Last night I had the opportunity to attend a 30 minute preview of the new Brendan Fraser film Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D. We were able to see both the 3D version of the trailer as well as a number of completed scenes from the movie.
The big deal about this film is that it is the first live action, digitally shot 3D movie, and it was "filmed" using James Cameron's new 3D Fusion camera system.
Now here's the thing to keep in mind about Journey 3D: It's goal is to be the film that ushers in the 3D movie revolution. It's going to provide amazing 3D visual effects and (literally) a rollercoaster ride for the audience.
The target audience for this PG-rated film is kids, and I think they're going to eat it up. It will basically be a longer version of the sort of experience you usually have to travel to Disney or Universal Studios to see.
It's being brought to us by Walden Media, which is known for it's family friendly films. (I shudder to think of the opposite end of the scale and 3D movie technology).
So what was it like? Imagine Beowulf 3D, but in live action and even higher quality. Think of the difference between watching your TV at home, and then walking into a Best Buy and watching a 60" plasma Hi-Def picture, and then multiply that by two.
It looks like they'll probably follow the original story for the most part but with a few additions and twists. I'm sure that some people will find it silly, and there is certainly some stuff that warrants that (like the boy, while at the center of the Earth, receiving a cell phone call from his mom. Now THAT's cell phone reception!). But again, this is a movie targeted more at kids and created to provide a great visual experience.
I won't get too technical, but part of the "new and improved" aspect of the system as that it has a varying convergence point capability. What that means is that just as your eyes cross slightly when focusing on something nearer than something farther away, the lenses on the camera can do the same. What this means is that instead of everything in a scene being in sharp 3D focus, objects that are either in the background or not the center of attention can be slightly blurry, just as in traditionally shot movies.
Even just the watching the trailer in 3D was a vastly different experience. Seeing the YouTube version is really pretty silly in trying to capture what this movie will be like.
Personally I'm a fan of 3D and while this one, as an introductory film will be quite gimmicky in it's use of the visuals, I look forward to seeing more and more movies produced this way.
Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D opens on July 11