How sweet of a movie title is that? Like, that’s up there with Mom and Dad Save the World. And it would be at least 1.25 times as good and feature 27% less Jon Lovitz. But this is not about vaporizing hand grenades or facial hair (well, maybe a little bit on mustaches if I’m feeling it). This is about 3D and its current state in the industry.
There is much hate in the heart of critics for 3D. Many decree it to be a fad, and a terrible one at that, a gimmick that will only spiral out of control until the format is killed again. I don’t count myself amongst their ranks though. No, I think 3D is a legitimate tool in the arsenal of the filmmakers of today and tomorrow.
Like many things, though, Hollywood seems all too willing to ride this horse into the ground, smiling and waving while 3D stumbles to its death.
Maybe. I hope not. I actually think not. But only time will tell.
Hollywood is not a magical land of elves and movie making machines. It’s a world of bottom lines and dollars. Once 3D proved itself to be somewhat economical and something of a draw, of course Hollywood was going to take that and run with it. The same way the Superhero movie blew up a decade ago or the way anything that makes money eventually spawns its own rip-offs. Hollywood does what works until it doesn’t anymore, then they just wait til it comes around once again.
3D is in a pretty solid place right now. I don’t think we’re in any danger of seeing these movies disappear over the next four or five years. To some, that’s horrible news. I, for one, welcome our third dimensional overlords. Right now we’re in the growing pains stage. My Bloody Valentine 3D and Beowulf were early 3D movies that had mass appeal while Avatar set the world alight with the friction of so many millions of credit cards being simultaneously swiped to cover the $16 ticket prices.
The new wave of 3D has only just begun – and that’s why we’re seeing hiccups. Post conversion, while it still sucks, has come a long way. It is now economically feasible for a studio to take a completed movie and turn it into a 3D feature to capitalize on the current trend. Think of these movies as those bolt-on spoilers everyone attached to their Honda back in High School. A few years later, car manufacturers, noting the success of add-on spoilers, started building them into more and more cars. Then, I would assume, the sales of bolt-on spoilers declined as your Eclipse already had one attached to it.
More and more films are going to be filmed in 3D in the future. This is not a bad thing. This is actually a very good thing, in terms of quality. The more films that are filmed in 3D likely means a drop in films that are converted in post production. Thus, the 3D we’ll see in the future will be of a higher quality. So if you just sit tight and quit shitting your britches for a moment, we’ll ride this small wave and then catch the Point Break like wave of epic awesomeness. For example, Marvel’s Thor is being post converted into 3D (pretty successfully, from what I’ve seen) while The Avengers will be shot in 3D. The difference? Time, friends. Time.
I’m with many people in the idea that post converting a film to 3D is generally a stupid idea. You’re never going to be able to do all that great of a job (though Thor may be on to something). But, assuming we suffer this wave and get to a place where movies that are released in 3D were filmed in 3D, is this a good thing?
Sure. As long as Hollywood does a few things. First, I don’t want to see Eat, Pray, Love in 3D. No one does. Certain movies beg for 3D. Others can make use of it. Some use 3D as a magnifying glass of awesome. Piranha 3D, despite not being a great film, is great spectacle. While I think it would be better in 2D as it stands, the idea of taking a ridiculous movie and then projecting it in 3D is brilliant. If only it had been filmed in 3D – though, perhaps Piranha 3D2 will be. And that, my friend, will be a good day.
So if a movie can make good use of 3D, why not use it? I say go for it.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, we need to get a consensus on 3D glasses. Someone has to take this fight to Blu-ray vs HD-DVD levels and destroy the competition. Depending on which theater you go to, you can end up with a variety of different 3D glasses.
There are two major types: active and passive. You’ll know (and hate) the active glasses because they’re three times heavier, twice as thick, uncomfortable as shit, and slide down your face while watching a movie. Some may have a lanyard attached or a big square smack dab in the middle. Either way, these suck because they’re uncomfortable. I’m not entirely sure what the advantage of active 3D glasses in a theater are – in the home arena, there are uses for having a more advanced pair of glasses, which I won’t go into.
In a movie theater, however, the key to 3D being comfortable is a clean picture (filming in 3D will erase some of the headaches people experience from post conversion, though some will never enjoy 3D) and a lightweight pair of glasses. My favorite glasses are the simple RealD glasses, the ones that kind of look like wayfarers. They function just as well as active glasses, but are more comfortable and less apt to slide down your face.
So, Hollywood, don’t fuck this up. Maybe take your foot off the gas for a minute and stop post converting a few films. The only way you’ll kill 3D is by beating it to death. If it seems injured, take your foot off the horse’s neck and let it breath. The technology is here to stay. If you give me a fun movie and a lightweight pair of glasses, I’m in. Hell, the movie can be serious too. Tom Jane’s directorial effort Dark Country had a nice depth to it thanks to the third dimension. Very little came out of the screen, but the image was deep and engaging.
Again, not every film needs to be in three dimensions. Just two have done us just fine for one-hundred years of cinema. But when you decide to do it, let’s put some thought into it and do it right. Because 3D can be engaging and, more importantly, a lot of fun. If you fuck this up for me I will enter a fourth dimension of boiling point.