The SFX blogging crew discuss the pros and cons of 3D movies
THIS WEEK’S BLOGBUSTER QUESTION: Does 3D add an extra dimension to the film-going experience, or is it just a trick to get punters to part with more money?
I’ve yet to see 3D actually improve a film. I want great action, compelling stories and engaging characters from a film. If you have them then there’s absolutely no need for 3D. And if you don’t have them then 3D won’t make your film any better.
Avatar seems to be the film that always gets mentioned for having good 3D, but while watching that I found the 3D didn’t draw me deeper into the film; if anything it threw me out of the film because I was staring at the pretty rather than being engrossed by the film. I didn’t find it immersive at all; it was something that brought me out of the film way too much. Sure, the film looked gorgeous, but if they spent half as long on the story as they did on the pretty then they might have had a better film.
3D is a distraction I can do without thanks. Especially if it involves having things thrown, shot or jump out of the screen at you. Please! That trick wasn’t convincing with Jaws 3 D in 1983; it isn’t any more convincing in 2010 with Clash Of The Titans or Resident Evil: Afterlife . Mind you, they weren't particularly brilliant films anyway, were they? In fact, I don’t think there has been a really, really good film done in 3D yet. Toy Story 3 maybe? But that was just as good in 2D, so again, if a film is good enough then 3D isn’t needed, so why bother with it? Like I said: Gimmick! It’s all about those extra couple of pounds at the box office. Nothing more.
And don't even get me started on George Lucas and the 3D-ification of the Star Wars films. Can you say scraping the barrel?
Otherwise it’s just been a shoddy case of money-grabbing, half-arsed gimmickry, with studios eager to simply “convert” 2D reels into 3D for the extra buck. Even with ILM on board, it doesn’t fill me with a huge amount of confidence for the upcoming 3D-isation of the Star Wars saga.
I don’t think that’s going to last though, because you’re already seeing 3D stop being just a shiny new toy and start being something which film makers can use to give their movie a genuine identity. Joseph Kosinski’s decision to only use 3D for the sequences in The Grid in Tron: Legacy really works, and from what I’ve heard Drive Angry 3D has all kinds of fun with the format. That, I suspect, is the secret to 3D’s success: directors using it to enhance their films rather than to get an extra couple of quid out of cinema goers. Right now, no it’s not any good, but once more directors start using it like that? I'll be ducking to avoid Transformer debris, Thor’s hammer or all of the Avengers with the best of them.
Obviously there are pros to 3D films: piracy will be virtually eliminated due to the restriction of the handy cam not picking up the 3D images on the screen; technology is catching up with our imagination so it’s less limited, and, of course, watching a 3D movies can be a really cool experience and be a hell of a lot of fun to watch, that is if you don’t suffer from migraines or vertigo…
Are 3D movies a fad or the future? Avatar changed the face of cinema forever and with the influx of 3D movies, and all I can hope is that Hollywood will still make 2D and 3D films with substance. But after shelling out the cash to see Alice In Wonderland – what a pisser that was! – I’ve become slightly wary about going to see a 3D film for fear that it’s going to strain my eyes and my love for the theatre.
Every film stands or falls on its own merit, 3D or not. Some people love spectacle, some prefer a good story, but so long as it entertains that’s really all it’s there to do. The medium is just a vector to get the story into our brains. I do yearn for the day when we can do away with the silly glasses though.