Hugo was critically acclaimed for a number of reasons, including (in one of the few cases in recent film history) its use of 3D. Whereas 3D has proven to be little more than
an excuse to charge more a slightly annoying distraction in the majority of 3D films, director Martin Scorsese made the movie with 3D in mind, and in the end the extra dimension actually added to the experience, rather than detracting from it.
Here’s another thing Hugo’s 3D did: it reportedly “rebooted”67-year old neuroscientist Bruce Bridgeman’s brain and thereby cured his stereo blindness. Bridgeman had grown up with the visual impairment, in which the brain isn’t able to combine the two individual images seen by each eye. Combining the images is how one typically perceives depth – without that ability you’d essentially see in 2D.
“When we’d go out and people would look up and start discussing some bird in the tree, I would still be looking for the bird when they were finished,” Bridgeman told the BBC. “For everybody else, the bird jumped out. But to me, it was just part of the background.”
However, when watching the film (he’s lucky he bought the 3D ticket even though it shouldn’t have made a difference for him), something in his brain clicked and from then after he was able to perceive depth. Needless to say it’s greatly improved his life, as he can now interpret his environment in the way that most of us take for granted. “I enjoy looking out at the world and seeing some things in front of others and looking at the forest and the trees,” he says. “A tree becomes a big three-dimensional sculpture rather than a pattern. That’s a treat.”
It’s truly an amazing (and as of yet unexplained) story, and one that gives me hope that after watching this summer’s Man of Steel I’ll be able to fly.