Well, I know this film has been out for some time, But I did not see it until this past weekend. We went to the Regal Quaker Crossing 18 in Orchard Park NY. This theater has recently upgraded its capabilities to to RealD and digital projection. The theater was decent size and we sat about midway from the screen about 40 feet. The screen was new and had some wrinkles in it that were a bit distracting to the purity of the picture. The amount of light being reflected from the screen was very good. This was a lot brighter venue than most RealD theaters. I detected about a 20 % gain in brightness, which provided for a greater theatrical experience.
Now on to the movie. Monsters Vs Aliens was a lot of fun to watch. The film was entertaining and lighthearted. Its not going to win any Oscars, but it was very fast paced, had some funny jokes, and did not sing at me. It was not as strong as Dreamworks last film, Kung-Fu Panda, but this was a very solid entry into the kid friendly animated landscape. I was a bit disappointed that a film about monsters only featured 5 “monsters.” There should had been more secondary characters. In the film there is a huge secret facility. Its massive. You can see down tunnels and holding ares that look like they are going for miles, and yet its holding just 5 creatures.
Now on to the 3D. A lot has been said already about this film and how its the first time a movie has been made in “Tru 3D” Dreamworks created all sorts of new tech to control the depth and film in virtual 3D spaces as the animation played back in real time. The 3D stereo moments and the film overall was very well done. Your eyes will be overjoyed with the underused eye poking and very careful control of the screen plane. I was really impressed on how well and consistently the Dreamworks team kept the visual depth going without berating the viewer’s eyes with gimmicks. I was really impressed how well the character Bob held up in 3D. Shiny objects with lots of reflection refraction and transparency tend to fall apart in 3D because of how each eye see a different highlight.
However, Monsters Vs Aliens was not without its problems. First of all, the sequence in which Susan was running through San Francisco as Ginormica. The whole sense of scale was way off. She did not look giant at all. She looked like she was normal sized, and she was walking though a miniature set. The Dreamworks crew was trying to get a sense of scale here, but they set it up so that Ginormica looked nice, but this gave too much perspective parallax to the buildings and gave them a sense that they were not massive. By contrast when Susan starts to grow and breaks though the church at the beginning of the film, this was a great example of scale. She feels huge.
Now Dreamworks plans on releasing all future films in 3D, or what they call Tru 3D. I hope that they will take 3D a bit more seriously in the “Design” of a film. Its great to see “MvA” in 3D, but it really wasn’t designed to use 3D, it was designed to be shown in 3D. The key difference is how did the film embrace the medium and integrate it into its story telling? “Coraline” was a great example where the 3D helped to differentiate the real world with the fantasy world. In “Coraline,” the drab real world was flatter and the world of the witch was brighter and deeper in 3D. It was made to augment the story. Same with the “Polar Express.” The 3D version of that film is better because the 3D helped to make it feel more dreamlike. I suspect that Jim Cameron’s “Avatar” will do the same, due to what I have read about the film taking you into a new planet and otherly world environments though the main character’s avatars. This is what was lacking in Monsters, the feeling that the 3D was apart of this world. Maybe they could have made Susan’s regular life feel flatter and once she gained super powers it becomes deeper. Or more depth in the aliens ship. Etc
I really enjoyed Monsters Vs Aliens. Dreamworks has really stepped up and created a great 3D film. I hope they will embrace some of the home 3D options and release this film in a true 3D Blu-Ray format. I am so tired of 3D films only getting released in anaglyph for home.