Saturday, April 4, 2009

The release of several 3D movies this year including Coraline, Monsters vs. Aliens, Bolt, and Journey to the Center of the Earth has some, including Josh Quittner of TIME magazine, wondering if 3D is the future of film making. I have some concerns about this idea.

In his article, Quittner described watching 3D film as some kind of mind-blowing relgious experience:

The lights dim in the screening room. Suddenly, the doomed Titanic fills the screen--but not the way I remember in the movie. The luxury liner is nearly vertical, starting its slide into the black Atlantic, and Leonardo DiCaprio is hanging on for life, just like always. But this time, I am too. The camera pans to the icy water far below, pulling me into the scene--the sensation reminds me of jerking awake from a dream--and I grip the sides of my seat to keep from falling into the drink.
For me, this description is problematic. And by" problematic," I mean totally exaggerated.

I've seen Monsters vs. Aliens (don't tell anyone). I've seen Coraline. And let me tell you, I was not gripping the sides of my seat, and I was not hanging on for dear life. Don't get me wrong though. I thought it was pretty cool. But the most important part of that sentence was the "pretty" and not the "cool." The thing is, I am a product of the 21st century, and my expectations of 3D are probably a lot different than Josh Quittner's.

When I shell out fifteen dollars to see a 3D film I don't really want to see a film, I want the equivalent of a Disneyworld ride. I want shit to be flying everywhere off the screen. I want things rushing past me, I want things going nuts on every side, I want to grab at the empty space in front of me, thinking that there's actually something there. That's the 3D I care about. But it's not the 3D I've seen. When I saw Monsters vs. Aliens it actually seemed as though the characters were placed further into the screen than usual.

I don't blame studios for pursuing the 3D idea. I understand that it's becoming harder to justify spending money on a movie when it's so easy to watch this stuff on TV or on the computer free of charge. The truth: 3D is a good gimmick, and it seems like a good way to get people to make the trip to the theater. But it won't last unless shit starts popping out of the screen.

At least, I certainly won't be going to see another 3D movie unless someone reassures me that they've figured this out.

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