Why 3D Movies?

There was a time, back in the late 00s (if that’s what you call the time between 2005-2010?) that some movies were also being released in 3D. And for some reason, I chose to watch many of these movies in 3D. It wasn’t until James Cameron’s Avatar was released that we learned what 3D could be. I watched Avatar in theaters at least three times (once in IMAX 3D).

I’m going to break up this post into two distinct periods of 3D:
Pre-Avatar (before December 18th, 2009)
and Post-Avatar (after December 18th, 2009).

Pre-Avatar: Watching 3D movies was great. Back when I was a kid some movies were released in “3D Vision,” which meant wearing some goofy red and blue glasses. Most of these usually featured some type of gag where a character might throw something at the audience (as seen in Muppet Vision 3D at Walt Disney World, multiple times).

In the year 2005, we saw the beginning of the 3D BOOM! In 2005, the number of 3D movie releases wasn’t that crazy, but each year it continued to grow — exponentially. By 2009, most of the big box office releases were converted into 3D — most likely for bigger box office revenue (3D tickets cost a few dollars more). People were watching these movies in 3D because we didn’t know any better.

Welcome to Pandora

Post-Avatar: At the very end of 2009, Avatar was released. The 3D in Avatar was a totally different type of 3D. James Cameron created some new future-Japan cameras that would create an immersive experience (especially in IMAX theaters). Whether the movie Avatar was good or not, it definitely pushed 3D technology forward. (The world is still waiting on that James Cameron Aquaman movie, starring Vinny Chase — #ReleaseTheCameronCut!).

From that point on most studio movies were released in 3D. 3D televisions became a thing in people’s homes — people were sitting on their couch with goofy 3D glasses on while watching TV. 3D versions of Blu-rays were being sold. And of course, every Marvel movie had a 3D option.


For a while I thought, I guess I have to watch everything in 3D now. But at some point it was too much, I made a choice. I had decided to only watch movies in 3D if they were filmed specifically for 3D — not converted to 3D in post-production as an afterthought. I also began thinking this way of IMAX movies, Was it filmed with IMAX cameras? Anything Christopher Nolan is usually filmed with IMAX cameras.

In recent years, I thought 3D movies had mostly gone away — or maybe I had been avoiding them? Then of course, the theaters shut down for most of 2020 and some of 2021 (thanks to the pandemic). The other day when picking out tickets for Black Widow and the return of the MCU to the big screen I noticed they had a 3D showing. We went with IMAX (non-3D), but it was weird that the 3D was in a normal, small theater.

We’re now at a point where it’s not about 3D, it’s about IMAX, DOLBY VISION and DOLBY ATMOS (big sound). However, James Cameron is back in his movie lab creating the next two big Pandoran Adventures, Avatar 2 and Avatar 3. And when these come out, in an even more immersive 3D I feel like the film industry is going to go through another 3D renaissance, but let’s hope that’s not the case.

I feel like a 3D experience is a fun treat when it’s a rare treat. When watching content in 3D becomes a normal occurrence you barely even notice it. That’s what made Muppet Vision 3D at Walt Disney World so special for all of those years (they even have the added 4D parts where they spray you with water, plus the theater gets wrecked throughout the movie). When everything is in 3D then a ride on Star Tours becomes less special.

So, let’s keep 3D movies to special occasions. Christopher Nolan has his IMAX movies and let’s give James Cameron 3D and cool ocean documentaries.

Bingeing vs Weekly Release

Remember when Netflix first started out and was basically just Blockbuster* sent to your house? Then Blockbuster created their own video mailing service, with the option to return movies to your local store so they could send you the next one even faster than Netflix. It sounded like a great idea, but where is Blockbuster today? They gone…

When Netflix first began creating original content they decided that the best way to release its newest series was to dump full seasons on us. At first it was a neat idea. There weren’t so many new shows, so you could watch them at your own pace.

Today, Netflix has multiple new shows, movies and documentaries dropping each and every week. It’s too much! Their formula is to let everyone make anything they want (which is good for creators). However, it can become a problem for consumers because there’s so many things to watch. Also, when you are making that much new content it can’t all be good, and most of it is not.

For every great Netflix show (Stranger Things, Ozark, Bojack Horseman) they also give us 100s of not so great shows (The Ranch, Marco Polo, Iron Fist). They also have given cancelled network/cable shows a new life, but they’re also hit or miss.

The Netflix formula of releasing shows all at once is way too overwhelming for me. I prefer to get one episode at a time — one a week. That’s the way it’s always been. I don’t mind waiting a week to let my mind process what I’ve seen. In fact, I prefer it. If I watch a season of a show too quick it just becomes one big ball mush in my brain.

I don’t think I would have enjoyed The Mandalorian Season 1 and 2 (on Disney+) as much as I did if I watched it all in a week or a day. I also enjoyed staying up late on a Thursday to check if it was out yet, and it wasn’t. For season 1, I woke up early for work most of those Fridays and watched the episode in bed before getting up and starting my day.

I’m also excited for WandaVision to be released weekly on Disney+. The first two episodes were released at once, and it was exciting to get one hour of this new strange show. It also gave me time to rewatch it and research what people thought was going on. When a show is released over time it also gives your brain time to come up with theories about what’s happening and where the show is headed.

I don’t really mind bingeing Reality TV shows. Just let me get it in and out of my system. It’s sort of like a mindless detox from good TV shows that is sometimes needed. It’s good for a day when you may be too tired or hungover and your brain can’t handle any story or plot. Instead you find yourself judging trashy people on some dating battle royale show, like Love Island.

Back in college, I recorded my weekly shows on VHS tapes with my VCR. Back then you had to watch it live, record it or miss it forever. Later on, I moved to DVR. Back then if an episode of a show was accidentally deleted it was time to let the entire show go, at least until there was another way to watch it. When OnDemand came along, you got a second chance to catch something you may have missed.

I do love that I can watch my shows any time and anywhere today. Yes, there may be way too many places to watch things and too many things to watch in each place. So much time is now spent figuring out what to watch vs actually watching shows. I’ve searched for something new or something I’ve wanted to watch, but by the time I find it it’s too late, so instead I watch an old favorite. I can binge a show I don’t really care about, but if it’s something I’m really into I enjoy watching it slowly with no distractions.

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*For the young people, Blockbuster was one of many video rental stores (see also Hollywood Video). Instead of renting movies straight from your TV provider, iTunes, YouTube, Amazon or any other digital service, people used to go down to a Blockbuster and hope that they had whatever movie they wanted to rent in stock. If they didn’t you would walk around the store and look for something they did have. It was sort of like scrolling through streaming services looking for something to watch, but in real life.

Take Me Back (Back to Batuu)

The first time I visited Batuu (Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge in Walt Disney World) was back in October of 2019. It was a day trip* and I couldn’t wait to go back. I didn’t have to wait very long, by December we made another day trip to Batuu. I was also able to go for a few hours in January of 2020, but it was too crowded and I got rained on, so I decided to come home early. That was my last trip to Walt Disney World.

MY STAR WARS STORY:
I didn’t grow up a huge Star Wars fan. I wasn’t really exposed to Star Wars until the Prequel Trilogy (Episodes I-III), which I watched in theaters. In middle school, a friend tried to show me the original trilogy and I didn’t care for it. I was more into silly comedies and buddy cop movies back then. (Some of my favorites included The Big Hit starring Markie Mark and John Leguizamo’s The Pest and of course, Face Off with John Travolta and Nick Cage).

It wasn’t until hearing about J.J. Abrams’s new Star Wars Trilogy that I decided to sit down and watch all six films. I thought, “Hey, this dude made me think Star Trek** was cool again!” I enlisted my best friend (who wasn’t really into Star Wars either) and we watched all six movies, about one per week. This time we really got into them.


Side Note: We did take one week off to watch an indie movie, The Way, Way Back which ended up biting us in the butt. It must have been after watching Empire. In one scene some kid is playing with some Luke and Leia toys and making them kiss, and someone yells, “Gross! They’re brother and sister!” Of course, this was already public knowledge, but I guess we had forgotten since we were currently watching everything for the first time. We both screamed out, “Aw, spoiler alert!” even though it was about thirty years, too late (that’s on us).

It wasn’t just the Star Wars films that got me excited, I immersed myself in the universe with The Clone Wars (which I’m re-watching now in order of events) and Rebels. I even have read a few of the Star Wars comics and books (Lords of the Sith, Ahsoka, Phasma and some others). I love the art of Star Wars, and all the amazing fan art. I even recently bought the twenty-two pound Ralph McQuarrie art book that has been in my Amazon cart for a few years. I woke up early on Friday mornings to watch the latest Mandalorian episode on Disney+ before going to work.

I may have become a fan of everything Star Wars a bit late in life, but I have become a big fan. I love that we’re now able to travel to Batuu. We can have a drink at Oga’s Cantina. We can pilot the Millennium Falcon, which I did and even got to warp us into light speed. I still haven’t been on Rise of the Resistance, which brings me to the point of this whole thing.

A NEW BATUU:
I planned to visit Disney with my girlfriend for my birthday, back in March. However, my birthday happened to be about a weekend or two after Disney World decided to close due to the pandemic. I know that they are opened right now, with limited capacity and lots of new rules (which makes complete sense). And, I hope that Disney is able to set the example of how to reopen such a large place during this pandemic.

I am a Walt Disney World Passholder and I want to go back as soon as possible. I had definitely planned to go for my birthday and at least one more time before the summer blackout took place. I just don’t want to go to Disney during a pandemic. I don’t want to have to wear a mask while I’m there and only be able to enjoy partial experiences of all the things I love.

The great part about visiting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is going to a new planet, Batuu. You’re able to let go and not worry about what’s going on in the real world for a few days. I definitely don’t want to travel to another planet (Batuu) and have to deal with COVID while I’m there. I’m leaving my current planet (and galaxy). I would hope that COVID hasn’t traveled that far.

The whole point of going to Galaxy’s Edge is to get lost in your own immersive Star Wars experience. The cast members are all characters, playing a role. I don’t want COVID to taint that experience. I don’t want to ride Smuggler’s Run with my mask on. I don’t want to get on Star Tours with a giant piece of glass between me and the rebel on board. I want to have a normal Disney experience, and I feel like it will be some time before that is possible. So, for now I will continue watching, reading and listening to all the things that take place in a galaxy far, far away.

* I call my first two visits to Batuu a day trip because we drove up early in the morning, spent part of the day in Epcot and the second part in Galaxy’s Edge, before driving all the way back home when the park closed.

** I do remember watching Star Trek: The Next Generation sometimes as a kid, and not really getting it. So, I guess I already thought Star Trek was kind of cool?

Congratulations!
If you stuck around unitl the very end, you now get to enjoy this…

I can’t wait to go back to a time where hugging Chewbacca is ok…

DOGS @ DISNEY

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This past week I realized something. I haven’t been to Disney in a long time — like three or four months. That isn’t very long to a non-Florida resident, but when you’re only three and a half hours away, that’s a long time. After opening my 2017 with four or five visits to Disney, it feels like I haven’t been there in half a year.

My pass is “Blacked Out” during the summer time, meaning I’m not allowed to use it from June to mid-August. And that’s fine, because, “Who wants to go during to Disney during the summer when it’s so hot and crowded,” which is something all Silver and Gold Passholders say. I do intend to return to Disney some time this month or next, definitely for Food and Wine (a.k.a. Food and Lines Festival, because all you do is eat food and wait in line, for more food).

In my last visit to Disney, some time in April or May, I noticed something. I saw a blind person with their guide dog. At first I thought, Aw, cool. That dog gets to go to Disney, but later I thought about all of the other dogs. The ones who don’t get to go to Disney, and that made me sad. Plus, this dog who does get to go to Disney doesn’t get to enjoy any of it because he or she is at work.

Imagine a dog in Disney. A free, non-working dog in Disney. They would love it. But, the only dog that gets to go to Disney is one who doesn’t get to enjoy it at all — the service dog. They walk their owner back and forth and all around the parks, and have to wear a huge sign on their back that basically says, “I’M NOT HERE!”

It’s nice that some dogs get to have jobs, other than filling our hearts with joy and loving us forever no matter what. Some dogs get to be police, others get to be mascots and still others get to be basketball players (Air Bud). It’s cool that guide dogs are helping out a blind human, but it’s probably a depressing life for the dog. And why don’t any of these dogs get paid for their work?

Enough about equal wages for dogs, let’s get back to dogs at Disney. It’s also sad that the dog owner doesn’t get to truly experience Disney either, since they are blind. They just get to walk around and listen, but they don’t get to fully experience the attractions. The rides must be terrifying when you’re blind, everything must feel like space mountain.

It’s too bad that the only dogs that will ever get to enjoy Disney parks are Pluto and Goofy, and both of those are humans in sweaty dog costumes, because this is Florida and it’s super hot every day except for maybe one or two days of the year. I’m not even going to get into the fact that Mickey owns a dog while also being best friends with a dog.

Also, why are there so many ducks in Disney? Ducks get to enjoy the parks, terrorize the children for leftovers and eat all of the fallen turkey legs, ice cream and garbage people leave behind. The ducks are like the biker gang of Disney Parks. So, the ducks are allowed but man’s best friend has to stay home while we go visit the happiest place on Earth.

Stoner Tendencies

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Last night, I went to see Disney’s Zootopia with my BEARica. We walked into the dark theater and it was filled with moms and their horrible children. How do I know these children were horrible? The one behind me kicked my seat a few times and even started to yell and cry.

We were the only two non-parent, “young” adults (I guess I’m now classified as an adult? 30 years old is an adult, right?).

All the mothers’ eyes were staring at the two of us as we entered. I knew they all had the same thought on their minds, look at these silly stoners, coming in here to ruin our family-friendly, movie-experience.

First off, I am not a stoner. I just happen to love animated films. Especially those films created by Disney and/or Pixar (but also those created by Dreamworks and anyone else). Of course, it didn’t help that we walked in with a giant oversized soda, some popcorn, a hot dog, chicken fingers and an order of fries. We had so much food the food concierge gave me a cardboard platter to carry it all.

With the movie taking place during my dinner time (7:30-9:30), you better believe I brought a full meal in there with me. I would have snuck in some candy too, if I had more time before the movie. Movie candy is way too expensive. Movie everything is way too expensive. Only at sporting events, movie theaters, theme parks and Manhattan will people not question paying $12 for a soda.

This isn’t a movie review article, but Zootopia was totes awesome sauce! Just like every other Disney or Disney/Pixar movie ever made.

I guess what I’m saying is that although I am no stoner, I do have a few (or even more than just a few) stoner tendencies. And, I know that anytime I perform any of these stoner-type activities, people are always watching and judging. Do I care? No, not really. But, I can feel their thoughts and that’s enough to make me write about it (plus, I didn’t learn anything else this week).

Here are a few other stoner-ish pastimes I have been known take part in:

[1]
I will go to CVS or 7-11 past midnight just to buy a candy bar. And when I get there I will end up buying 2 to 3 candy bars when I notice that it’s buy two, get one FREE. I also will go to CVS at midnight or the next day after any “big candy” holiday. You have your Day after Valentine’s Day sale, your Easter Monday sale, your All Saints Day sale, and of course the big After-Christmas Clearance! My freshman year of college I had no car in Tallahassee and my birthday was Easter Monday, so as a birthday gift I made a friend drive me to CVS for cheap Easter candy.

[2]
I may also end up at Winn-Dixie 10 minutes before they close to buy ice cream making ingredients. To a stranger, it may look as if I’m going to throw a bunch of candy and sweet things in a blender with milk and heavy cream and drink away my sorrows. I mainly go to Winn-Dixie right around closing time to avoid the unwanted conversations with people I don’t want to run into.

[3]
I may end up at a FroGurt store, filling my bucket to the point where the scale can’t even read it. And I may be there with a friend. Also, we may be giggling like idiots at something stupid. But, trust me, we are not on drugs, we’re just hungry for some delicious sweetness.

We used to go to Cold Stone, but now it cost more than a normal meal. So, let me get this straight Cold Stone? You expect me to pay the same amount of cash as I just paid for a burger, fries and a beer? No thank you. I’m headed to FroGurtland or Gelatotown instead.

 

So, if you see me out and suspect me of being high on drugs, just remember, I’m not on drugs. I’m just fat, and love sweets and animated films, but I also love live-action films and regular food too.

So deal with it.

 

[Also, you should share this with people, so they can learn it’s ok to enjoy sweets and things without being on drugs.]

THE DISNEY FORMULA

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This past weekend I visited one of my favorite places on earth, Walt Disney World Resorts & Parks. I didn’t have the pleasure of staying in one of the beautiful Disney Resorts, but we did eat breakfast at the Polynesian, so I did visit one (that’s also how I get free parking, but don’t tell the mouse). I got to do two parks in one day for a total of 14 hours of Disney fun.

I learned a lot on this trip to Disney. I confirmed my fear of the unknown when walking into Stich’s Great Escape I thought, “Why does the thing need to come down over my head? I don’t want to be lifted into the sky. No thank you.” I learned that Star Tours added an all-new chase scene from The Force Awakens, which featured Finn and BB-8 and got me very excited to watch Episode VII – for a third time. I also learned that the Enchanted Tiki Room and the Country Bear Jamboree are still around in the Magic Kingdom, which I don’t think I’ve visited since the 00’s (like before 2010).

We visited both the Country Bear Jamboree and Enchanted Tiki Room and I realized that both of these shows don’t really have a point, or at least that’s what I thought. The truth is both shows do have a point, and they both follow through with that point. In both rooms you’re just here for a concert and they both go according to plan.

The reason why that feels weird is because most shows, rides and experiences in Disney don’t go according to plan. The whole point behind most of these rides, shows and experiences is to trick you, and I will give you three examples of the trickery behind Walt Disney (I’ll try not to ruin anything for people who haven’t been to Disney yet. But if you’re reading this and you haven’t been to Disney, then you probably don’t care or your parents didn’t love you).

Example 1 Muppets 3D

You come into Muppets 3D thinking you are about to see this spectacular show featuring your favorite Muppets, all in a very primitive 3D experience (seriously, I love the show but that old school 3D gives me a headache. Let’s film a new Muppets IMAX 3D. I know you Disney people got plenty money). So once again, you think you’re going to see a 3D spectacular, featuring musical performances and other great stage productions. Instead a weird 3D talking balloon animal gets loose and almost burns the theater you’re in to the ground.

Example 2 Star Tours

On your arrival at Star Tours you believe you’re getting a normal transport through space. Everything instantly goes wrong when C3P0 is stuck behind the wheel of your spacecraft, and an unwanted fugitive is found onboard. The whole thing unfolds into a galactic shootout. And it turns out to be a much different tour through space than you were expecting (maybe Disney should hire me to write reviews for their rides).

Example 3 the Great Movie Ride

Oh wow, look at all these classic movies that I’ve never seen. What’s that? A mob shootout? A bank robbery? A burning building? Where are you going, classical film tour guide? Now we just got hijacked by some wanted criminal on the world’s slowest buggy. Don’t worry though, our tour guide will be back in time to watch the ginger midgets sing and dance.

These three rides/shows are great examples of the Disney formula. Make the audience think they are here for one thing, then throw in a wild card, but don’t worry it always works out. If you think about it most things that are promised to you never actually happen in Disney (but we’re ok with it because what really happens is even better). In Philhar-magic you think you’re going to see Maestro MIckey put on a killer symphony. Instead Donald Duck chases after Mickey’s hat, but you get to hear some of your favorite Disney songs along the way. So, in the end they trick you, but you still get your music.

The Country Bears and Tiki Room both don’t follow this particular Disney formula. The Country Bears is just some bears playing music, but it turns out some of these bears (or all of them) are a wee bit drunk – just look at their drunk eyes. The Tiki Room is just a bunch of birds in the rafters singing songs for you. It’s fun because none of the birds poop on you.

One place I was happy not to visit was the Hall of Presidents. I haven’t been there in over 10 years, and that makes me happy. All I remember from the Hall of Presidents is Abraham Lincoln’s infamous banana noises. (Michael Ian Black taught me about Banana noises – the sounds one makes while eating a banana). Some people happen to make banana noises in between sentences when speaking (ie. Animatronic Abraham Lincoln – I hope the real Abe Lincoln didn’t make banana noises). I’m pretty sure all the presidents make banana noises, and if O’Bama is there his version of banana noises would be just saying “um.”

Disney is still one of my favorite places on earth. Even though they trick you and I’m afraid of most of the rides. I still have an awesome time whenever I go there and I will continue to be a fan of Disney, because they own everything I LOVE (Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, Mickey Mouse & his friends and probably a bunch of stuff I don’t know about yet).