January 20, 2016

Star Wars: Episode VII ~ The Force Awakens in 3D (or am I cross-eyed yet?)


Star Wars tickets
photo by Styrous®

Tonight I saw the latest installation in the Star Wars film series, Episode VII ~ The Force Awakens. It was an interesting experience for me on many levels that had nothing and everything to do with the actual film. The version I saw was in 3D. Special glasses were provided to experience the 3D effects. 

3D glasses
Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens
photo by Styrous®

I love 3D movies! I have since I saw the release of the first color stereoscopic feature, Bwana Devil, produced, written and directed by Arch Oboler. It starred, Robert Stack, Barbara Britton, Nigel Bruce, Ramsay Hill, Paul McVey and Hope Miller. The score was written by Gordon Jenkins who wrote the Broadway-style musical vignette, Manhattan Tower, and Seven Dreams; both were early concept albums. Bwana Devil was released on November 30, 1952.    
Bwana Devil movie poster, 1952

The advertising tagline for the film was:
"A LION in your lap! A LOVER in your arms!" 
How could anyone pass THAT up? I remember having a spear thrust at me from the screen and dodging to avoid it. I also remember I was cross-eyed when I left the theater and had a headache for hours afterward.       

Hollis Alpert of The Saturday Review wrote on March 14, 1953 . . .     
"It is the worst movie in my rather faltering memory, and my hangover from it was so painful that I immediately went to see a two-dimensional movie for relief. Part of the hangover was undoubtedly induced by the photography process itself. To get all the wondrous effects of the stereoscopic motion picture one has to wear a pair of polaroid glasses, made—so far as I could determine—from tinted cellophane and cardboard. These keep slipping off, hanging from one ear, or sliding down the nose, all the while setting up extraneous tickling sensations. And once you have them adjusted and begin looking at the movie, you find that the tinted cellophane (or whatever it is) darkens the color of the screen, so that everything seems to be happening in late afternoon on a cloudy day. The people seem to have two faces, one receding behind the other; the screen becomes unaccountably small, as though one is peering in at a scene through a window. Everything keeps getting out of proportion. Nigel Bruce will either loom up before you or look like a puppet. Sometimes there is depth and sometimes there isn't. One thing is certain: it was all horribly unreal." 
There is a famous photograph by Life magazine photographer J. R. Eyerman who took a series of photos of the audience wearing 3D glasses at the premiere of the movie. Notice all the men are wearing neckties; people got dressed up to go to the movies in those days.      

audience at the premiere of Bwana Devil
November 30, 1952 
Life magazine cover photo 
photo by J. R. Eyerman

Well, the 3D movie has come a very long way; Star Wars: Episode VII has brilliant color and the 3D effect is very, well, effective.       

I love things that knock my socks off. What did that for me in this film was the droid BB-8! When I first heard Rey use the name, I heard it as DV8 and thought, "What were they thinking????" But that little critter appealed to me on levels I've never experienced with any live actor. It was intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and artistically a total turn on. To say nothing of the cuddle quotient

Star Wars
Episode VII ~ The Force Awakens

The design of it is totally revolutionary because of a locomotion process I've never seen before; or at least that I never heard of. The art devoted to it was just superb. The sight of a rolling ball with a head that constantly remained in the appropriate position was a truly wonderful mind-blower! So my kudos to those who designed it.   

And I wasn't cross-eyed when I left the theater.

Styrous® ~ Wednesday, January 20, 2016



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