing. I was so pumped I couldn’t contain myself. So I went to see Avatar with the parents and a friend to a Cinemark multiplex.
Cinemark uses the RealD 3D technology, which promises “crisp, bright, ultra realistic images so lifelike you feel you’ve stepped inside the movie”. As we walked into the theatre, we were handed the Buddy Hollies:
Not very comfortable but they sure look good!
As the movie began, I got a terrible nausea that later turned into a headache, and my eyeballs felt like they would pop out of their sockets at any second. For a moment I thought that maybe I was somatizing my disappointment from previous 3D experiences, until I saw my father also struggling with the same symptoms. By the time the movie ended, this is how I felt:
Which brings me to my fourth and latest 3D experience, Resident Evil: Afterlife. Confession time: I like Paul WS Anderson’s work and I’m not ashamed of it. I love Event Horizon. I thought Alien vs. Predator was entertaining. I adore Mortal Combat. I absolutely LOVE the Resident Evil franchise.
There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to see RE: Afterlife, but I fully intended to avoid the 3D version like the plague. So I set a day to see it with my cousin – the same cousin I saw Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare with –, but as destiny would have it, the only function we could attend to was in 3D.
So I mentally prepared myself for what was to come, expecting to personally and involuntarily recreate the scene from Scanners where that guy’s head explodes.
This time, we went to a (Colombian film exhibitor) Procinal multiplex that uses the Dolby Digital 3D technology that claims to be “the right choice for 3D presentations, combining an extraordinary 3D experience with cost-effective compatibility and flexibility”. And we got to use these big fellas:
It’s almost like wearing medical magnifying glasses.
After the most horrifying badly shot and narrated short documentary about Simón Bolivar, the man who brought independence from Spanish monarchy to many South American countries and whose name Chavez loves to tarnish , the film began.
To my surprise, there was no nausea; there were no headaches; my eyeballs remained in their place. I enjoyed the depth of field and the layering during action scenes. I finally enjoyed a movie in 3D. I finally got it!
RE: Afterlife was shot with the same cameras Jim Cameron used for Avatar. So, would I have enjoyed Avatar more if I’d seen it with Dolby Digital 3D technology? HELL NO! Because aside from the pain RealD 3D technology caused me, I thought Avatar was a beautiful piece of pure blandness and I never want to see it again.
But thanks to my good experience with RE: Afterlife, I trully can’t wait to see Tron: Legacy in 3D, but only in Dolby Digital 3D.
Dolby should be paying me for this!