Friday, January 1, 2010

Real-D or IMAX: The Avatar question

Many have asked me, "How should I see Avatar, in Real-D ('regular' 3D) or IMAX 3D?"

Though this question applies to any movie avaiable in both formats, I will speak about the subject as it pertains to Avatar. And the answer is obvious. Though there are a few caveats to be considered, the short response to the question is - You need to see Avatar in IMAX 3D.

There is a reason why they call it the "IMAX Experience", and it is because you aren't watching the movie when you at these theatres, you are in it! With the screen that wraps around the audience, and the sound that shakes the very seats you sit in, you participate in every scene, be it a casual conversation, a trek through the forrest, or a battle in the sky. The Na'vi already larger than life feel even more so, and you will get a real sense of their majesty and beauty. Sit up close if you are a seasoned 3D watcher, or a little further back if you are new, but choose this route for Avatar!

Now about the Real-D... There is no way around this, so let's just be clear about it. The 3D is considerably crisper in this format. After the movie, the eyes aren't red, or nearly as tired. The Na'vi look sharp and in some scenes they look so incredibly photo realistic, you will want to reach out and touch them. What's lacking however is the EXPERIENCE. It still feels like you're watching Pandora through a window, rather than being there. The sound while crystal clear, still feels like it's coming from the speakers. That incredible feeling of being on a distant planet is just not the same, and cannot compare to IMAX. Avatar is about being engulfed by the movie, rather than watching it, so even with the benefit of a sharper image, Real-D comes in at a distant second.

Like I said however, there are caveats. If you are taking your mom, who has never seen a 3D movie, you might want to consider Real-D, as I have heard some folks say they get nautious after watching 3D films. It will also save her eyes, and the lower volume will be gentler on her ears, which also may be better for the very youngest audience. The only other reason to pick Real-D is if all the IMAX shows are sold out, because one thing is certain. You cannot sit around and wait to see this movie on your TV in the newly renovated basemant; this movie must been seen in 3D on the big screen!

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