One more moan before I start to look at the positives of the Monsters Vs Aliens experience concerns Samsung’s glasses. These are apparently going to cost the best part of £100, yet I found them to be disappointingly flimsy and potentially alarmingly easy to break. For instance, at one point they accidentally fell off my chair and onto my tiled floor, and the little battery on one side popped itself free. Needless to say, after this my three year old daughter wasn’t let within a mile of the things.
The lenses, meanwhile, aren’t fully enclosed, with their bottom edge ‘hanging in the breeze’, as it were. This surely greatly increases the chances of them getting damaged in some way.
Finally, unlike some of the 3D glasses I’ve experienced while watching films at the cinema, Samsung’s don’t have any top and bottom rear coverings on them to help shut out the world beyond your direct field of vision. This slightly reduces your focus on the 3D content, and lets light in behind the lenses to a degree that can become quite distracting if your room is lit by ceiling spotlights.
The good news about the Monsters Vs Aliens experience begins with the fact that the 3D effect is genuine, and at its best, really quite effective. And while there are occasions where it does just feel like an unnecessary gimmick, there are also times when it genuinely adds to the spectacle and your sense of immersion within the film.
Actually, with this immersive aspect in mind, it kind of makes me think that 3D might be at its most effective in the film world when showing live action stuff, rather than animated films. After all, there’s only so much immersive connection you can make with a film featuring a bunch of random monsters fighting a bunch of aliens with the help of a 50ft woman!
It’s also possible that as 3D techniques improve, 3D imaging could lead to slightly different ways of telling or at least showing a narrative. Though of course, this will only prove true so long as people start filming in 3D - like Avatar - rather than just remastering a 2D film into 3D to make a fast buck, a la Alice In Wonderland and the new Clash of the Titans film.
Of course, though, all of this philosophising about 3D’s potential might very well amount to nothing if the sometimes severe ghosting problem I’ve noted isn’t sorted out.
One other point about 3D that became clear from my Monsters vs Aliens experience is that its persuasiveness as a format is directly related to how big your TV screen is. If I sat as far away as I could from the 46in Samsung TV, for instance, the 3D footage looked ever so slightly odd - like a small window into another 3D world from my also-3D test room! But if I got up nice and close so that the picture filled much more of my field of vision, I found it much easier to be transported into the world on show, since there was so much less of my own reality surrounding it. If you follow me.
From this it follows that for me, 3D front projection is the way ahead!