Sunday, 20 December 2009

Finishing Up The Year

Yesterday I went unexpectedly with Pieter and a bunch of his friends to one of the largest cinemas in this country to see the new Avatar movie in luxurious IMAX 3D format. Beforehand I had been reading up on this movie, watching trailers and reading reviews. I thought it'd be a cheesy, uninspired experience with only the 3D effect as its saving grace. Boy, how wrong I was.

First of all, the atmosphere in general is awesome, everything feels right. The alien world is alien, the humans are human. The planet the story plays out on really does feel like a complete world, with its flora, fauna and native inhabitants who live in complete harmony with it. Granted, the story as a whole is the usual 'hero saves the day and gets the girl' cliche and is accompanied by many more cliches, yet it doesn't feel cliche. It just works and feels right together. The dialogue doesn't feel out of place either, even though some accused it of being groan-worthy.

The 3D effect is accomplished using two projectors and a polarization-preserving screen, whereby the viewers have to wear passive polarization glasses, essentially sun glasses with one glass turned 90 degrees so that one side lets through the horizontal and the other the vertical polarized light. When viewing the screen without the glasses one would see two images (left and right eye) displayed simultaneously.

The 3D effect was satisfactory, if imperfect. One has to keep one's head perfectly level for the best effect, tilting to one side lets through part of the other image, ruining the effect. Polarization artifacts were visible on edges and shiny surfaces (water, non-CGI faces mostly). The framerate didn't suffice during action scenes and when the camera was panning or moving quickly, making detail vanish in a blur. Nearby objects in the 3D effect also suffered from a lack of resolution, looking blurry and insubstantial.

In short, it's a fun movie and the 3D effect is worth experiencing. I would prefer to see the flaws fixed, though, and change the passive polarization technique to active shutter glasses, which should give a more perfect 3D experience. The 3D Blu-ray spec just got finalized, however, so maybe Pieter and I will be watching such movies on our own HDTV soon :) It's a good thing we got a Playstation 3, though, as all existing Blu-ray stand-alone players won't be able to support 3D movies and will have to be replaced. Don't you just love progress? It does once more rub in the point that the PS3 is the best Blu-ray player you can get, though.

Next week will be an extremely busy week for me, as I have managed to cram it full with appointments. On Monday I will talk to an urologist at the Flevo hospital regarding the list of issues I mentioned in my previous post. What I'm most interested in is what is going on with my prostate, if I even have one. Before I started with the hormone therapy I could ejaculate and the ejaculate would be this thick, gel-like substance which now apparently is some kind of mystery fluid since I never had a working prostate to begin with, or perhaps it's due to a hyper-stimulated female prostate thanks to the elevated levels of testosterone. Surprisingly Google doesn't seem willing to give the answers to whether the latter is possible. It'll be interesting to see what the urologist has to say about it.

On Tuesday I have an appointment in Lelystad at the Zelfstandigenloket, regarding my Bbz welfare extension. It should be just a formality. Wednesday is still open, though I may do some window shopping in Amsterdam with Pieter then, or perhaps I'll have an interview instead (more on that later). On Thursday I have a GP appointment and during the afternoon my weekly torture hour. It's going to be fun. At least I'll be wrapping up a lot of stuff this week this way.

Regarding the Bbz extension, someone from the IMK will be dropping by again most likely to check up on the progress the company has made. In this regard we should be fine. Our first game, called 'Even Cats Dream', or ECD for short, has reached the late Alpha stage. We have begun to work on the game's levels, creating the resources for them and putting the actual levels together. Trevor has been working really hard the past month on getting things to this stage. Now I get to join in on the fun as well with playing with 3D models and textures and everything. Designing levels really is fun, even within the current limits imposed by the game's framework. Within weeks we should be able to let volunteers start beta testing and creating levels for the game using the built-in level designer which has seen a rapid evolution the past weeks.

I'm fairly sure the IMK guy will agree that things are progressing nicely, though I would very much like to show a demo of the Lilium hardware simulator. With how busy I'll be the coming time I'm not sure whether I'll make it in time, but maybe with this holidays thing the appointment won't be until early January. We'll see.



zakir ahmed said...

hey i watched avatar recently too :). i found it nice. The only complaint i had was , the storyline was very guessable

Maya Posch said...

Yeah, it wasn't a super-original story, but at least it was well done :)

If you want to talk about a bad, recent movie, try Terminator Salvation. Now that was a real cliche fest :D