I have never been a huge moviegoer, but the first time I was coaxed into attending a 3D IMAX event, I converted. If something has been appropriately blurred in order to appear 3D through cheesy glasses on a thousand-foot screen, I’m all in.
My husband is an even bigger IMAX fan than I am, so when he asked if I wanted to see the latest version of Jack and the Beanstalk (his favorite childhood story, he sheepishly admitted), in 3D at IMAX, I beamed a big “yes” at him.
So this past Sunday, with the holy afterglow of church still fresh on my face, I happily skipped my Sunday afternoon nap and accompanied my husband to “Jack, the Giant Killer.”
I guess I should’ve figured by the title that the tale had been tampered with.
We drove to the nearest IMAX, found perfect seats and sat. I swiveled my head, brow furrowing as I noticed empty seats everywhere. I was relieved we wouldn’t have to fight hordes of people, but perplexed at the lack of viewing public. Was the movie not advertised enough? Had Jack and the Beanstalk fallen out of favor? Perhaps a lack of carnage was assumed, which the public might find less interesting. As I pondered these questions, the movie began and nearly blew me out of my seat.
I discovered right away that lack of carnage was NOT going to be a problem.
The 3D IMAX movies I have attended have been lovely and inspiring with a marked lack of gore and mayhem. The main characters in 3D appeared more beautiful, more lucid, almost touchable. The scenery was delightful; rich and lush. The action fluid and breathtaking. The illusion that I was part of the scene was entrancing. For instance, if a character leapt upon a tree limb and magically slid down the tree, I felt exactly as if I were on his back, riding along with him. It was a magical way to pass a couple of hours.
Until, um, now.
Sunday afternoon I had a completely different 3D experience. Instead of the jovial and jolly green giant of Ho, Ho, Ho fame that I expected, to my horror, I found myself looking up the unsightly and hair-laden nostrils of the most hideous giant ever conceived. Then, in rapid succession, I was subjected to several close-ups of fellow giants that had advanced cases of rotting teeth and gums, acne scars, and facial pores the size of Crater Lake. And let’s not forget the various and sundry other parts of the giant-human-anatomy, which obviously unhinged giant-fabricators gleefully and with wild abandon threw on the screen in rapid succession.
About five hundred times, a single giant foot, or in some cases many stampeding giant feet, filled the screen. These feet bore corns, bunions, scraggly, chewed-on toenails, scruffy hair, a year’s worth of grime, and Lord knows how they smelled, which was all I could think of. After all, who has the chance to observe, with painfully close scrutiny, someone’s idea of what a giant’s foot should look like in 3D? Which brings me to the next body part: shoulders. We (all fifteen of us, huddled together in an attempt to comfort one another) were repeatedly accosted with someone’s really, really disgusting vision of a giant with two heads. One was normal size (but horrifically ugly), centered appropriately between the shoulders, with slitted, mean, beady giant-eyes that sliced right and left; and the other I can only describe as an “afterthought head.” You know, the kind that grows spontaneously, a tragic mistake that takes on a life of its own. This head sprouted from the giant’s right shoulder and looked like a cross between Boris Karloff and Yoda. The afterthought head was smaller, slanted off the shoulder at an angle, and had its own randy little personality that said cute and lighthearted (but evil) things in an attempt, I suppose, to diffuse the ghastly. This might have worked if I could have overcome the hypnotic disgusting-ness of the effect, which I could not. So the little, tragic, slanted, bug-eyed head was not comic relief for me at all. I tried to laugh at it once or twice, but the laugh kind of melted into a grimace as the next giants, each more malformed, inappropriate, and grotesque than the last, appeared. If 3D one day gives us an option to also SMELL what is going on, I don’t think I’ll ever set foot in an IMAX again.
The last straw was the chef-giant that was tasked with baking a delicious meal (super-sized, of course) of pigs-in-a-blanket. However, one of them was (wait for it…) a MAN-in-a-blanket, and as the chef-giant was making the light and flaky crust to be used for the blanket part, he poked a thick, hairy, filthy finger into his nose, pulled it out and
plopped a gooey, long, string of you-know-what into the dough. This delightful scene, of course, was close-upped and dragged out for a minute or two and ended with a flourish of dripping, chef-giant fingers. I had to cover my eyes. Think about watching this in 3D, on an overly large screen. See? It’s awful to think about. You can stop thinking about it now.
Which brings me to my concluding thought.
I still have very real and lively visions of those giants, and I am trying to get them out of my mind, but it has been difficult. I know IMAX 3D is larger-than-life and with the experience – especially if it has not been a pleasant one – comes a larger-than-life residual.
Who knew? I thought all 3D stuff would be pleasant and magical.
Not at all.
In fact, I was a little traumatized throughout the movie. Didn’t I hear that “Titanic” was redone in 3D recently? And why, exactly, would I want to see drowning, dying, burning, stricken people huge and in 3D?
The same reason that people go to see disgusting and bizarre giants that eat men-in-a-blanket, I guess.
I am going to rethink the whole IMAX 3D entranced thing, while the wounds are still fresh.