Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Is 3D Dead?

It sometimes feels as if I'm the only person on the planet that still believes 3D is a viable storytelling device rather than a phase Hollywood is going through.  Almost every week people say that it's dead, that there hasn't been a great 3D experience since "Avatar," and that nobody cares about it anymore.  It's very disappointing to think that we have already forgotten about "Life of Pi," and how much the 3D helped that movie be what it was.  Even the late film critic Roger Ebert (who was an outspoken critic of 3D) admitted that the 3D in that movie was good.  And this was last November.  Yet less than a year later people are signaling the death bell for 3D once again.  They point to the fact that 3D tickets have amounted to less than 30% per movie this year (on average).  Surely that's proof that the format is dead right?  I've responded to criticism's with this one point: Do you know what the best 3D experience I've had this year is?

Answer: "The Smurfs 2."

Now this is not the best 3D movie I've seen all year as "The Smurfs 2" is easily the worst film I've seen all year.  But in terms of using 3D properly in a way that makes it essential to the story, this is the best I've seen the format used all year.  Now, think about that.  If THAT'S the movie that has the best use of 3D this year then that might explain why people are turning their backs on the format!  Who wants to see movies like "The Smurfs 2" at all?  When movies like "Monsters University" can't make good use of the format why spend the extra $3?  Even special effects films like "Man of Steel" and "R.I.P.D." are up-converted from 2D to be given 3D effects that only kind of work.  I mean, at this point "Avatar" is almost four years old.  "Life of Pi" is only months old.

Don't the studios realize at this point that up-conversion isn't the same thing as natural 3D, and that people feel slighted when they see it because they know they've been duped?  I said it early on and it's a shame that I have to keep pointing it out, but unless Hollywood makes more movies in natural 3D that makes the movie immersive then 3D movies are going to continue to tank.  People don't want to spend an extra $3 on a movie and have it look like a cheap pop-up book.  "The Amazing Spider-Man," "Life of Pi," and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" showed that if done properly, people will embrace it.  As for the people who said 3D at home is a dead thing I want to make the following comments.  Yes, 3D TV's haven't taken off as makers had hoped, but 3D technology is so cheap almost every TV comes with it now.  And in a few years all the TV's will have it and it will just be another feature.  Then it will be embraced.


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