On Saturday night I went to a movie theatre for the first time in almost six months. Amazingly, I managed to emerge without seeing a single depiction of or reference to torture, farting, genitilia, stoners, profanity, or anything else vile and repulsive. I saw Beauty and the Beast, the Disney Animated version from 1992, in 3-D.
I give Beauty and the Beast two thumbs up. It’s a very well-done fairy tale, closer to the spirit of the great Disney films of the 40’s and 50’s than anything else they’ve done in the past generation. The jokes are sometimes funny, the music is generally funnier, the writing is sound and the characters are well-developed. The good guys are genuinely good and the bad guys are genuinely bad. The story elemenets, which expand on the classic tale, are arranged intelligently and hte pacing is good. This last comes as a particular surprise when compared to modern filmmaking, which seems to be entirely shaped around the needs of the ADHD generation. In movies these days, everything is always happening fast, and filmmakers never take the opportunity to linger on a quiet room, a peacefuls woodland scene, or anything else.
I give 3D a definite thumbs down. Before Saturday I had never seen a movie in 3D, and afterwards I hope to never do so again. At it’s best, the 3D adds nothing at all to the viewing experience. Most of the time it’s a horrendsou distraction that took me right out of the story. Most of the scenes with a 3D element had the characters in the foreground in front of a painted background. This only made it painfully obvious that the characters were very two-dimensional andlooked like cardboard puppets dancing around in front of a cardboard backdrop. Worse, in many cases, the objects in the foreground appeared to have ridiculous placement and proportions. In the ballroom scene the audience at one point looks down from above, with a chandelier in the foreground and the floor and walls behind it. The perspective makes it look as if the chandelier is miles high, whereas in the original 2-D version it appeared to be at exactly the right height. Similarly in the castle’s front entrance hall, there’s a staircase in which the lower part sticks straight out at the viewer, appearing to be the length of a football field. In the original it looked just fine.
If anyone from Hollywood chances to read this (yeah, right) here’s my advice. Give up on 3D, and make better, more tasteful movies, and you’ll be more likely to get me to the theatre.