Friday, 12 November 2010

3D films

3D films seem to have gone into a bit of a revolution of late. The earliest memory of 3D for me is posters I used to get in the sunday times and other such newspapers. These used to come with the little red and green glasses, and yes, seeing a brachiosaurus in vivid 3D detail was quite exciting (until the glasses go missing/break). Since then, 3D has broken from stills to the movie industry, and recently to TV. The question I would like to pose is whether the hype really lives up to much?

Though, I am informed (via wiki) the first film in 3D was "3D Jamboree" in 1956, the first film I saw in 3D was Avatar (Yes, I finally succumbed to the media frenzy). Initially I was very impressed by the technology behind the film, it was genuinely amazing! But it ends there. As has been proved by public reaction, the film really was too long, with a fairly cliched and monotonous story-line. Since then, I have seen films like "UP" and "the last airbender" in the cinemas, and I've felt that my experience was really ruined by the 3D effects, which were in many cases completely irrelevant and pointless to the point of me questioning whether they were in the film to boost the visual effects, or just to prove a point.

Primarily, for someone not used to wearing glasses, having these cumbersome, chunky glasses on your head is a bit of a strange feeling, unavoidable I know, and a bit pathetic of me to mention it, they do hurt your eyes! But my main problem with the glasses is that they are slightly tinted, so that the film seems dark. It seems that way to me anyway, and to counter this, film producers should brighten the original movie or perhaps play with saturation/contrasts.

Another niggle for me is that in a cinema, a place which is essentially built for total immersion into the narrative, one cannot really fall into the spell or magic of the big screen when cartoony and unrealistic elements of the film decide to spray out from the screen. It goes some way to explaining why animated films are successful with this, whereas lots of the live action ones haven't quite hit the same plaudits (I don't even need to mention last airbender, which was butchered by m.night). I understand that the CGI may not be there yet, but if thats the case, then don't put it in!

Last year I went to the video expo in london, where I saw close up 3D television for the first time (I think they were showing tri nations rugby or something), and I had to admit, again, my initial reaction was WOW, this is amazing, the picture quality and everything was great. It doesn't mean that I want to watch a whole game in 3D, nor for that matter, a whole season. With 3D, it seems you are spending too much time trying to enjoy the nice and expensive effects that actually watching the sport. Its hard to follow, and not a pleasant experience.

Finally, it seems that porn has the final say on any technology, VHS and DVDs were born through porn's backing, and I for one am not in favor of 3D porn, im sticky enough after the cinema, covered in coke and popcorn to have to worry about other substances!

My conclusion is that while 3D is a very clever technology, and could have a great effect on films in the future, I believe that it is in a stage at the moment, where it only detracts from the enjoyment of the film. Can we imagine Casablanca in 3D? Would Schindlers List have benefitted from Jewish blood spraying from the screen? I wish hollywood would sort itself out, and actually try and write an original storyline, and not just rely on CGI and effects to cover their arses!

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