Removing the wall – Les miserables, the hobbit, a 3d panto and 48fps

(some thoughts on 2d, 3d48fps and live panto with added 3d.)

So we went to see Les Miserables at the local world of cine on saturday evening. It was a 7 out of 10 film. We had been warned that Russell Crows singing detracts from his acting, that it does go a wee bit ‘Oliver’ at the barricades and that Catwoman is only in it for 30 minutes.

The main thing which struck me was the lack of connection or intensity. For a film which has the repution as the most cried at movie ever, there seemed to be a curious lack of connection. It had all the songs of the stage show, well most of them, it had good performances mostly. But seemed to lack an edge. My wife thought that was due to the actors being primarily actors, and not primarly musical theatre performers. I felt when we got the boys planning rebellion, my feeling was there was a jump up in vocal performance, which left me wondering if most of the boys had a song and dance background/recent training.

I seemed to be removed from the film and its action. That contrasted to my experiance at the Hobbit, earlier in the month.

LR_DWP640x960 The Hobbit is a long film in two acts, 1 – waiting for the dwarves, 2 – going halfway with the dwarves. Although I liked the cinemas attention to detail by giving us comedy oversized drinks containers to get us into the hobbitty world.

We decided to go see the hobbit in 3d at 48frames per second(fps). ::[[click here for a reasonably simple explaination of 48 fps]]:: This is how it was shot, and in places it was very engaging. It felt like at times you were actually watching a live theatre show instead of thevfilm. Mark Kermode compared it to the experience of taking down the wall behind the cinema and allowing for watching it live.

The wall had come down. the cinema had some of the power, look and feel of a theatre production. but a trip to see a show had the oposite effect. 3d built a wall for me at our panto trip.

We had secured some tickets to go see Jack and the beanstovk at the SECC starring the Krankies and John Barrowman. Yip i was there in the front row, when John Barrowman fell off his horse. The panto was fun, despite Mr. Barrowmans hospital trip about half way through. With him away it felt loose and clunky but a lot of fun.

Towards the end of the panto we were instructed to wear our 3d glasses for the next part of the story. Four main characters then pretended to run, climb, fight, against the background of a projected image of a 3d world. It was ridiculous. It looked awful. The 3d background lacked detail and at some point any perspective, (which is the point of 3d right?). The main 3d effect was that every so often a giant spider would jump out from the screen, to be right in front of your eyes. Judging by the screams this generated this effect worked.

For me this really distracted from what was going on. The idea of taking a live action play, and the adding 3d effects bizzarre. “lets stop the live action to add in some 3d’. At best it is gimmicky. It becomes an obsticle to engaging with the play. By stopping to put on glasses it becomes detached. A wall is built and you are removed from what is going on.

For me the interesting experience was definitely in the Hobbit, where the technology helped overcome some serious editing issues. It took a traditionally suspended medium, 2d movie, and gave a glimpse of being inside the created world. I would love to see a 48fps 2d movie and see ifthe effect is replicated by the frame speed. But I am still puzzled by the lack of intensity from my Les Miserables experience, and where along the easy scream factor to a detatchement form the live show, a decision that one outweighs the other was taken.

Technology. It can make some things fab, and in other situations it can distract and get in the way. Humans are just acrobats moving between wher the technology is.