I am going to get this right out in the open, I hate 3D movies. I think that they are a gimmick that at best, dresses up a weak movie, (as is the case for Avatar,) and at worst, unnecessarily raises the ticket price on a bad movie so that the studio might be able to recoup some loses, (as is the case with Air Bender.) But this is not the big problem I have with 3D. I think that 3D creates an disconnect between the film and the audience that is impossible to overcome and thereby ruins the film going experience.
I suppose I should explain. See, I like to be engrossed in a film. I like it to suck me in and make me feel as if I am there, lost in the world that is being presented on screen. It doesn’t matter if it is the streets of Casablanca, or a galaxy far far away, being lost in a story is the most amazing experience, and 3D stops this from happening. As a viewer, I sit back in the theater, put on the annoying, ill fitting glasses that have to go over my regular glasses, and wait for the movie to start. And what happens when the lights finally dim, and the 3D film begins to flicker? I think, “wow, what a cool effect.” Yep. that’s right, I actually think that the 3D stuff looks cool, but that is the problem, it NEVER allows me to forget that I am the viewer, or to steal from Roger Ebert, “…there is a cognitive disconnect.”
And to take this a little further, and to spoil the big secret that James Cameron doesn’t want you to know: the way our mind works, we automatically conceptualize what we are seeing on the screen in 3D. To show you what I mean, take a look at Mona Lisa, by the star of the fantastic new S.H.I.E.L.D comic, Leonardo DaVinci….
As you look at it notice how you instantly put everything into it’s proper place in a three dimensional world. Mona’s hands are in the foreground, closest to us, while the trees by her head seem far off in the distance. In other words, Leo was able to give me a sense of dimension and depth and he didn’t require me to put on any glasses.
All of this leads me to my biggest problem with 3D, it doesn’t improve a film. Would It’s a Wonderful Life really be better in 3D, (I can just see the pushed angle so it looks like Jimmy Stewart is coming right at the audience as he jumps off the bridge,) or the Godfather? No, not at all. Even the pillar of the modern 3D revolution, Avatar is not made better, only turned into a road side attraction that for whatever reason we just couldn’t pass up, (just how does the Mystery Spot in the U.P. defy gravity?)
Avatar is a flimsy movie at best. the plot is generic, and takes itself much to seriously for a film that ends with a hippy love in. There is no character development, the dialogue is flat, and I really have to ask, if a culture can jack into the world, couldn’t they have maybe had a little more warning about the intentions of the humans? In other words, I don’t see special conventions popping up for Avatar like they have for Star Trek and Star Wars. The only thing that made repeated theatrical viewings of this film necessary, was the 3D. More then once I heard, “I had to see it again ‘cus the first time I just paid attention to the 3D.”
About now you are probably asking yourself, “So what if J. Kalogerakos doesn’t like 3D?” A very fair question and one that I will answer in two parts. First, when 3D goes away as it always does, (and no, the new televisions aren’t going to take off, I can bearly ever find my remote, much less glasses that cost a hundred bucks to replace,) I am going to tell you all that I told you so.
Secondly, and most importantly, in these hard times, you may want to consider my arguement before you pony up the extra five dollars to see a film in 3D. I know, I know, it is only five dollars, but remember what the man on another bill once said, “A penny saved is a penny earned,” and then realize, it doesn’t take that many fivers to get a Franklin.