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Why 3D movies have become the real thing

By September 11, 2009Newswires

Why 3D movies have become the real thing
3D`s promise of immersing audiences in the action makes inroads at the box office.
by Garry Maddox

AS A flagbearer for a new era in cinema, Carl Fredricksen could hardly be more unlikely. He`s a 78-year-old curmudgeon who uses a walking frame, wears a tweedy old suit and eats dinner at 3.30pm.

As the star of Up, the latest animated movie from Pixar – the studio with an unblemished record of hits from Toy Story to Wall-E – Fredricksen is a classic well-rounded character in two ways. Not only is he a touchingly grizzled figure who, after the death of his beloved wife, finally takes the adventure he has craved since childhood, he is also coming to cinemas in 3D. The format, long scorned as a gimmick, is not only back but becoming more mainstream as some of Hollywood`s finest embrace it.

The goal is movies that seem more "real" by adding a third dimension – depth – to the viewing experience. You can still watch the traditional 2D version of Up, but for a few dollars more – which includes a pair of disposable 3D glasses – there is an extra sense of being immersed in the action.

Up and James Cameron`s sci-fi epic Avatar are the biggest titles in a wave of 3D movies breaking this year. If they can convincingly take audiences into imaginary worlds – make them feel like they`re "in there" rather than just watching – something fundamental will change in cinemas.

Hollywood`s most vocal spruiker of 3D, the DreamWorks Animation boss Jeffrey Katzenberg, believes we are seeing the third great shift in cinema history: from silent films to talkies, from black and white to colour and now from 2D to 3D.

Pixar`s 3D expert, Bob Whitehill, says it`s like going from a filmed version of a play to watching the action live on stage.

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