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Saturday, Apr. 18, 2015

Put on your glasses now...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

When my oldest daughter Lindsay attended college, she was interested in animation and special effects. She chose to have a graphic design major, and now has a good job where she can utilize her creative skills.

I mention this because I recall having a conversation with one of her instructors about the different majors and something he said struck me as odd at the time, but it makes perfect sense now.

"The United States used to be a manufacturing economy," the instructor said. "We made things that people bought all around the world." He concluded with "now we manufacture entertainment -- the new economy."

As I think back on the conversation, it makes sense. It does seem that, in a quest for ever lower prices on goods, companies have responded by moving many of the manufacturing jobs overseas.

While have cheap consumer goods is nice, you need to have a job to be able to pay for them. The current recession has hammered this point home.

America has always led the way in entertainment. Novels, films, television and video games are written and designed here, emulated and copied worldwide. We put the "pop" in popular culture.

I read novels, watch television, attend movies and play the occasional video game if they need someone to be the guy that gets killed so others may live (it's kind of my thing).

There is a resurgence of three-dimensional movies and television. 3-D, as it is more popularly known, fools your brain by sending images (filtered by special glasses) through your eyes to think that the two dimensional images are in three dimensions.

In the 1950s, 3-D was used to coax television viewers out of their homes and back to the movie theaters. The blue and red glasses, made out of cardboard and colored acetate, were taken on and off during the movie, so you could be shocked or frightened by items that appeared to come "out" of the screen.

The technology stayed at that level for many years, but advances in cameras technology has breathed new life into an old idea.

I went to my first 3-D movie in the theater this past weekend. My wife and I saw "Resident Evil -- Afterlife," the fourth installment of movies based on the Capcom video game. Yes, I have seen the previous three. Don't judge.

The Resident Evil premise is that a global corporation, seeking to develop various biohazard weapons, is sabotaged and some of the experiments escape, creating creatures nearly as popular recently as vampires -- zombies.

I understand that the games were all survival games, where you kill zombies and monsters to stay alive. The movies are pretty much the same, only with a higher production budget and no interactivity.

Fun entertainment if you check your logic and common sense at the door.

I had been putting off attending any of the new 3-D movies for several reasons. First and foremost, I believe it is a gimmick intended to get more money from consumers. I paid an addition $3 a ticket to be able to rent 3-D glasses from the theater. The glasses were stored in a bin and handed out (and back in) as we entered and exited the theater.

I don't consider myself a germophobe, but I did wonder who wore the glasses before me as I watched the movie. I don't think seeing a 3-D movie during cold and flu season would be a good idea.

Since I wear glasses to correct my vision, I wondered if they would work properly. They did, even though it was a bit distracting at first.

Did 3-D enhance the movie? I actually found it more of a distraction. I understand that 3-D in "Avatar," the James Cameron blockbuster which I saw on DVD, added to the experience.

Ready or not, like it or not, it appears that 3-D is here to stay. In addition to movie theaters, some television manufacturers are selling 3-D ready televisions. There are numerous movies set for release in 3-D this fall and winter.

Will it be a fad that passes again, or just another step in our entertainment economy? The jury's still out on that.

By the way, the movie was the weakest of the Resident Evil movies.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@lemarscomm.net, telephone 712-546-7031, x40 or toll free 1-800-728-0066 x40.

Thanks for reading, I'll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.

By Tom Stangl
From the publisher's desk