Sunday, March 21, 2010

3D in the Tron Legacy Trailer

I just saw Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland in 3D, and it was negligible. Things happened onscreen, money was exchanged, and Tim Burton should be ashamed of himself. The most positive aspect of the experience was the trailer for Tron Legacy that played beforehand.

The embeded video above contains the footage I saw, but unfortunately I can't share the way it looked. Back in January I wrote about the use of 3D visuals in Avatar, and wondered what could have been had James Cameron chose to use the revolutionary visual technology as a true storytelling device; by matching Jake Sully's entrance into the avatar body with the introduction of 3D the audience could have shared Sully's newfound bodily experience through the style of the film. As with colour in The Wizard of Oz, 3D could have come to us suddenly and in such an arresting way as to capture the imagination of viewers for years to come. That didn't happen, but clearly 3D was a success that is here to stay regardless.

Now, with Tron Legacy, my fantasy of 3D being used as a tool instead of a gimmick has come true, albeit on a much smaller scale.

When you watch the trailer above you will see exactly what I saw in the theatre until about 1:18, when the white light shines into the camera and then the screen goes black. After that you will see the updated visual style of Tron Legacy, but you won't experience it like I did. That's because it isn't in 3D.

It may have only been a trailer, but I can't tell you how startling and pleasant the shift to 3D visuals was. Some may complain that it is jarring, but I felt that it brought the entire fantasy world to life in a whole new way. More so even than with Pandora in Avatar, which I merely saw in a movie that was shown in 3D. Here I felt the difference between my world and the fantastic one of the film, a feeling that is an integral aspect of the story itself, and the transition actually made the whole experience stronger.

I sincerely hope that this is a sign of what we will see when Tron Legacy is released, and of the level of technique that will be used in the approaching flood of 3D films. Avatar has come and gone, was what it was, and it has forever left its mark on cinema; this use of 3D gives me hope that the revolutionary visual technology may have a positive effect, and will be used well in better things to come. After sitting through Alice in Wonderland, I need that.

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