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Thursday, February 9, 2012

3D Movies

Is this phase of 3D movies almost over?  In case no one has noticed, this fad comes around once every 30 years.  It first started back in the 1950’s (which is why one of the gang in Back to the Future is prominently wearing 3D glasses) and then died off.  It had a resurgence in the 1980’s (Anyone remember the garbage that was Jaws 3D?  I do, but only as Jaws 3 since I saw it on TV) before dying off again.  And it has recently come back, so much so that now George “I haven’t squeezed enough money out of you people” Lucas is releasing The Phantom Menace in 3D.

What is the fascination with this medium?  I can understand wanting to feeling like you are in the film, but 3D just isn’t the way to do it.  I have yet to see a movie that has been made better by being in 3D, and I have seen a lot that have been made worse because they were made for 3D.  You must understand, though, that I from the school where the pinnacle of the movie experience is being drawn in by the writing and visuals, not by some schmuck hitting a paddle ball out of the screen at me.*  Would Star Wars (the one where Han shot first) be more visually moving if it was a 3D movie, I don’t think so.  It would be neat, sure, but I don’t see movies for the “neat factor”.

I guess I’m just a tough nut to crack.  I would rather watch 12 Angry Men or The Lion in Winter than Avatar (nope, still haven’t seen it) and that’s for the writing.  Yes, I know that those two movies were originally stage plays, but that’s what makes them so good.  12 Angry Men, the movie, basically does nothing to add to the visuals, and that is as it should be.  It’s about a jury locked in a room deliberating the fate of the young man accused of murdering his father.  It shouldn’t have sweeping vistas or tons of sets.  The Lion in Winter, on the other hand, makes the most of the castle setting.  You get the arrival and departure scenes of the characters with beautiful backdrops, but the majority of the film takes place within the castle walls.  These scenes have an amazing depth with the minutia of castle life in the winter being on display, but not the focus of the scene.

Could either of these movies been made better by 3D?  Not a chance.  Let’s get the quality of writing back up in Hollywood (and stop the remakes, but that’s probably another post) and then worry about having someone reaching out of the screen to “dazzle” me.

As a side note, I should say that this probably could apply to 3D TV, but I have never seen a show on one of those TV’s so I really can’t comment on them.  In that case, though, they are making the TV’s sharper for 2D, so it’s at least constructive.

* Yeah, this actually happened in the Vincent Price House of Wax.  It was actually the reason I know it was originally in 3D, since it’s so obvious that they did it only for the “oooo, the ball’s coming at me” effect.  This added absolutely nothing to the film and the scene dragged because of it.

1 comment:

  1. Taking a small victory. At least the latest Lucas attempt to get a walletful got the Cartoon Network to run all the Star War Robot Chicken episodes back-to-back. :)
    (Stormtrooper... Stormtrooper...)

    And with the 3D thing you also get Frankie LaRue (John Candy character on the old SCTV* episodes) doing "look at this 3D effect!" as he waves an object back and forth and eventually hits the other person in the eye.

    *- I have a clip of Count Floyd introducing "Blood Sucking Monkeys from West Mifflin" somewhere.