3D in your face

2009-07-08 11:54
People may stay the same, but things are definitely changing – and mostly for the better. It wasn't too long ago that everyone was giving their toddlers dummies made of lead, shitting out their bedroom windows and dying from asbestos poisoning before they turned 40. Sure, now we have AIDS and crime, but in my experience, you can avoid these with simple precautions, like not shooting heroin into your crotch in dark alleyways, for example. And a few decades ago we used to have apartheid, which must be worth at least 50 million murders and a billion rapes. I'd hate to be a criminal in these optimistic times. All that pressure to perform...

But one thing that has stayed the same is 3D movies. The face-slapping effects you’re now seeing in Coraline and about to see in The Final Destination is just a technically  improved version of the same gimmick that's been around since the1920s. Back then, 3D's biggest selling point was that it was on the cutting edge of cinema technology – exactly as it is today.

My first experience with 3D – besides, you know, reality, was finding a red, plastic View-Master under the Christmas three – one of those boring-by-Boxing Day presents that was one step up from a cardboard kaleidoscope, but two steps down from something I could use to hurt my sister.

As a teenager I saw Jaws 3D, which seemed to be aimed at an audience with an irrational fear of Papier-mâché, and much later, Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (sic), with only the Hell-mind scene rendered in awesome 3D. I don't know what the producers were trying to tell their audience, but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they were a bunch of Satanists who thought they were making a travel documentary.

Now, once again, Hollywood's inability to entertain us on two dimensions has resulted in them seeking out the third. DreamWorks recently announced that every new movie it makes will be shot in 3D. Peter Jackson has said more or less the same thing, which would be great news if he would only go back to making movies about vomiting zombies.

These developments seem to indicate that 3D has finally matured passed its gimmick phase and is now set to become part of our regular movie-going experience – whether we like it or not.

Yes, it's much more expensive, but if you're reading this you can afford it, right? And it's probably also an anti-piracy tactic, which we're paying for, but those cam copies suck anyway, so no big loss. The primary question is: does 3D actually enhance something which is inherently a 2D experience?

Right now, 3D is mostly used in kids' movies. The new Ice Age, Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana concert movies will have your sprogs stumbling around like disorientated alcoholics emerging from the bar after a Saturday morning drinking session. You'd feel the same if you'd just spent the last two hours watching some woodland creature hovering within licking distance from your face. But enough about Miley Cyrus.

And as the My Bloody Valentine remake so ably demonstrated, 3D is the way to watch stupid naked teenagers getting viciously slaughtered. I also see a future in pornography, although all that constant ducking during the money shots might be dangerous for pervs with back problems.

Oh, and speaking of health concerns, if you have epilepsy/living with epilepsy/an epileptic (choose whichever one is the most political correct) you have to be careful, because if you're light sensitive, 3D movies might cause you to totally spazz out like a cocktail shaker on a bouncing castle.

But apart from standard popcorn fare, where else can 3D take us? How could movies like, say, Gran Torino, or The Bridges of Madison County benefit from 3D’s hi-tech shtick? Unless the thought of getting vertigo from Clint Eastwood's facial crevices is your idea of entertainment. And to be brutally honest, the technology would be completely wasted on Meryl Streep's boobs.

Right now, 3D is only good for movies that have little else going for going for them. Until filmmakers come up with a totally new way to tell stories, 3D will remain just an extension of Hollywood's tactic of bombarding us with an overdose of sight and sound, so that we emerge from blockbuster movies too cross-eyed and deafened to internalize the fact that we've just witnessed the filmic equivalent of a diarrhoea tsunami. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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