Friday, October 7, 2011

The Third Dementia

I have long been an opponent of the so-called 3D revolution. I say "so-called" because 3D movies have been around for a long time. It seems like every 10-15 years we go through a nauseating period where studio execs push 3D on us and eventually as a society, we tell them to go die.

The first time they tried was back in the 1950s. True story. Obviously they didn't have the technology that we possess now to even ATTEMPT a decent three-dimensional cinematic experience but hey, they tried. And failed. Then we saw another push in the 80's, the 90's and the early 00's (the Spy Kids 3-D era). By that point the technology was well and good but the experience itself was so gimmicky that no filmmaker even bothered with it unless they were contractually obligated to make a festering pile of excrement.

Then a guy named James Cameron had to come along, make absolutely obscene amounts of money with Avatar and suddenly studio execs were once again wetting themselves at the idea of using 3D to rob the american public.

That is what it's about. Money. James Cameron was sincere when he talked about wanting to create a truly immersive visual experience and I'll give credit where credit is due. Even though the actual plot was the most recycled thing in American Cinema (equal parts Pocahontas, Fern Gulley, Tarzan and a pinch of The Matrix) the visuals where incredible.

When the makers of Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D, Clash of the Titans 3D and Piranha 3D (and the upcoming 3DD) talk about the technology serving the story: they are lying to your face.

Back to the point. I've been saying this for years and most people agree with me. Every now and then, however, I run into someone who obviously can't tell a good movie from a hole in the ground and they ask me "Weeeeeel, how do you know if you've never seeeeeeeeeeeeeen one?"

I've never been shot, or mauled by lions, or contracted Dengue (the bone break fever) or watched Jershey Shore but I feel pretty confident assuming that the experience would be unpleasant.

So, last night I watched a 3D film. It was for work and it was for free (which helps the experiment because I wasn't financially invested). I'm contractually forbidden from telling you what movie it was, suffice to say that it was visually-creative and action-oriented.

For the entire 2 hours I was aware that I was wearing glasses. It was like when you have a muscle tick, constantly pulling your focus away from what you're doing. I never reached a point where I was truly immersed in the story and not keenly aware that I was viewing the world through a plastic lens. My guest was also wearing a pair of prescription glass, meaning she had to double up and which I can only imagine totally sucks.

For the first 30 minutes my eyes couldn't focus. Any camera movement or fast movement from the actors (remember, action movie) would go blurry and the constant re-adjusting my eyes were doing gave me a mild headache.

The actual image (when in focus) didn't look "realistic" in fact, it just looked weird. Real life looks nothing like a 3D movie. Truth be told, real life looks pretty 2D. That's why people paint, and take photographs, and hang things on their walls. It's called perspective, and it's supposed to go away from you. Can you imagine if everything in life visually came out at you? I don't want to live in that world.

Lastly, and most importantly, the 3D served no purpose. The movie would have looked just as awesome (I would argue awesomer) and the story would have been told just as well (I would argue weller) and Freida Pinto would have looked just as hot (I would argue ho.........oh crap, don't tell anyone I said that).

In short. I have seen 3D and I was not amused. If I had been forced to pay and extra two to five dollars to have a weird, blurry headache I would be speaking in much harsher terms right now.

3D is nonsense. The studios are trying to shove it down our throats because it means more mullah for them. It is purely an economic exercise. They have no interest in improving the quality of the movie-going experience or improving the quality of films. They just. want. your. money.

Please, stop giving it to them and don't let the people you love spend their money on 3D. Friends don't let friends watch 3D. It is a gimmick used to lure viewers into terrible films, or to glean more money out of the movies that we actually want to see. And I will have none of it.


  1. I've contracted Dengue, and yes, it is very unpleasant. I agree that 3D doesn't do much for action, as all the quick movements by either characters or cameras turn to soup.

  2. Soup is a good word for it. It's not so much blurry as it a hot mess.

  3. AMEN BROTHER!!! Ugh, I passionately hate 3D and groan inside whenever I see some new film trailer with a big 3D following it - like that's supposed to make it more entertaining. I hate wearing the glasses, I agree with you it always keeps me separated from the story. I find the objects flying at my face very distracting and annoying. I'm with you - down with 3D!!!