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Occasional ramblings by an anesthesiologist/mother (and sometimes her husband).

Sunday, July 15, 2007

More Aspect Ratio Outrage

Last night, I encountered another grievous example of Aspect Ratio stupidity.

Last night, ES1 & I met a few friends for dinner at Our Favorite Restaurant*. Afterwards, we went to see Transformers. They needed to see it, we wanted to see it again. Good deal.

We went to our favorite theater, parked at the closest spot we could find, walked half a kilometer through cars parked to see Order of the Phoenix, and got in immediately.

The screen itself is approximately a 1.78:1 screen (roughly; I didn't actually use a tape measure). The movie, like any major action flick, appears to be a 2.35:1 aspect ratio movie. What would anyone with a clue do?

Simple. Make the flick use the whole width of the screen, and as much of the height as is needed. Everyone's happy. Yay! Explosions! Optimus Prime with a blazing sword-type thingy coming out of his right arm. Yippee!

Well, not so much. Some rock, some dolt, some less than senseless thing decided to use the whole height of the screen. The obvious result is that everything was vertically stretched.

Not by too much, mind you. One would think that it wouldn't be too bad. Circles would end up as ovals, people would look a bit taller. Unfortunately, it's not that simple.

In this flick, there's a lot of action, and a lot of moving. Anything which rotates, for example the cube-shaped All Spark shown in the beginning of the movie, will actually morph and distort as it moves. Nearly any time the camera moves**, in fact, things will visually distort.

After a little while, one can ignore it. I considered walking out and speaking to a manager. Considering how much cash you need to fork out, that sort of thing is unacceptable. I decided against it for two reasons. The first was that I didn't feel like the hassle. The second was that I figured any correction would probably necessitate an interruption in the movie, which I'm sure most people would find more objectionable than the distortion.

If they screw up "Order of the Phoenix" when we go to see it next weekend, however, I will get up and go complain. For now, however, it is simply another reason for me to just stay home and enjoy my home setup instead.





*Which has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that we happen to be related to the owners. Nothing at all. Stop giving me that look. I'm super cereal. [Back]




**Which, upon second viewing, became a bit of an annoyance. The camera moves way too much. Even when we're just trying to look at a single person, the camera is jiggling. There's a ton of detail and eye candy. It takes you several viewings to see any of it, however, because it won't freakin' sit still! [Back]

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