On this blog I generally try to keep things positive. But once in a while I will get on my soapbox. This is one of those times. This week I will make the case against 3D movies. There are so many reasons why 3D needs to go. Ever since James Cameron’s Avatar was released and did gangbusters at the box office in 2009, it seems everything has been released in 3D. What Avatar did it did very well. That movie was thoroughly enhanced by 3D. The technology really made me feel like I was part of the movie experience. In the scenes on the planet Pandora, I really felt like I was transported to another world and flying through the air with the characters. James Cameron knows how to use special effects intelligently in his films. If you need further proof check out Terminator 1 and 2 as well as his underrated gem The Abyss. But enough about Avatar. Why do I hate 3D? Let me count the ways.
1. It’s a shameless cash grab
Just recently it was reported that movie tickets are now more expensive than ever. The average price is $7.96. If it’s a 3D movie it’s about three dollars more. Add in your popcorn and soda and a night at the movies is about $20. Basically you pay more money for the stupid 3D glasses. Especially with the economy being what it is, this is just shameful. The magic of the movie going experience should not be a luxury. 3D just exacerbates this problem.
2. Most 3D movies don’t need to be in 3D
Did The Hobbit really need to be in 3D? Lord of the Rings was released and 2D and looked pretty spectacular. Middle Earth’s magic doesn’t need a silly gimmick like 3D to make it a wondrous place on-screen. We already have the wizardry of Gandalf after all. Another recent example of misuse of 3D was Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. Does F. Scott Fitzgerald really need 3D? Gatsby is one of the greatest works of literature ever. The magic is in the story itself. Baz Luhrmann is a master when it comes to energetic and beautiful visuals. But the story and atmosphere of this amazing film did not need the 3D treatment. I highly recommend the film. But see it in 2D! Then there are movies that just shouldn’t have anything to do with 3D due to their subject matter. In 2009, the same year Avatar was released, a film called My Bloody Valentine was released. Yeah, a horror film in 3D. What could possibly go wrong? Then there’s this trend of classic films being re-released in 3D. Once in a blue moon they work. Jurassic Park in 3D was a real treat! But that transfer was done with a lot of care and the movie was already groundbreaking technologically. That movie holds up because when the film was made they spent equal time on the story and the effects and they worked seamlessly together. But now we’re getting classics re-released that don’t need to be ruined by shoddy 3D technology. Later this year The Wizard of Oz is being released in 3D/IMAX. I’m all for a new generation seeing a classic on the big screen. But don’t ruin it with 3D! You’re better of renting a projector or buying a big screen TV to watch the classics on.
3. 3D makes things darker
I have seen 3D films at many different theaters, so it’s not just the fault of the projectionists in my area. Once those 3D glasses go on the visuals become more murky. It greatly detracts from the overall experience. As an example, I saw Star Trek Into Darkness in 3D/IMAX. The IMAX part of the experience was worth it. The 3D part? Not so much. The movie already takes place in outer space so the visuals are going to be dark to start with. It hurts the visuals of one of the year’s best films. The action sequences in particular look better in bright 2D. You can boldly go and enjoy Star Trek the old-fashioned way.
4. New movie are becoming all about the 3D effects and not the story
There are movies about story and then there are movies that are special effects vehicles with bits of dialogue thrown in. I like a good special effects sequence as much as the next person. But it should enhance the story, not overshadow it. The sad part is, often 3D effects often aren’t even that great to look at. Sometimes you blink and miss where the 3D in the movie was. Even the last Harry Potter film had this problem. I saw it in the 3D/IMAX format. The result was what I usually get: the IMAX is great, but the 3D I can do without. And this year Iron Man 3 was released in 3D. While it was a god film, I felt too much time was spent on CGI and 3D. That’s not to say the story didn’t have great moments and the overall experience was enjoyable. I was just left wondering what would have happened had they put the same amount of money as they did into special effects.
5. It gives some people headaches
It takes more effort to watch a 3D movie. As a result some people have gotten headaches. 3D messes with your mind! The only thing worse than a bad movie is a bad movie that can make you sick just by the effort it takes to watch it. You think the shaky camera work of The Blair Witch Project is the most nauseating experience you’ll ever have? Think again!
There you have it! What are your thoughts on 3D movies? Sound off in the comments section!