My thoughts about 3-D
One of my Twitter followers asked what my opinion was about 3-D and referred to a recent magazine article by Roger Ebert in Newsweek. Well, @zurkey, here is my response to your question: I couldn’t agree more with Ebert. When 3-D was just starting to make its comeback, so to say, I couldn’t have been more excited. We all remember the cheesy red-and-blue glasses of yesteryear and longed to see what technology could do for it today. Surely, we thought, 3-D nowadays would be more realistic. And to an extent, it has been. Mr. Ebert states in his article that “it adds nothing essential to the movie-going experience,” and I would disagree with that statement. For certain movies it does add to the experience. When Avatar came out in December of 2009, I first watched it in 2-D. I thought the film was magnificent and I could only imagine how gorgeous it would look in 3-D. Later when I watched it in 3-D my experience was enhanced, if anything, as I watched the screen in awe of how beautiful the images were. James Cameron spent millions of dollars, created new technology and equipment, and spent years on this film and his hard work showed. If you have never seen a film in 3-D, I would advise that you watch Avatar as your introduction to this new technology.
I do agree that it’s not worth the ridiculous premium charge of up to $7.50 EXTRA on top of a regular ticket price. Customers assume the surcharge is to pay for the 3-D glasses, but it’s actually to help pay for the expensive projection equipment that’s required to show the films in the first place. And since customers are eating this new technology up, Hollywood’s earnings are going through the roof. This, in turn, has encouraged movie executives to slap the 3-D technology on films that would’ve been fine in 2-D. Case in point: this year’s Clash Of The Titans. Originally filmed in 2-D, this film was hastily converted into 3-D and it’s sloppiness showed on the big screen. This is the film Ebert was probably thinking about when he said 3-D technology adds nothing to the movie-going experience. The film would have been just fine in 2-D, but execs saw dollar signs at the success of Avatar, Alice In Wonderland, and How To Train Your Dragon, all in 3-D. And it’s because of this example that I agree with Ebert’s feelings about 3-D.
1. It’s the waste of a dimension – this is where I half-agree and half-disagree. He argues that “our minds use the principle of perspective to add the third dimension.” He asks if you’ve ever seen a film and wondered, “I wish this were in 3-D.” My answer is no. However, I have seen older films and wonder how they would have looked in 3-D. But that doesn’t mean they should be converted into 3-D. I can’t possibly be the only person to wonder how, say, The Wizard Of Oz would look in 3-D. It’s a stunning film in it’s own right, but it surely would have been filmed in 3-D if it were made today.
2. It adds nothing to the experience – I agree that no film “needs” 3-D, as Ebert argues. He’s correct, Precious and Casablanca wouldn’t have been any better had they been filmed in 3-D. But I do believe that certain films have been enriched by the technology, as I stated earlier about Avatar. It definitely depends on the subject matter of the film. Does anyone really want to see a teenage girl being raped in 3-D? No, I didn’t think so. And that’s exactly why Precious is an example of why some films don’t need 3-D to add to the experience.
3. It can be a distraction – I agree with this statement. Most films that have been shot in 3-D only add the illusion that an image is floating above the rest of the images. Think My Bloody Valentine and the illusion that a knife is actually coming towards you. It’s a complete distraction and unnecessary. However, going back to Avatar in which the images actually seem to go deeper into the screen, not all films in 3-D have distractions. But Avatar is most certainly an exception to this.
4. It can create nausea and headaches – This is pretty self-explanatory. I get motion sickness pretty easily so this personally affects me.
5. Have you noticed that 3-D seems a little dim? – Actually, I haven’t. But I’ll take your word for it.
6. & 7. There’s money to be made in selling new digital projectors/theaters slap a surcharge for 3-D – I stated above that the ridiculous premium charges are added so that the customers help pay for this expensive equipment. Studio executives and theatre owners have signed an agreement that they’ll each help pay for the expensive equipment necessary to show the 3-D films that Hollywood keeps churning out. It’s getting kind of ridiculous, really. It’s like some company has created a better stove to make food faster, but restaurants can’t afford to buy them so they add an upcharge to their meals so customers can help pay for the stoves, too.
8. I can’t imagine a serious drama in 3-D – Me either! Can you imagine seeing something like Schindler’s List in 3-D?
9. Whenever Hollywood feels threatened, it turns to new technology – To them, this makes sense. Instead of offering films at a more affordable price, they add something new to what’s already offered so they can justify charging more. I can’t wait to see what happens when 3-D television sets start becoming the norm. What will Hollywood do next?
Ebert closes his article by saying,” I’m not opposed to 3-D as an option. I’m opposed to it as a way of life.” I feel the same way. When I see the list of upcoming movies that are going to be in 3-D I see so many that would be just fine in 2-D. Step Up 3-D? Jackass 3-D? Piranha 3-D? Saw VII 3-D? And there’s been some recent rumors of A Nightmare On Elm Street having a 3-D sequel since the first film did so well at the box office (not that I would mind seeing the stunning Kyle Gallner in 3-D on the big screen). Oh, dear God, when will the insanity end? How do you feel about 3-D? Comment and let me know!