Yesterday Ruben and I went to the centro comercial (shopping center) Màgic in Badalona to see the film Avatar. We picked this location because they offered the XpanD brand LCD shutter glasses plus a “vibration system” in the seats. Both were “firsts” for me.
It was also the first time that I had gone to Màgic, which opened in October of 2008. It differs from other shopping centers in that it incorporates indoor karting, a gymnasium, a hypermarket, a restaurants, 89 shops, and a multi-cine with 14 screens. There are also basketball courts as Màgic is located next to the olympic stadium for Club Joventut Badalona, a popular and successful basketball team. There is a sign that says (in Catalan) “Badalona is the capital of European basketball.” Another plus is that Màgic is very transit accessible using the
Renfe FGC Rodalies commuter trains and the local bus system.
Of course I have been seeing 3D films since Bwana Devil in 1952. The LCD shutter glasses that XpanD uses mostly eliminate “ghosting” which is a problem with other 3D display technologies such as RealD. On the other hand, because the glasses are shutting out light half of the time, and are slightly dark to begin with, less light reaches your eyes. It’s like watching TV with sunglasses. I found the 3D effect very smooth, but the overall image a bit dark and lacking in contrast.
The seat vibration system is installed in both the bottom and back of the seat. It is effective, but could be improved if they had a separate “track” so that the effect was more gradually introduced rather than so abrupt.
The film itself is primarily an action-adventure journey of self-discovery, in the context of resource exploitation and biodiversity—hot topics these days. Adam Cohen of The New York Times called the film “a 22nd-century version of the American colonists vs. the British, India vs. the Raj, or Latin America vs. United Fruit”. Ruben said it reminded him of “Cowboys vs. Indians.” For me, I found the film somewhat predictable and overly long with too much “action”. I think it could be trimmed by half without losing much.
And then there were the special effects. Ruben was really impressed and wants to see the film several times to totally appreciate them. They didn’t impress me so much. Once you’ve seen CGI images they aren’t so awe inspiring the next time around. I just get bored when “action” and special effects seem to overshadow the other aspects of a film.