Polaroid 3D Glasses: Making 3D Movies Look (and Feel) Good
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It wasn’t long after the current 3D craze began—probably somewhere between Coraline and Avatar—that I started to complain about 3D movies. It’s not that I hate the whole concept. Actually, I enjoy a good 3D movie—as long as it’s done well, that is. What I hate are the glasses—those heavy plastic theater freebies that make the picture look dark and muddy while leaving everyone in the audience with a killer headache. Now, a couple of years later, a new 3D movie comes out almost every week—which means that I’m spending a lot more time in those horrible 3D glasses (and even more time recovering from the inevitable headaches).

For years now, I’ve been wishing that someone would make 3D movies more comfortable—that studios would have mercy on poor, headachy film critics and give us some nice, comfy 3D glasses to make us all just a little less cranky about the recent flood of 3D movies. The studios still haven’t caught on, but someone has. A number of eyewear manufacturers have started producing their own 3D glasses—perfect for 3D movie lovers and critics like me. Some of them (like Oakley’s 3D Gascan) are pretty pricey—but Polaroid has introduced a more affordable line of 3D glasses.

Polaroid’s 3D glasses—which range in price from about $30 to $50—offer something for everyone. They have a variety of styles for adults (from wrap-around frames to aviators, plastic frames or the slightly heavier metal), a few options for 3D-loving kids, and even some cover styles that were specially designed to fit over optical frames. I chose the VIP style (which, I’m told, is the most popular style), with curved wrap-around lenses and royal blue plastic frames.

When my new glasses arrived, I was eager to try them out—and to compare them to the theater-issued pair that, for some reason, have found a home on my desk. I was immediately shocked by the VIPs’ weight. Though they’re much larger than those theater freebies, they’re surprisingly light. When I first put them on, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were pretty comfortable, too—more contoured to the bridge of my nose than those other glasses, which tend to crush the sides of my nose, while, at the same time, refusing to stay put. Right away, I knew that that wouldn’t be a problem with my new VIPs. They rested comfortably on my nose, and they didn’t go anywhere—leaving my hands free for note-taking. As for the color of the lenses, I definitely noticed a slight difference. Though the technology doesn’t allow for perfectly clear lenses, they aren’t as obviously muddy as my theater glasses.

I’ll admit that I spent a whole lot of time sitting at my desk that day, playing with my new 3D glasses—but, of course, they weren’t made for everyday use (and, just for the record, if you wear them for an extended period of time while staring at your computer, they’ll probably make you feel a little queasy). The real test would be at the theater. For the first time in a long time—possibly since my very first 3D screenings, all those years ago—I couldn’t wait for my next 3D movie.

When I brought them to the theater for their big trial run, they didn’t disappoint. In fact, within the first 30 seconds of the first trailer, I was sold. “These things are awesome!” I whispered to my colleagues as I passed them down the row for everyone else to try.

I may have been watching a cheesy horror flick that night, but I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a 3D movie so much. Since the frames in my VIPs are larger than the theater’s hand-outs, I could take in the entire screen at once. I didn’t have to move my head around to prevent those big, bulky frames from cutting off my view. I could just sit back and soak it all in.

The image, meanwhile, was significantly brighter than the usually murky image that’s presented by the theater’s glasses. Everything was lighter and crisper—so crisp, in fact, that I could easily pick out the flaws in the film’s 3D effects.

Best of all: even after nearly two hours of wear, they were perfectly comfortable. No eye strain, no pinched nose, no headaches. In fact, they were so light that I almost forgot that I was wearing them.

The one downside? Unless you have a 3D TV that calls for passive 3D glasses, these will only work at theaters—not at home—since they don’t have the battery power needed to work with most 3D TVs. But if you spend as much time watching 3D movies at your local theater as I do, Polaroid’s 3D glasses are a no-brainer.

This is the way that 3D movies should be enjoyed: using glasses that allow you to see the whole picture as vividly as the filmmaker intended—without being distracted by headaches and ill-fitting loaner frames. Really, if you’re spending the extra cash to watch a movie in 3D, you deserve to get your money’s worth.

And now that I’ve got a pair of my own, you won’t hear me complaining about having to sit through yet another 3D movie.

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