I can recall a time when seeing movies in 3D was exciting. Not almost every movie that came out was offered in this format. Things sure have changed. As 2011 begins, it is clear that the 3D craze sweeping through Hollywood is not going anywhere. A slew of movies, over fifteen, will be released in the 3D format this year, from “The Green Lantern”, to “Drive Angry”, and to “Rio”, to name only a few. With 3D TVs here, it seems there is no escaping the 3D trend.
The question is: Do we really want more movies in 3D? Is it honestly worth the extra (often times considerable) money you will be shelling out? In most cases, I believe the answer is simply no. It is an unnecessary feature that doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, although it’s not always bad. There have been times when I was greatly impressed by the use of 3D. Most shockingly, the best use of 3D I have ever seen was used in Jackass 3D. The opening credits sequence alone was worth the money. Never has filth looked more stunning! John Waters would be proud. 3D also works exceptionally well for most animated movies. The best example I think of is DreamWorks’ “Despicable Me”. The visuals were dazzling and captivating. But the 3D used in this movie was the first example I have ever seen where the technology truly enhanced the movie-going experience. In some instances it does not make much of a difference. I saw Pixar’s “Toy Story 3” in 3D and 2D, and the 3D did not make a significant difference at all.
Another negative aspect about 3D is that some movies offered in this format aren’t even shot in 3D but are later converted in a complex process. The technology to film in 3D is there and can be impressive if used right. The problem is filming in 3D can be significantly more expensive. It is cheaper for film studios to create the affect after filming is completed. This process is also quicker but the final product isn’t always quality work. The conversion jobs can be inferior and cause the picture to look murky. It seems as if the studios are converting movies never intended to be in 3D just to take more of your money.
For all of the above reasons, I have not been sucked into the 3D hype. At its worst it’s a gimmick for studios to charge more for a movie that would be just as entertaining, if not better without it. Most recently Disney’s “Mars Needs Mom” which was made for $150 million, only grossed $19 million domestically. Hopefully studios will take this as a sign that not every movie should be made in 3D. As it is, big movie chains are already charging ridiculous prices for admission. You do have options. Many theaters simultaneously play 3D movies and their 2D counterparts. For now, I am wondering when this phenomena will end. From the look of it, we have quite a long wait. If it ever does come to be where we can’t choose between 3D and 2D, then I believe we will have a problem on our hands.