Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Emperors New Clothes in 3D

I don't even begin to understand the current craze for all things 3D.   We are seemingly in the grip of a fairly astonishing, 1984 style embrace of 3D technology from the major media outlets;  to paraphrase Orwell, "War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, 3D is desirable".

They seem to believe the 3D is what everyone wants, what they need, what they must have to enjoy a fulfilling cinematic experience.   I don't agree;  I think more and more people are seeing through the emperor's new clothes.

Personally, after seeing a fair few hours of television and films over the years, my brain is used to interpreting them without needing 3D.   Yours probably can too - in fact, anyone whose brain is able to interpret a rapidly changing series of pictures as a smooth-flowing moving picture is probably smart enough to interpret depth in that same series of pictures.

There aren't many people over the age of 2 who don't understand perspective.  The Irish priesthood comedy, Father Ted encapsulated it neatly when trying to explain the concept to his faithful but slow companion, Dougal:   "These", he said, pointing to some toy cows on the table in front of him "are small,.... but those", pointing to a field of cows, "are far away".

Thankfully, after a few years where it seemed every other release was using it, fewer and fewer films are now appearing in 3D.  Directors are going on record saying "there are no current plans to make this movie in 3D".  Why is that significant?   Well, it means that the people creating the film, the directors and cinematographers and the like, they're choosing to use two dimensions.

So, the film-makers don't want to use it and the cinema-goers are voting with their feet and proving they don't want to see it (where both are available, more are choosing to watch in 2D).  If these films subsequently come out in 3D then it's because the suits, the money-men, demand it.  Naturally, as the film hasn't been designed and shot in that format it will also mean that the additional dimension has been retrofitted.  This rendering process seemingly involves turning down the brightness, dulling all the colours, adding extra 'murk', picture distortion, a couple of coloured outlines at certain times and about £3 on the ticket price.

It's a tenacious fad, nothing more.  It didn't work in the 80's when they tried it.   Or in the 50's when then tried it.  I doubt very much if it'll work now.   It detracts from the filmmaker's vision and I for one will  try my level best not to watch another movie in 3D. To sum it up:  just because we can, doesn't mean we should. 

Incidentally, the film was fabulous - even better than I expected from the usually brilliant Luc Besson:  The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec.  5 stars.   There were boobs in it too!

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