Secret immunity to 3D movies
|FEATURES - MOVIES|
Having two eyes won't necessarily lead to dropped jaws when watching the new wave of 3D movies...
“Please put your 3D glasses on now” appears on the screen; I wonder if one day seeing these words will be as commonplace as the film piracy or mobile phone notices. Perhaps in the not too-distant future ordering 3D prescription glasses will be commonplace as the world specs up for a relaxing night at home in front of the box. After years of trying to see magic eye or autostereograms, I finally gave up, but I am still not quite ready to call it quits on 3D films.
I remember the first wave of 3D – all those fold-out cardboard 3D glasses that came free in cereal packets. I can envisage wearing the glasses, folding the flaps around my ears and looking through the green and red plastic but somehow can’t actually remember watching anything.
"I was left wondering if watching your first 3D film is like losing your virginity – somehow less painful or pleasurable than you’d ever imagined"
Being pretty skeptical about the whole film and not particularly convinced by the trailers, I confess I didn’t bother watching Avatar in 3D – after all, I was only really seeing it to know what the hype was about and to avoid feeling left-out of conversations. Alice in Wonderland was a whole different matter and although I enjoyed the film, I wasn’t wowed by the 3D and, having heard the opinions of friends, I was left wondering if watching your first 3D film is like losing your virginity – somehow less painful or pleasurable than you’d ever imagined.
Over the last month, in various conversations, I have heard a whole array of theories about 3D – some using the Emperor’s Clothes story analogy and others believing certain cinemas might show a different quality of 3D. As it’s the thing of the future, becoming more and more widespread and I loved the original Clash of the Titans, I decided to give it another go.
Desperate to be a part of this 3D world, I feel like there’s a breakthrough during the Panasonic advert and after a painful sit through the Legend of the Guardians trailer, listening once again to the irritating heroic voice-over accompanied by feel good metal, announcing “You too could be a great guardian one day” followed by a choir of children singing, I’m ready to vomit or witness some butt-kicking.
Clash of the Titans 3D was more of an after-thought, jumping on the Avatar band-wagon in an attempt to replicate its success. Although Clash of the Titans didn’t cut it by equalling my nostalgic love of the original, its nonsense cliché-ridden script, ceaseless bombardment of macho-drenched action fight sequences and occasional successful use of special effects, make it a flawed but entertaining one hour forty-six.
"At least 12% of people have some type of problem with their binocular vision but less than five percent have severe visual disabilities, making appreciation of 3D tricky or impossible"
As for the 3D…what 3D? I tried to kid myself into believing it all looked so much crisper than any other film but in reality with my miserable aptly-named lazy eye and other overused, now short-sighted “good” eye, without further advances in medicine or a new brain, nothing will ever appear focused, with or without glasses. I may as well ditch the discomfort of wearing over-sized plastic 3D specs over the top of my second eyes and avoid the extra cost of going 3D.
To get the benefit of 3D and have normal depth perception, stereovision (otherwise known as binocular vision) is needed with two eyes that work together simultaneously as a coordinated team. At least 12% of people have some type of problem with their binocular vision but less than five percent have severe visual disabilities, making appreciation of 3D tricky or impossible.
I am part of this privileged five percent - this group of unfortunates who aren’t blind but have lost an eye or are medically diagnosed with amblyopia (“lazy eye”) or strabismus ("crossed eyes" or "wandering eyes"). As a child I was forced to wear a flesh coloured patch over my then “good” eye in order to try and force the lazy one to get on with it but being more of a fan of witches than pirates, the patch didn’t cut it and regularly “went missing”. Children with poor or dysfunctional eyesight during this critical period in childhood may grow up 'stereo blind' with permanent damage if their brains are not stimulated by stereo images during this crucial time – I am a living example of one such child.
"If anyone else out there, like I did, suspects 3D is a giant con then perhaps a trip to the optometrist is due"
For the 12%, two-eyed vision can be improved with supervised vision therapy. If anyone else out there, like I did, suspects 3D is a giant con then perhaps a trip to the optometrist is due. Developmental or behavioral optometrists can test and treat stereo vision. Age is no deterrent in treating the problem as the eye is made of neural tissue growing from the brain and thankfully the brain's amazing ability to change at any age enables vision to also change. That is if you are one of the semi-lucky 12%... As far as I’m concerned, from now on at least, I have the peace of mind to stop torturing myself over my inability to appreciate 3D, and will no longer experience the discomfort of being doubly specy six eyes.
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