Posted by: themoviecheese | June 28, 2011

The Truth About 3D

Most people who know me already know just how I feel about 3D. It’s not that I hate it as such, I do in fact enjoy it in some mediums. But the current form of 3D does cause me some major problems. We are all being fed lies by various entertainment companies on the “revolution” that is 3D, so today it is my job to reveal these lies, so more people aren’t sucked in:-

1. 3D is NOT instantly accessible.

Unlike other forms of video (colour, black & white), the illusion of 3D isn’t something that is instantly accessible by the vast majority of the human race. There are various reasons for this, but the main one comes down to the way 3D works. A 3D film or television program or game sends two separate images and light signals to each eye. Which means certain images and lights are blocked out from a specific eye. This is what gives the picture depth, and thus the illusion of 3D. The problem here is that if you suffer from any one of the mild or serious eye defects out there, you aren’t going to see any third dimension at all. The most common symptoms that affect this are keratoconus or “lazy-eye” syndrome. These are biological defects with absolutely no way around them. In fact, it is thought that around 20% of British people alone can’t see 3D signals at all. And that’s just Britain. 3D is a manipulation of the eyes, this is the reason anybody with an eye defect may as well be watching a brick wall. Hell, my own brother can’t see 3D due to an eye defect. Also, one of my best mates can’t either, and to our knowledge he doesn’t even have an eye defect.

2. It’s all one massive money scam.

Have you been to a 3D movie recently? How much did you have to pay…£5? £7.50? How about a clean £10? Yeah, that’s right. A 3D movie caused the price of the ticket to increase. Some say this is down to the glasses themselves, but the problem with that theory is that if you take your own 3D glasses, you STILL have to pay that extra whack. Myself, I believe it is down to the amount of money that goes into making these films, but there in lies my other problem….

3. 3D films AREN’T as expensive as you think.

It’s true. 3D isn’t as expensive as the movie industry would have you believe. First of all, it comes down to how the film is shot. Out of all the big budget live-action 3D films released of of late, James Cameron’s Avatar is the only one to have been actually filmed in 3D with 3D cameras. The rest are post-produced during the editing process. This creates what many film critics refer to as “Retro-fitted 3D”. Now, don’t get me wrong, adding the 3D in post-production is also costly. At the end of the day, you need specific software to create two seperate film images to give an illusion that originally was never there. That’s not easy. But it isn’t even a fraction of the cost that it takes to actually shoot a film in 3D. This is where my gripe lies: if the reason that the cinema tickets are so expensive is down to the cost of the film itself, then that is total fucking bullshit considering the films aren’t even shot in 3D, which means the films aren’t that much more expensive. The most annoying thing about this is how fucking pretentious some film makers are being about 3D. Michael Bay recently joined James Cameron to explain to people just “How totally awesome and sweet filming in 3D is” – and yet his up and coming Transformers: Dark of the Moon HASN’T BEEN FILMED IN 3D. Michael Bay, you are a tosser.

4. It’s all just an anti-piracy scheme.

I’ve had this theory for quite a while now. We are constantly being told by countless film companies and film makers that “3D is the future” – The truth – which should be evident to anybody with even half a brain – is that 3D is the past. 3D has come and gone countless times, resurfacing in the mid-90s with the spaghetti western Comin’ At Ya. The only reason that it has resurfaced in such an astounding boom is that film producers (i.e. the people with the money and not the vision) have realized that it is next to impossible to pirate a 3D film. This is the reason why a lot of “3D” films now a days are only shown in that format, giving the audience no 2D option. And even if they do get a 2D option, the cinemas bump that showing down to the lower, smaller screens (as I found with my 2D showing of Green Lantern last week – even though it was opening week for a summer blockbuster, because it was in 2D {and there was a 3D option} they bumped it down to a screen no larger than a digestive biscuit, while moving the 3D version up to a screen the size of the fucking moon). Basically, being a cinema-goer you pay extra for something that you should be getting anyway. Anyway, back to “anti-piracy” – You all know that I am thoroughly against piracy, but 3D is being used as a weapon…an excuse, as a way to fight piracy. It’s pathetic. Big Hollywood studios want you to “believe in 3D” because they want to fill their bank accounts. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with “The future of film”, only “The future of film finance”.

5. It seems 3D is already starting to DIE.

Contrary to what many film studios would have you believe, it seems that the end of the current iteration of 3D is slowly upon us. It may seem like I’m talking potty, considering this year sees the release of around 20 3D films alone, but allow me to explain…

…Over the last few months there have been very soft 3D openings for Thor, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and Kung Fu Panda 2A lot more people saw those movies in 2D than those who saw it in 3D. Now, when you’ve got child-friendly fare like Pirates of the Caribbean and Kung Fu Panda not coming up big in the 3D department…you’re in trouble. You may remember a little animated film from a while ago called Despicable Me – more people saw that in 2D as well. Then there was the case of the movie Mars Needs Moms, which took a real kicking at the Box Office. Mars Needs Moms was one of those films that was released ONLY in 3D, which means audiences weren’t given an option – they were FORCED to pay that extra money. That led critics to believe that Mars Needs Moms failure was actually audiences (even children!) rebelling against the sheer tyranny of 3D!

And now, Hollywood is completely in crisis! In the last few months, stocks of RealD (the company behind cinematic 3D), Dreamworks and Disney have plummeted (by something between 10-15%) because their just not making back the money that it takes to make their 3D films.

What we have now is a summer of something like 10 3D releases, of which the tent poles are Green Lantern, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. These are the films that have to save 3D. Green Lantern is pretty much off the list for various reasons – A) It’s taking quite a huge critic lashing (despite the fact that I personally LOVED it), B) Once again it is Retro-fitted 3D, C) It’s barely going to make back it’s mammoth $200 million budget, and D) I know that once again a LOT more people went to see it in 2D rather than 3D. Harry Potter as we know is also a Retro-fit, it is shot in 2D (in fact, NONE of the visionaries involved even wanted it to be in 3D). Then, you have Transformers – a film by Michael Bay. When they started shooting 3D, initial reports were that the 3D was so bad that they were contemplating scrapping it all together.

Meanwhile, what we have ahead of us is JJ Abrams directing the sequel to his fantastic Star Trek reboot from 2009, which he says “He has no plans for it to be in 3D” – granted this could change from the producers’ perspective, but for now it seems Star Trek 2 is safe from the claws of 3D. Of course, we also know that Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Inception) is making the new Batman film The Dark Knight Rises – in 2D. Because as his FANTASTIC cinematographer Wally Pfister once said “3D is a fad, and I don’t want it in any of my films”.

It isn’t just films and cinema either…3D televisions have also failed to meet finance expectations despite countless manufacturers telling us they are “the future”. Also, outside of Japan Nintendo’s new 3DS isn’t really tempting gamers outside of buying it just for the chance to replay Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

Sure, there are people out there who have bought into the 3D gimmick like a fat kid buying into a giant cake, but they are currently a very small minority in the world of tech-heads, and it is very unlikely that they will ever grow into anything that resembles a “majority”.

Thanks for reading. Comments below as always…

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