3D Movie Reviews.

In April 1995, Lumiere Cinema in Perth, Australia had a 3D movie festival. In a fit of 3D madness I watched all of the movies and in a further fit of madness I wrote reviews of all of the movies too. The reviews cover both the plot content of the films in question and also comments on the technical quality of the 3D - filming, composure, projection, etc. The reviews were originally posted to the internet 3D mailing list "photo-3d".

The Program:

Fri 14 11pm  Spacehunter: Adventures in Forbidden Zone (G) 3D Rating: 5
Sat 15 11pm  Amittyville 3                             (M) 3D Rating: 9
Sun 16 11pm  Flesh for Frankenstein                    (R) 3D Rating: 5
Mon 17 11pm  Metal Storm: The Destruction of Jared Syd (M) 3D Rating: 5
Tue 18 11pm  Revenge of the Shogun Women               (M) 3D Rating: 7
Wed 19 11pm  Dynasty                                   (M) 3D Rating: 4
Thu 20 11AM  Starchaser: The Legend of Orin            (G) 3D Rating: 6
       11pm  Silent Madness                            (M) NOT SCREENED
Fri 21 11AM  Treasure of the Four Crowns              (PG) 3D Rating: 8
       11pm  Fantastic Invasion of Planet Earth        (M) 3D Rating: 7
Sat 22 11pm  Comin' At Ya                             (PG) 3D Rating: 5
Sun 23 11pm  Surfer Girls                              (M) 3D Rating: 3
Mon 24 11pm  House of Wax                              (M) 3D Rating: 6
Tue 25 11pm  The Stewardesses                          (R) 3D Rating: 5
Wed 26 11pm  Rottweiler Dogs of Hell                   (M) 3D Rating: 6
Thu 27 11pm  Friday the 13th, Part 3                   (M) 3D Rating: 10

The Reviews:

Spacehunter Poster

Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone

1983 [G] 90 minutes

A SciFi adventure about the rescue of three earth women whose escape pod landed them on a quarantined planet (the site of a viral outbreak many years earlier). Jack Wolfe is the typical odd-job-man of the universe and when he hears about the reward being offered for their rescue, is on his way. Soon after landing, Jack meets Nicki (a young Molly Ringwald), a native of the planet, who helps him with directions to find the women. They encounter all manner of weird creatures and humanoid factions and finally make their way to where the women are being held. The women are being held by a group headed by the Chemist - a half human half cybernetic weirdo. The ending scene was very reminiscent of "Max Mad 3 - Return to Thunderdome". Captives of the Chemist's group had to make their way through a killer maze of sharp implements to be set free (or die). Jack and Washington (a friend of Jack's who is after the reward too) save the women and they all live happily ever after.

Not many "let's point things at the camera" effects were evident in this movie. There was one scene where Jack points a space age gun at the audience, err... the baddie. Lots of laser gun and explosion effects which looked good in 3D but in general the usage of the 3D was good but average.
This was the first movie of Lumiere Cinema's 3D festival and I was particularly distressed when the movie started with about 15cm (6") of vertical parallax evident on the cinema screen. I felt like getting up and having a word with the projectionist or the manager or whoever would listen but I couldn't pull myself away from the movie - I didn't want to miss a second. Surprisingly this amount of vertical parallax was tolerable to the eyes so I decided to stick with it. I could feel the slight extra strain on my eyes though. Unfortunately no adjustment to the vertical parallax was made during the whole movie.

I spoke to one of the projectionists on the phone the next day who sounded concerned and I thought was going to do something but the next 3D screening "Amityville 3" wasn't any different (sigh!). I did find out that all of the movies will be screened in Polarised 3D (YIPPEE!) and Lumiere purchased their own 3D screen specially for this festival. They want to have more festivals in the future. All of the movies are on single reels either in the over-under or side-by-side format. This eliminates timing problems which could occur with two reel systems.

Amityville 3D poster

Amityville 3

1983 [M] 105 minutes

As you might guess, the third in the series of Amityville Horror movies. I haven't seen any of the other Amityville movies so I didn't know what to expect. The story centres around John (a Journalist) and The House. John buys the house for song soon after doing an investigative story for Reveal Magazine about a group of shysters using the Amityville House to hold fake seances. Working for Reveal Magazine, John is not one to believe all the ghost stories but the real estate agent is soon killed by a horde of flies in the house. The flies are a recurring theme in this and presumably the rest of the Amityville Movies. The journo's photographer and also his daughter eventually meet their end. In the crescendo of the movie, the house is monitored for psycho-physical activity by a university scientist and his team. The house decides it also wants John's wife and it calls her to the open well in the spooky cellar. The creature in the well gets the scientist instead and all hell starts to break loose. The house then starts to destroy itself with fire and explosions everywhere.

In contrast to Spacehunter, this movie had lots of things coming out of the screen (Not that this is necessarily always a good thing). The two best 3D effects in the movie were where the photographer's car crashes into a dumpster and a long pipe comes projecting through the cars windscreen. The pipe stopped just above the head of the person in front of me - great stuff! The other great 3D moment was when a stuffed marlin (fish with long spear on it's nose) comes off the wall where it was mounted and spears its way towards the movie's characters and directly out the screen. The guy next to me jumped to the side as it came out. Some of the scenes seemed a bit 3D strange, maybe the convergence distance was set wrongly, but it was a bit hard to tell without taking my glasses on and off and/or stopping the film.
As I mentioned before, this movie was also screened with massive amounts of vertical parallax (about 15cm (6")). I spoke to someone behind the counter after the show about the problem. He couldn't understand the problem since he had just watched the movie too and his eyes were fine. Anyway, I explained what the problem was and they said they'd have a look into it. I think I'll send the Manager a fax before my eyes get totally screwed.

Flesh For Frankenstein Poster

Andy Warhol's Flesh for Frankenstein

1974 [R] 97 minutes

What can I say... I guess most people are familiar with the usual story of Frankenstein. Well this one is with a twist of blood, guts, body parts and sex. Dr. Frankenstein (I don't think that's his name in this version - he was just referred to as the Barron the whole way through) plans to build a superiour race of human beings using only the best body parts from the best specimens he can find in the local village. In this version the Barron 'builds' both a male and a female specimens with plans for them to procreate and continue the superior race. Unfortunately the Barron's plan to obtain the head of a male stud who would want to procreate the species until the cows come home is ruined when he accidentally gets the head of a farm boy who isn't interested in women and wants to become a monk - so his plan is ruined. In quite a funny ending (in a sick kind of way) everyone dies - the Barron quite spectacularly with a spear through his guts which projects right out of the screen into the audience (with guts on the end of the spear).

There were quite a few good 3D bits (including the impaling of the Barron) however there were also a few attempts at making things come out of the screen which didn't really work too well. The vertical registration of the movie also varied quite wildly from scene to scene. If the projectionist was riding the manual vertical alignment control throughout this movie, he would have had a sore wrist by the end of it. Some scenes were really tough on the eyes but this may have been partly due to the chosen vertical adjustment setting of the projector - the alignment was pretty good at the beginning and in quite a lot of the scenes. (More on this later). The horizontal alignment also seemed to vary quite wildly too (I'm really getting picky now aren't I...) with quite normal shots being placed way out of the screen close to the viewer - I guess a bad choice of camera convergence. The movie loses a few rating points for these last two reasons.
As I mentioned the vertical alignment of this movie varied quite wildly from scene to scene throughout the movie. I think the cinema had chosen a fairly good setting but without the projectionist riding the vertical control on this one, this movie would never be perfect. I think I noticed the alignment being adjusted a few times. I spoke to the manager again after the show, he told me they were provided with test reels for some of the movies which I presume consist of a test pattern which is used to align left and right images out of the projector. But they didn't have test reels for all of the movies. Unfortunately, using this sort of method to prealign the projector won't work if the alignment changes from scene to scene throughout the movie. I explained that they shouldn't need an alignment reel to get the vertical alignment right. Unfortunately the horizontal alignment is not as easy and requires a bit of background knowledge. The manager asked if I could talk to the projectionist before tomorrow night's screening.

Metalstorm Poster

Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared Syd

1983 [M] 84 minutes

This movie was absolutely pointless. A pointless script, pointless scenes, pointless dialogue (when there was any) and pointless 3D. It is basically a scifi story about a futuristic ranger (I forget his name) who is out to destroy the evil Jared Syd. Why is he evil - who knows? There are incredibly long and pointless driving scenes - OK the first few minutes was good but after that it was pointless. The dialogue was sparse and there were some very slow, long and extended boring scenes (obviously trying to make up their time budget). And the really stupid thing is that Mister Jared Syd didn't get destroyed as the movie title suggests - just a big crystal which had some unknown significance. I wouldn't recommend this movie to anyone.

The 3D medium wasn't used very well at all. There weren't many scenes which looked really good in 3D and a few scenes where they had tried some special effect just didn't look right. The vertical registration also varied quite a lot throughout the movie.
The first few minutes of this movie was quite confusing. I think somewhere along the line the film accidentally got caught in a mix master and they didn't join it back together again properly: Driving scene, driving scene with flying vehicle above, flying vehicle shoots at car, car shoots at flying vehicle, flying vehicle hit and flies into side of mountain, driving scene, flying vehicle shoots and hits car, car stops, man inspects damage to car, man inspects wreckage of flying vehicle. I assume it was the same flying vehicle throughout the whole lot. Why was the flying vehicle shooting at the car - who knows... because he was bad? :-)

I had a chat with the projectionist before the show and got the low down on the alignment situation. The setup uses a standard projector with the only special thing being the lens. They have one lens for the over-under films and another lens for the side-by-side stuff. Unfortunately, it isn't possible for the projectionist to perform any alignment during the actual screening because it requires a little screw in the front of the lens to be adjusted with a small allen key which means that the projectionist's hand would be obscuring the projected image. Therefore the alignment must be done before the screening. Strike 1. They have three test reels which can be used to align about 50% of the movies. The test reel consists of a short loop of a test pattern which can be used to align the left and right images. It is my guess that the test reel doesn't provide the optimum setting for vertical alignment for some of the movies anyway. In any case they don't have test reels for all of the movies. Strike 2. For the movies which they don't have test reels I suggested that they just run the first few minutes of each movie through the projector to get some sort of alignment. Unfortunately, the film can't be reversed back onto the first reel once it has gone through the projector, therefore the whole film must go though the projector. Since there is only a 4 minute gap between screenings this is not an option. The only other option would be to perform the alignment after the last movie of the day (12:30am) or before the first movie of the day (10am). Not a very satisfactory option. Strike 3 - YOU'RE OUT!

I think the most logical situation would be to devise some mechanical arrangement which would allow the lens to be adjusted while the film is actually screening. I think I'll take this up with the company Lumiere cinemas rented the films from. In the mean time I'll just have to cross my fingers and hope that the alignment doesn't get too bad. A damn shame really.

Revenge Poster

Revenge of the Shogun Women (aka Revenge)

1983 [M] 98mins

This is a Chinese movie which has been dubbed in English. Lots of martial arts, sword fighting and giant leaps - a trademark of chinese martial arts cinema. Here is the background information from the beginning of the movie:

"In 18th Century China, bandit hordes roamed the provinces pillaging and plundering villages. Whole villages were decimated. Men, women and children slaughtered and the women raped.

"According to the social customs of the times, the rape victims, because they were no longer virgins, were sent to convents. Under the austere and knowledgeable presence of the Head Shogun Nun, these girls were taught the Revelations of the Budha and mastered the techniques of the martial arts. They became Shogun women capable of defending themselves and others from the bandit marauders.

(No I didn't remember this from the cinema screening - my memory isn't that good. I have a tape from 3DTV corp which has a short for this movie.)

Someone obviously told the people who made this movie that you needed to point something at the audience every 10.3 seconds to make good use of the 3D. Spears, swords, rocks, hands, poles, etc. Most of the effects were good but it got a bit too laboured after a while. One of the good effects was filming through one of those hanging bead curtains which are sometimes hung in doorways. Worked very well in 3D. Image alignment was again a problem, one of the images seemed to have a tilt with respect to the other image (maybe the cameras were tilted) and as a result the amount of vertical parallax changed from the left to the right of the image.
Dynasty Poster


198x? [M] 94mins

I thought that nothing could be worse than Metalstorm. I was wrong. I don't know whether it was just the late hour of the night, but I couldn't identify any resemblance of plot through this movie. I can tell you, however, that there was lots of sword fighting and martial arts again.

I could see the vertical alignment being adjusted throughout the movie. It wasn't being done by the projectionist so it must have been done during the mastering of the final print of the movie. As a result the vertical alignment was generally pretty good. The main technical complaint about the 3D within the movie was that sometimes the amount of positive/uncrossed parallax (things appear behind the screen) were too extreme. If you want things to appear at infinity they should be shown with 65mm of positive horizontal parallax on the screen (eye separation is approximately 65mm). The eyes can accept quite a bit more than that but too much and they go eeek! This was either caused by the wrong choice of convergence or having the cameras separated too widely.
The technical quality of the screening of this movie was horrid as well. For the first 40 minutes of the movie, the right eye was badly out of focus. The quality of the 3D was still pretty good though since the other eye was sharply in focus. You could see the hand of the projectionist as the focus was corrected. About 30 minutes into the movie the left and right images flipped. I guess the result of an incorrect splice of a film break. I told the theatre about this problem but they didn't know how to correct it. I just turned my glasses upside down. The rest of the audience (~30) didn't seem to notice - or maybe they did notice something wrong but didn't know what. The reversal lasted for about 30 minutes of the film. There were also massive chunks of film missing from the movie which caused massive story jumps. The beginning title was missing plus lots of other jumps. Maybe this is why I had trouble following the movie. The finale was badly affected by this too with three men fighting and then suddenly the fight is over and two of them are dead. Very disappointing.

Starchaser Poster

Starchaser: The Legend of Orin

1985 [G] 107 minutes

This is an animated 3D movie. The story revolves around a young man called Orin who lives and works in an underground mine world. The people live and die to mine a special crystal. The baddie of the movie is Zygon who is basically the underground peoples slave driver. Orin discovers a magic sword which tells of a magical world above ground. Previously the people thought hell was up. Orin escapes with the help of the magic sword and eventually returns (after a mini adventure in itself) to free his people. The movie is certainly full of plot - actually crammed full of story line. Personally I would have given the movie a [PG] (parental guidance) rating instead of a [G] (General) rating because there was a little bit of bad language. I was a little bit sensitive of this since I invited the boss to bring is son along to see the movie.

This was the first 3D animated movie that I've seen and it was pretty good. The multiple layering showing how the 3D scenes were made up was pretty obvious. The vertical alignment was pretty spot-on during the whole show. There were only a couple of 3D scenes which made good use of things coming out of the screen. In some scenes the animators got the depth levels mucked up and therefore a little bit confusing to look at. A couple were totally reversed. This movie also suffered from the problem of extreme values of positive/uncrossed parallax (things appear behind the screen). At my guess the uncrossed parallax reached a maximum of about 1 foot (30cm). My eyes complained about this a little bit.
The technical quality of the screening of this movie was flawless.


Treasure of the Four Crowns

1982 [PG] 97mins

This is basically an Indiana Jones type adventure movie where J.T. Striker (I think that was his name) risks his life firstly to recover the key and then two of the four crowns. The crowns (or actually what they contain) have all sorts of magical powers which could be used for the good of the earth (and not evil in the hands of their current owner). The first 20 minutes is totally devoid of dialogue and shows J.T. recovering the key from a booby trapped castle. Almost everything (excluding the kitchen sink) is thrown at J.T. (and the camera) to prevent him getting out alive with the key. The rest of the movie revolves around J.T. organising a motley crew of characters to retreive two of the crowns from the posession of a mad crazed pseudo-religious cult leader.

This is a movie with a message and the message is "DUCK!". Almost everything you can think of gets thrust at the cameras and almost every 3D trick in the book is tried. Some effects work better than others. I've come to the realisation that the best response to 3D effects can be obtained when it is combined with horror and suspence. If something spears out of the screen at the audience just at the moment their hearts are pumping at twice their normal rate, you are sure to scare some people out of their socks. This movie again had the usual problem of vertical registration changing from scene to scene. Depth and horizontal registration seemed to be set pretty well.
In the start of the movie you could see the shadow of the projectionist's hand making some adjustments to the lens. I didn't see any problems (apart from the wandering vertical alignment problem) so I'm not too sure what they were adjusting.

p.s. Last nights screening of Silent Madness was cancelled due to a blown bulb in the projector and not being able to get a spare. Doesn't entirely make sense to me, but that's what we were told. As it turned out, while we were waiting for the screening to start I bumped into Jon Orovitz (a member of Photo-3D from Washington D.C.) who was showing off his Realist slides. Jon read my original message on Photo-3D some weeks previous about this festival and since he was visiting Sydney, he decided to extend his visit to Perth. Some people will do anything to see a 3D movie - sheesh! :-) Including me. :-/


Fantastic Invasion of Planet Earth aka The Bubble

1967 [M] 91mins

Cathy is very pregnant and with her husband, Mark, are being flown to who knows where in a light aircraft. They land at what turns out to be a lit street and catch a cab to the hospital where Cathy has her baby. So begins a very strange movie. Mark, Cathy and pilot seem to be the only people with all their faculties in a very strange town which looks more like the back lot of a movie studio - all the people wander around in a daze usually repeating the same sentence over and over. After a week, Mark, Cathy and the pilot decide that it is time to leave this strange place but a short distance out of town discover a plastic wall which stops them going any further. A bit more exploring and they realise that the wall is actually a bubble which surrounds them and they are trapped. The story was generally quite slow moving and had a very sudden and unexpected ending which seemed very out of place - almost as if the money had dried up and the producer decided "let's finish the story".

There were a few screen piercing effects and most of them worked very well. In one of the scenes a tray of beer bottles and glasses suddenly levitates of its own accord and slowly glides towards the camera and back to its starting point. The effect really worked well but was totally out of place in the scene. Vertical registration again changed from scene to scene - max. about 15cm, min. zero. When I looked from underneath my glasses, infinity was generally shown with zero horizontal parallax (infinity appears at the screen surface).
Apart from problem of the vertical alignment continuously changing, the theatre seemed to have used fairly good settings for the screening of this movie.



1961 [PG] 91mins

This is a western about a bloke whose wife is kidnapped literally 20 seconds after they exchange their vows. The bloke's wife and lots of other young females are the captive of two bad dudes who take them all down to mexico to be sold to the highest bidder. Incidentally the married bloke and first bad dude I am sure were the two lead characters in The Treasure of the Four Crowns. (Sorry to be so general with names but I forgot to take extra note of the people's names). So the married bloke tracks down the two bad dudes. Captures one of the bad dudes and gives him a beating. He then tracks down the other bad dude and releases all of the young ladies. Skipping a lot of plot, the young ladies are recaptured and all killed except the married bloke's wife. The end of the movie is a classic western shoot-out where the married bloke, despite being outnumbered 30 to 1 saves his wife. The lead bad dude is killed in a series of spectacular explosions. How the married dude found the time to set up all these explosives is beside the point.

The movie has quite a lot of screen piercing effects (as the name suggests) but not as many as I had expected. Many of the effects didn't work very well however this may have been due to image alignment difficulties. Vertical alignment varied greatly between scenes throughout the movie - sometimes reaching approximately 15cm on the screen (I would however question the accuracy of my screen distance estimates). The movie also had serious amounts of positive parallax on the screen - probably about 60cm (2 feet) in some scenes. Sometimes the background scene was unviewable. This could partly be due the alignment of the projector however the amount of variation between scenes again suggests problems with the actual movie. The cheesiest part of the movie is that right at the end of the movie before the end credits they repeated all the 3D effects in a surreal sort of dream sequence.
The mysterious hand silhouette snuck in again during the movie. The projectionist was obviously trying to fix the alignment but I couldn't see much change but with the vertical alignment of the film actually changing so much throughout the film, he didn't have much chance. What really did require alignment was the horizontal alignment. The amount of positive parallax needed to be reduced (moving the image closed in depth to the audience) by movie the left eye image right and/or the right eye image left. Unfortunately such technical issues are beyond the average projectionist without any special 3D knowledge. I spoke to the Manager after the show but I think he had a bit of trouble grasping where I was coming from - besides, it was 1am in the morning. I think I'll try and dig up some documentation on image alignment (maybe something from Lipton's book "Foundations of the Stereoscopic Cinema") and fax the manager a copy.

movie frame


1978 [M] 85mins

This movie is totally weird. The cinematography technique was extremely strange with the entire film shot with a very narrow field of view lens, very strange choice of shots (very rarely did the camera stay on a person speaking for more than a few seconds), very weird framing (usually at the surfer girls breasts), numerous obvious repetitions of the same segment of film, etc, etc, etc. Deeply disguised throughout all of this madness I think there was a plot. The movie is set in Hawaii although it may as well have been in Africa since there weren't any wide shots. A group of Surfer Girls tell a legend about an old Hawaiian man called a Kohuna. He was a very randy old man who was hung for sleeping with the religious minister's wife on the night after their wedding (He was also the magistrate). To cut a very confusing story short, legend has it that the spirit of the Kohuna now lives at the top of a mountain and will grant wishes. The surfer girls go up to the mountain to have their wishes granted (and be seduced by the Kohuna). Really the only excuse for the plot of this movie is the bare flesh and sex scenes. :-/

This was the first movie in the side-by-side format and had a 4:3 aspect ratio (very much like television) instead of the very wide aspect ratio (maybe 2.5:1) of all the over-under movies. It is hard to not let the extremely bad cinematography of the film cloud my opinion of the 3D quality but I think I'd be fairly safe in saying the 3D quality was very poor as well. Vertical misalignment was pretty bad and again excessive positive parallax (things appear behind the screen surface) was a problem.
The movie finished about 25 minutes early. Speaking to the manager after the show, he said that one of the reels for the movie was missing. Truly I don't think it would have made any difference to the quality of the film. Again some of the alignment problems could have been reduced by some alignment of the projector lens but I can say this till I go blue in the face.

The fact that the image size was significantly smaller than the over-under films, I think has ramifications on the amount of image mis-alignment which the eye can handle. I suspect that the larger the stimulus (image size), the easier the eyes/brain will be convinced into making eye adjustments to correct for image misalignments. I visited a Professor Howard of York University in Toronto, Canada who is a vision researcher last year. Did you know the eyes are capable of rotating in their sockets (in the horizontal axis directly projecting out the front of your face) to correct for rotational image misalignment. Professor Howard had set up an experiment which examined this effect and found that the effect really only worked if the stimulus images filled a very large proportion of the observer's field of view. Reduce the field of view and the effect also reduced. The analogy this has to film is that the larger the image size, the easier the eye will be convinced into adjusting for image misalignment. This would be an advantage for IMAX-3D.

I noticed evidence of this effect in a scene from one of this series of 3D movies. The scene had quite a bit of vertical parallax and parts of the scene were being displayed with significant positive horizontal parallax. The scene faded to black and for a few moments the only thing visible was a kerosene lamp (the rest of the scene was black). While the rest of the room was visible, I could fuse the two images, however after the fade and only the lamp was visible (a very small stimulus) I had lots of trouble fusing it and it appeared doubled.



1953 [M] 88mins

Professor Jarad (Vincent Price) is a sculptor who specialises in wax models of people. Jarad and his business partner jointly own a wax museum but the business partner sees more money claiming the insurance money and lights a fire which burns down the wax museum. Jarad eventually takes revenge and kills his business partner. With the help of another rich businessman Jarad sets up a new wax museum (The House of Wax) which will focus on violent acts in history. Unfortunately, Jarad's hands were damaged badly in the fire and he is no longer able to sculpt. He has therefore taken to casting real bodies in wax to obtain the realism which he can no longer sculpt with his own hands. The movie is fairly slow moving but considering the vintage of the movie I guess this is to be expected.

This movie has very few screen piercing 3D effects and made very subtle use of the 3D medium. I've heard people comment on the paddle ball scene being out of place but I thought that it fitted in quite well. I didn't think the actual effect worked that well however with the ball frequently crossing/touching the window border. Additionally, I think the ball was moving too fast for the effect to work well. The effect which really did work well was when Jarad's assistant, Igor, dashed out from underneath the camera in the middle of a fight scene. It really did look for a few seconds as if he had run up and out from the audience. The movie was worth watching almost just for this scene. Again variable vertical mis-alignment and excessive positive horizontal parallax were a problem.
Again I feel that some of the mis-alignment problems could have been corrected by lens adjustment, but...

                ---> Sign the House of Wax 3D DVD Petition!!! <---


The Stewardesses

1969 [R] 92mins

I won't even bother to describe the plot in this one since there wasn't any. Maybe I exaggerate but really the only plot that was there was just to tie together all the sex scenes - which there were lots of. Nudge nudge wink wink say no more. 8-)

It was 3D but I didn't think it took good advantage of the medium, except of course for the curves. :-/ A few legs stuck out of the screen but that was about it. I suspect this print was in the side-by-side format because it again had the rather limiting 1.3:1 aspect ratio. Again lots of vertical disparity and excessive positive parallax were a problem.
I could say that projection lens adjustment could have corrected some of the alignment problems, but I'm starting to turn blue so I won't. The manager indicated that he thought there was a problem with the lens since they had problems getting the alignment right. I noticed several people taking off their glasses and exchanging them with their friends at the beginning of the movie - I guess because they were having trouble fusing the images. A couple of people took off their glasses and gave up completely but that could have been due to the content of the movie.

With regard to the polarisation, the quality has been impeccable throughout the entire festival with very little ghosting evident. I have often checked to see whether the theatre has got the polarisation for each eye at the correct angle and each eye at 90 degrees to the other. I do this by closing each eye individually and then rotating my head to choose the best extinction of the unwanted image. As I said the polarisation alignment was always very good.


(Rottweiler) Dogs of Hell

1982 [M] 90mins

This was basically Jaws with four legs. A pack of army trained rottweiler dogs escape and cause death and mayhem in a small town called Lake Lure. Lots of people die with the wipe of a dogs claw in what is basically a horror suspense thriller.

They seemed to be very held back in the use of the 3D effects in this movie. What is the point of making a 3D movie with a crumby plot and not make use of as many 3D effects as you can. I don't want to give this movie too much of a hard time as it still did have quite a number of screen piercing effects. Some worked better than others. I suspect some didn't work too well because of the camera lens separation being too wide. This was particularly evident in a driving scene where the camera was looking at the driver through the windscreen - It looked as though the steering wheel was about 1.5 arm lengths away from the driver. Again the vertical alignment changed quite a lot between scenes throughout the movie, however the theatre had chosen a fairly good setting. Initially the horizontal adjustment was pretty good too until the projectionist adjusted the horizontal alignment so that the beginning credits lined up (horizontally). Unfortunately I think the credits were supposed to be seen in front of the screen because this generated quite extreme positive horizontal parallax for anything which appeared at infinity. Luckily the projectionist adjusted the alignment back again a few minutes later. The alignment in some of the scenes was impeccable. At one occasion I took my glasses off, the scene looked almost perfect even without the glasses. Objects in the scene were predominantly at the convergence distance and the alignment was perfect. This movie appeared to be in the over-under format and again had the ~2.5-1 aspect ratio.
In a fairly irrelevant scene in the movie, I noticed a guy holding a stereo camera - a Stereo Realist I think. And the more I looked at the guy, the more it looked like Lenny Lipton. And it was even a speaking part too. I kept an eye on the credits at the end of the movie and sure enough he was listed as the 3D consultant for the movie. For those of you not in the know, Lenny wrote the book "Foundations of the Stereoscopic Cinema - A Study in Depth" which has been referred to quite a few times on photo-3d recently and heads the company StereoGraphics which sells and develops lots of stereoscopic video/computer graphics stuff.


Friday the 13th, Part III

1982 [M] 96mins

I guess this movie follows on from parts 1 and 2 but since I haven't seen any of the others, I don't know. Basically a group of college types spend a weekend at the farmhouse at which (I guess) horrible things happened in the two previous movies. A guy, whose head looks as though it has been microwaved, gradually kills about 8 people in various gory ways. Just one girl survives (the one from the previous movie) in a highly suspense driven ending - one of the audience of about 100 people actually screamed. :-)

The movie had quite an interesting start for a 3D movie - it was in 2D. An announcement at the beginning of the movie said "Ladies and Gentlemen: The first few minutes of this movie is in 2D. You will still need to wear the glasses". I guess the reason for this was that they were showing the last few minutes of the previous movie which was obviously shot in 2D. The effect was quite intriguing when the scene finally sprung into 3D. It had most of the audience humming.

I thought this was the best projected, filmed and composed movies of the entire festival. I might be biased by how well the movie was projected but genuinely the movie had a lot of very good eye popping effects, quite literally! :-), and even the general scenes were very well composed and the 3D effect was quite remarkably natural. As I said, the alignment was very good throughout the movie. The screen piercing effects which they used worked very well too - pitch forks, hands, eyes, etc.
You might be all starting to think that I'm obsessed with the idea that 3D movies must have screen piercing effects. That is not the case, however I do believe that if you have got all that real estate available, you may as well use it. You must admit that the scenes which affect the audience the most are usually the ones where images project out of the screen. But the effect needs to be done well and I think the scene/effect should fit quite naturally into the plot. It is quite interesting to watch normal 2D films and notice how many of the scenes would look really good if they were shot in 3D. Quite a number of screen piercers as well. Screen piercers don't need to be the ultra obvious spear thrown at the camera. Some quite natural and subtle things can work very well too.

Well that was the last 3D movie of the festival and the last of my reviews. I hope you've all enjoyed the reviews as much as I've enjoyed seeing them - some of them classics. Finally after two weeks of getting home at 1am I can return to a normal sleep pattern - Halleluiah. Lumiere plans to screen more 3D movies in the future, but at the moment they say that they will probably be one offs. At least that won't have such a severe effect on my sleep pattern. Stay Tuned!

Andrew Woods.

See also:
* The Illustrated 3D Movie List
* 3D Video Equipment

Last Updated: 19th May, 1995
Maintained by: Andrew Woods.
Copyright 1995.