I don’t mean to look gift movie tickets in the mouth (does that make any sense?), but my friend Marie and I attended a showing of Robert Zemeckis’s mocap epic Beowulf for ASIFA-San Francisco members last night, and left without having seen the movie. For forty-five minutes, we and a few dozen other people sat in the theater, and never got more than three or four minutes of movie without crippling technical problems of one sort of another. So the projectionist had to start over–again and again and again.

During those few brief periods when we got more than about fifteen seconds of uninterrupted movie, it was blurry at best, and despite the fact that we were wearing 3D glasses, we couldn’t make out any dimensionality at all. (Marie and I are both glasses-wearers; it’s possible the 3D specs provided were a bad fit over our everyday frames.)

We wanted to see the movie–honest we did–but we eventually left, along with much of the rest of the audience. I’m not sure whether the showing ever got back on track…and if it did, how many people were left to see it.

The folks in charge of the screening weren’t very communicative about what was going on, so I’m not sure whether the woes related to the fact that the movie was in 3D, or whether gremlins had simply decided to muck up a screening that was designed to get some good buzz going for the film before today’s official release.

Looks like I’ll wind up paying to see this film; somehow, yesterday night’s debacle left me more curious about it. Has anyone out there seen it? Can you confirm that it’s not inherently blurry and generally hard on the eyeballs?

(Disclaimer: The blurry image below is a recreation for dramatic purposes.)

5 comments on “Blurrywulf”

  1. Hi harry, I was at the ASIFA screening last night as well. We stayed for the first 20 minutes of the film, and then the theater turned it off and told everyone to go home. Wonder if the same thing is gonna happen at other screenings of the film…

  2. Saw it last night projected flawlessly here in Michigan of all places. I can’t say that I see any point at all in making the film the way they did. As has always been the case, real acting would have been far more convincing than these wax dummies they gave us. Trying to recreate humans so closely is a waste of time and money when the real things are easily available and offer so much more than this kind of representation. What worries me, and obviously some animation houses as well (evidenced by the stamp at the end of Ratatouille that says, “Real Animation by Real Animators”) is that somehow people will decide that this is animation and treat it as such. The 3D worked fine for me though I don’t wear glasses. Zemeckis did what every other director of 3D films has done; made sure to throw things at the camera every so often to ‘wow’ the audience. You didn’t miss much, Harry.

  3. Hi Harry. I saw the film on Thursday night at a preview in Toronto. The 3D glasses fit over my regular glasses and the stereoscopic effect worked as expected.

    However, I think the film is a dud as a movie. I don’t see a lot of new films and if this is any indication of what passes for script and direction these days, movies are in a bad way.

    For me, the bad film making overwhelmed any problems with the motion capture.

  4. The screening I attended was properly projected, but I had a headache at the end of it. I love the fact that 3-D hasn’t progressed an inch since the 1950s. It’s still stuff coming at the audience.

  5. Hate ta break it to ya…and you probably already know this…but I stuck around about ten minutes after you left…when they finally got the damn thing working! It looked pretty spectacular…but the animation itself was pretty boring. Fun ta see it with a bunch of animators who start laughing every time the head got wobbly or the arms looked like crap.

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