1) The experience is made more immersive
If you think of the best experiences you’ve ever had with 3D, when you forgot about the eye strain and the weird shifting lens focus they still do for some reason, and the smudge on your glasses from your greasy popcorn fingers, surely you can recall feeling much closer to the world within the movie than ever before. Just on a physical level, the image is designed to appear as if it is popping out of the screen. If you look at the auditorium seats for a moment, it appears as if the image is floating above the rows in front of you. You can’t help but feel like you’re closer to the action, in the best of times.
And that actually makes a big difference, experience-wise. It may not be as easy to detach yourself from the action and observe things the way certain types of movies are designed for us to do. The ones that employ lots of wide shots and long takes, these aren’t necessarily improved if we feel more like we’re in the same room with the characters before us. At the same time, this could make for a different kind of observation, the type we tend to do when we’re voyeuristically spying on people in real life. But 3D is most effective, right now, in movies where we’re meant to feel as if we’re one of the characters that all this crazy stuff is happening to. In Avatar, this is expressed formally, as the Jake protagonist is inhabiting this alien body, and we are meant to feel like we are inhabiting a body as well as we all experience the planet Pandora for ourselves. This is a powerful feeling that movies have been able to impart mentally and emotionally previously, but not quite this physically, which opens up a whole host of possibilities and potential.
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