In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_magnificent_seven_ver3

The Magnificent Seven

Rarely have so many charismatic actors been used in a film that feels quite as soulless as Antoine Fuqua’s update of The Magnificent Seven.

Thumb_age_of_shadows

The Age of Shadows

At 140 minutes, Kim sometimes loses the rhythm of his spy thriller, but he's such a confident filmmaker—and his leading man such a magnetic presence—that…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives

Reviews

Encounter In The Third Dimension

  |  

"Encounter in the Third Dimension'' resembles several other giant-screen IMAX releases because it's interesting primarily because of the size of the screen. The film packages a lot of material about 3-D movies into a goofy story about a scientist who wants to demonstrate his latest 3-D invention.



The story is pretty lame, and the info is familiar. Is there likely to be anyone in the audience who isn't familiar with the 3-D effect of the Stereopticon? (Children know it as the familiar ViewMaster.) Still, no doubt about it, the 3-D effect in the IMAX format and its cousin, Omnimax, is the best I've seen. That's because of the huge screen, which covers peripheral vision, and the oversize projectors that pump out a lot of brightness. The glasses, which resemble science-fiction headsets, contain shutters that separate the images for each eye; the result is truly three-dimensional, all right.

But the underlying problem with 3-D remains exactly the same as when "Bwana Devil'' and "House of Wax'' first hit the screen in the 1950s: It's unnecessary most of the time and distracting the rest of the time. The ordinary 2-D illusion of movies has long been accepted all over the world as an acceptable illusion of reality. The 3-D illusion seems used mostly to throw things at the audience. That gets old after a while. If the purpose of a movie's story is to absorb us, every exaggerated 3-D effect breaks our reverie and calls attention to the technique itself.

In "Encounter in the Third Dimension,'' we meet a professor (Stuart Pankin) who hopes to unveil his new gimmick, Real-O-Vision. He has enlisted Elvira ("Mistress of the Dark,'' the credits remind us) to sing a song in this new process, but she keeps getting interrupted as the machinery breaks down, and so the professor dispatches a flying robot named MAX (voice also by Pankin) to entertain us while he works on his invention.

The primary function of MAX, it goes without saying, is to zoom toward the audience and hang in mid-air, seemingly inches from our faces. Dr. Johnson once said of a dog standing on its hind legs: "It is not done well, but one is surprised to find it done at all.'' Watching MAX whizzing about, I reflected that it was done well, but, alas, I did not want it done at all.



Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

What are Your Favorite "Star Trek" Moments?

Writers at RogerEbert.com share their favorite "Star Trek" moments in honor of the original TV series' 50th anniversary.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus