November 22nd, 2004

Why the polarized express is a zombie movie.

The Uncanny Valley, or why polar express is so creepy:

My personal threshold is a lot higher, by the way. I've yet to see anything longer than about five seconds that didn't look rendered or digitally edited or whatever it was they did to it, so it never seems creepy to me. I had an amiga 1000 back in the late 1980's, I can generally spot CGI. (And I've seen things WAY more realistic than Polar Express. Sheesh, nobody in that darn thing had facial muscles. Shrek did way better than that...)

Of course Polar Express was way creepy for other reasons. The "wishing on a star" gratuitous musical number sent horror flooding through my gut when I realised that there was nothing I could do to make the next three minutes go by any faster. (Now I know how Eric feels about musicals. That was BAD.) And the fact nobody hit The Annoying Kid in the skull with a golf club was just wrong. (Anybody else see "Wargames"? The two nerds talking about back doors? He's introduced condescendingly quoting obscure train trivia at the top of his lungs nanometers from other kid's faces, and at the end the lesson he gets out of it is "learn". Great...)

But no, the truly creepy bit was the 8 gazillion elves chanting "you'd better not cry" while they summoned their dread plastic master. And the fact there wasn't a SINGLE female elf before they all started dancing (I was looking), and then suddenly one elf in each dancing pair was female. *blink*. Okay...

And I suppose the creepiest thing about it is that it's a christmas movie that came out before thanksgiving. They shouldn't do that. But then, halfway between halloween and christmas is pretty much where that puppy belonged, isn't it?

Still, I got to take Fade to an Imax movie, and as Imax movies go this was a significant improvement over their normal fare (bugs in 3d. Yes realy. No, not a bug's life. Some kind of documentary, I think. They also had one on caves, and a salute to country western music...)

No, I'm not making that up:

I fully expect a documentary on floor wax at some point in the future. Or perhaps pocket lint. Boring things on a biiiiiiiiig screen.

Interesting point: the showing we saw was in 3D. (With the polarized glasses, hence polarized express.) Just about any CGI movie is remarkably cheap to turn into 3D, don'tcha think? I'm mean, you've already GOT the depth info in the 3D modeling. A few compositing effects might have to be redone properly (the snow and such, in this case. And perhaps some of the fog when the train first came out.). But on the whole, 3D is free...

Somebody tell pixar. They make better movies. :)

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