Sunday, January 8, 2012


Most movie technology is wasted on me, as we all know. I've suffered through various bombastic Sensurround, THX, and Dolby Digital sound systems over the years (often with my hands over my ears). And 3D? Oh, please. With the exception of Cave of Forgotten Dreams, which really made a case for a deeper field of vision, I still think of 3-D as a cheesy gimmick from the '50s. It doesn't do anything to enhance a mediocre movie, and a good movie would be just as good—if not better—without all that distracting visual clutter.

("They probably said the same thing about talking movies, once," my friend Michael scoffed at me when we were debating this point. Damn right; if I'd been around in 1927, I would've been one of them! Of course, by now, sound is integral to the storytelling process onscreen (she admits, grudgingly). But not so 3D, not by a longshot.)

However, I have to say even I am impressed by the new digital upgrade that went on over at the Nickelodeon and the Del Mar during the holidays. They managed to make the conversion to all-digital projection and sound pretty seamless for the public, only canceling a few matinees here and there to get the new equipment in.

I assumed a technologically-challenged lay person such as myself would never even notice the difference, but boy, was I wrong! I was amazed at the crystal-clear quality of the image when Art Boy and I popped in last week for a matinee of Young Adult upstairs at the Del Mar; even the pre-trailer commercials were bright and vivid. Speaking as someone who used to work in a movie theater, I imagine it must get kind of lonely up in the projection booth without the comforting clattering of film sprockets, but it's good news for patrons who want to remember why they love movies on a big, beautiful screen. Check it out!

Big kudos to the folks at Nickelodeon/Del Mar for taking the plunge. At last, technology even a Luddite can appreciate.

(Above: Bwana Devil, 1952. The first but, sadly, not the last 3D movie.)

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