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

RogerEbert.com

Thumb spiderverse poser

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman have breathed thrilling new life into the comic book movie. The way they play with tone, form…

Thumb beale street poster 2

If Beale Street Could Talk

Jenkins’ decision to let the original storyteller live and breathe throughout If Beale Street Can Talk is a wise one.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb tvovw7qjj63zbqw5tz8cjpthaud

Schindler's List

This was published on June 24th, 2001, and we are republishing it in honor of the film's 25th anniversary rerelease."Schindler's List" is described as a…

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.

Advertisement

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...

The Baffling Failure of Fallout 76

A review of Fallout 76.

Video games can never be art

Having once made the statement above, I have declined all opportunities to ...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus