Friday, 18 May 2012

Underworld: Awakening 3D

This is the first time that I've actually sat down and watched any Underworld movie so I'm not particularly up on the whole mythology of the franchise. Overall, I enjoyed this movie although I did find the ending quite abrupt. These days, films can often be criticized for being too long, but Underworld Awakening, I feel could have been 20-30 minutes longer. The production design and special effects are spectacular and there are some great action set pieces. I might add here that what I liked about this movie was that it wasn't wall to wall action, it had good pacing and there were plenty of quieter moments where the characters and storyline could develop. How's the 3D though I hear you ask? Well, with Underworld:Awakening, I feel that we are getting closer to that 3D nadir, but there are still a lot of inconsistencies. If I drew a diagram of the 3D narrative presentation in this movie it would go something like this from start to finish....

2D--->2.7D--->2.8D--->2.9D--->3D (Jackpot)...followed by 2.8D--->3D--->2.7D--->2.8D--->3D etc etc.

It was very inconsistent. It looked like the 3D was cranked up mainly for the action scenes, which is odd because 3D works just as well (if not better) for slower, intimate moments (see Chris Parks speech below). The Lycan and Vampire fight scene in the Lair was a good example of when the 3D was cranked up but although the 3D look excellent and deep here, ironically, because of the faster editing, our eyes had less time to actually enjoy the 3D effect. This fact fuels the argument that 3D shouldn't just be cranked up for action scenes because quieter scenes work just as well and also, our eyes have more time to take the 3D in. One scene that illustrates this was when the camera panned around Eve just before Thomas appeared to speak to her. This gave us a lovely sense of  the spatial depth of the lair and really added to the scene as we felt present at this emotive encounter. There were several other quieter moments, where the main characters were just talking and walking around the Lair, and the 3D made you feel as though you were there, with them, as part of the clan. 

With regards the evolution of 3D and its proper usage, I feel we are slowly getting there, but there still needs to be more consistency where the 3D quality is maintained throughout. After all, who would want to go to see a movie where the colour scheme kept changing from bright and vivid, to dull and more monochrome? I don't think I would. So why should it be OK with 3D? Keep the 3D depth consistent throughout each movie and let us enjoy 3D as it is meant  to be enjoyed....with proper depth and great pop-out.

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Exclusive Interview: UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING's James McQuaide, Exec Producer & Visual Effects Supervisor