x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

3D glasses can help you sleep

When you inadvertently stray into a children's film with no grown-up subtext the 3D glasses provide a convenient screen to doze off behind.

Last week I went to see Megamind 3D. I totally did, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

I could have hung on instead for half an hour and watched Machete, described as "messy, violent and tasteless" and probably something more suitable for a sarcastic 30-year-old, but I was feeling adventurously immature.

My girlfriend, whom I'd dragged along for this rampant display of childishness, was bidding for The Social Network, but it was large-headed blue animated aliens over billionaire geeks or I was going to scream, shout and - quite possibly - hold my breath until I passed out.

We got a bag of sweets. I ate them all instantly and was already feeling a little sick before the trailers finished.

It was only when I heard the other voices in the cinema - mainly high-pitched, whiny and all accompanied by adults - that I started to realise I might have goofed. We were, it seems, the only people in there either not under eight or not desperately trying to get someone under eight to stop tipping nachos on themselves.

Now, the film was OK, quite good, one thumb up, three out of five. But, peering through my daft 3D glasses, I couldn't help but think that the money spent on adding a third dimension might have been better spent on developing the storyline.

Yes, I realise the script was always going to be on the more simple side, but I thought it'd be littered with those clever little quips for adults, especially placed for grown-ups to chuckle intelligently at while safe in the smug knowledge that any children laughing along too hadn't understood the joke, the idiots.

But it wasn't. Instead, there was a somewhat bizarre tale of a bored supervillain that didn't entirely fit together; the not-inexpensive voicing talents of Brad Pitt, Tina Fey and Will Ferrell (who all, last time I checked, weren't really à la mode among pre-teens); and an explosion of extra-dimensional excessiveness that had cartoony death rays shooting out of the screen every other second.

Don't get me wrong, it was all (moderately) enjoyable stuff, but it made me wonder if this whole 3D obsession was entirely necessary or but a gimmick used to mask otherwise poor cinema.

The "in 3D" titles have been coming thick and fast for a good while now and, generally speaking, most seem on the wrong side of rubbish.

The Clash of the Titans was still as flat and fromage-laden as a cheese manakeesh after the extra dimension was added. Piranha 3D, despite featuring Kelly Brook (in 3D!) was a cheap-thrill-a-thon (in 3D!). The Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience? Good grief, pass the WMD.

Now Up was a truly great film, but was it made any better when the balloons looked like they were actually coming out of the screen? (And will it surprise you to hear that I saw it in both varieties?)

In any case, the 3D argument was one I put to my unfortunate girlfriend as we left Megamind, no doubt to give at least some suggestion of sophisticated conversation as we waded through small children now covered head to toe in popcorn and chocolate.

As it turns out, the 3D specs had provided an additional benefit I hadn't even considered: she'd managed to hide the fact that she'd slept through the entire thing.