3-D Movies: Good or Bad?

10 Jun

A couple of weeks ago I was marooned at a Nissan dealership and needed a way to kill some time besides watching Steve [a Jerry Springer bouncer alum (don’t ask me how I know)] host his own mindless “try-to-top-this” dysfunctional low-life talk show. Fortunately for me, I was near a movie theater and with the time crunch I needed a movie that started right then and one that was under two hours. I found a movie that fit this criteria Shrek Infinity (aka Shrek 4 or Shrek: Forever After in the U.S.)……in 3-D. I pulled out my $10 bill for what should have  been a $7.50 matinée movie (I still remember paying $4 for a matinee when I was in high school) and walked up to the counter, proudly demanding “One for Shrek please!” I put the $10 bill on the counter and the registrar looked down at it like it was a guy that had just given her a lame pick up line at a bar then up at me like I was that guy’s crazy looking friend and said, “Oh baby, that will be $11. It’s 3-D.”

Oh, that's where it went.

Somehow, I managed to control my outrage and pull out an extra dollar and walk begrudgingly into the theater by myself, which was sad enough as it was (at least I had the uber-cool 3-D glasses to hide my identity). As the opening credits started I expected to see Shrek bounding out of the screen in all his 3-D glory to the tune of the over-used song “All Star” by Smash Mouth. Instead, it looked just like any other movie I had seen prior to the 3-D boom. The movie didn’t use 3-D to its advantage at all. I realized right then that I had been the victim of a gimmick. Shrek was capitalizing on the recent return to the excitement of 3-D as seen in “Avatar,” “Monsters vs. Aliens,” “My Bloody Valentine,” and “Clash of the Titans.” Out of those 4 movies, only 2 of them actually used 3-D for what it was meant to do, break the fourth wall and bring the exciting action into the audience.

I could be wrong, but I think after the success of “Avatar” we will see an increase in 3-D movies that will continue to grow until at least 50% of movies released in 2015 will be in 3-D. The television industry is already anticipating the boom by coming out with 3-D tvs and there are several more movies slated to come in 3-D in the second half of this year.

Nic Cage....in a car....in 3-D....COME ON!!

Is this a good thing or a bad thing for film to experience this re-invention of 3-D? I think 3-D is great if used in the right way, but I think Hollywood will start to produce too much of a good thing and it will wear out its welcome. It will be used more as a tac-on to a film as opposed to a device used to enhance the film itself. Producers are going to use the gimmick to line their pockets just a bit more by advertising a movie in 3-D, charging more for a ticket, but never really using the 3-D at all. There was not one time in Shrek 4 that I felt like the movie was breaking the fourth wall and there were plenty of opportunities to do it.

There are good ways to use it. I personally think it should be reserved for horror and animated movies.  Some animated movies have used it very effectively, plus it is fun for the kids, who aren’t really there to see a quality artistic film, to see stuff like that. As for horror movies, they have very little artistic value (most of the time) and the movies are made for shock value. Plus, the audience is there for gimmicks anyway. “My Bloody Valentine” used it brilliantly with a pick-axe swinging killer, especially when the pick-axe went through a sorry victim’s eye one time and right out into the audience.  In no way is this artistic, but this effectively enhanced the movie experience for the audience which is what 3-D should do.

 I really don’t see a whole lot of need for it anywhere else in film. There might be a rare action movie that could be really enhanced by it, but those are few and far between. I think Hollywood should use 3-D sparingly before it takes over the industry and takes away the art aspect of film. My fear is that producers will spend more time honing the gimmick than actually making a good film and will just contribute to the decline of originality and artistry in film.


4 Responses to “3-D Movies: Good or Bad?”

  1. Megan L June 10, 2010 at 9:16 am #

    Did you hear that Martin Scorsese said that he thinks even films like ‘Precious’ should be shot in 3-D? I think with the way things are going it’s inevitable and pretty soon they’ll all be in 3-D and we’ll be sitting at home on our couches using those stupid glasses for not just movies, but tv shows and even commercials (for those rare occasions when we watch things live and can’t dvr through them).

  2. Chris Petersen June 10, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    I’m disappointed that my favorite director is saying that. I am hoping that he would be able to find a way to use it artistically though. I have faith in him.

  3. Mum June 14, 2010 at 7:43 am #

    Chris, I think you are beginning to catch on to the idea that the “mostly worldly” film industry is just wanting to ride the latest wave if it means more revenue. Thank you for your critique.

    • Chris Petersen June 14, 2010 at 10:38 am #

      Thanks, Mum. This is stuff that I have been thinking for a while, but haven’t had the right way to communicate it. Thanks for reading!

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