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The Death of 3D Replies

Tuesday 21 September 2010, 18:36

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

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I recently predicted that contrary to contemporary hype 3D will not be the default mainstream movie experience in two years time. In fact I maintain that by then 3D will have reverted to its right and proper status as a sideshow gimmick. But with Werner Herzog producing a 3D movie, The Cave, and the reversioned 3D Titanic looming on our cultural horizon, you have kindly let me know your views on the matter.

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    Comment number 1.


    Nevermind having to bare 3D at the cinema, I don't know it i can continue to endure Dr K talking about it so inexhaustibly!

    Quick Mark, you've probably seen about 9000 movies in your day, we've had Possession, Brainstorm and Silent Running, please enlighten us all about a few more overlooked weird classics that have been have been sitting dormant in the VHS racks of the world.

    If you can get another seven as good at those 3, i'll eat my shoe. . . well. i'll eat my popcorn.

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    Comment number 2.

    I too am worried about the final 'Harry Potter' film being in 3D - I'm arguing about this on IMDB right now. Every fibre of Harry Potter's being belongs in the IMAX and thought of having to find some back door cinema to finish off this series genuinely and deeply angers me.

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    Comment number 3.

    Can we perhaps Ixnay on the 3D-ay for now folks? It's all getting a bit tiresome and repetitive (much like 3d itself!).

    Oh btw, saw "Winter's Bone" last night, after first being thwarted in my attempt to see Scott Pilgrim (posts passim) due to it being sold out; so much for it being a flop! Probably a good thing as WB was well worth the price of admission. It's certainly the closest I've seen American indie cinema has come to the ouvre of Ken Loach - a vivid portrait of a side of America rarely seen on screen. The lead (Jennifer Lawrence) deserves some film award nods, if there's any justice.

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    Comment number 4.

    What kind of shoe are you thinking of, I would suggest a moccasin.

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    Comment number 5.

    Whoever said that PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON would make an interesting 3D movie is obviously someone who knows nothing about Paul Thomas Anderson, a brilliant writer who has been against digital projection for a very long time, which he equated with being the world's best television set, so you can imagine what his views on 3D are. He is in love with films and has no time to distract his audiences with 3D. I can only hope that he will speak out against this non-phenomenon in the near future.
    The idea that Herzog is doing a 3D movie really does warrant the eating of a leathery shoe, but since he is still a man who has fascinating ideas about films then I'll give him this one.

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    Comment number 6.

    I recently saw Herzog's "Cave" movie at the Toronto Film Festival. The 3D shots in the cave were an example of all that is good about 3D. The contours of the cave walls highlighted the artistry of the painters, and were greatly enhanced by the 3D. Outside the cave, however, the film showed all the of limitations of 3D. The movement of people in the 3D environment seemed jerky and was highly irritating.

    3D has a place in certain kinds of documentaries, but is otherwise pointless at best, or annoying at worst.

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    Comment number 7.

    I was gutted when I first heard about the 'revolution' in cinema, because, having only the sight in one eye, 3D is permanently off-limits. Heartened was I then to hear your views, Dr K. And if James Cameron wants a benchmark for his groundbreaking sci-fi masterpiece, maybe he should check out the dull, flat 2D failure that was Incep... Oh, wait...

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    Comment number 8.

    I am dead against 3D, and I find it to be a patronising form of cinema akin to the Father Ted 'Hell' episode;

    "This, is very very small. But those? Are far away..."

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    Comment number 9.

    My brain just orgasmed a little at the idea of Lynch shooting 3D. Dammit Kermode, why did you even have to bring that idea up???

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    Comment number 10.

    While I agree completely with Dr. K's stance on 3D cinema I still have hopes for At the Mountains of Madness. H.P. Lovecraft's novella translated to cinema by Guillermo del Toro could be an interesting thing to watch on 3D.

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    Comment number 11.

    Dr. Kermode, I think by offering to eat your own shoe if David Lynch goes 3D you are actively lobbying for a campaign to get him to do so, which I for one support. Lynch for 3-D! Would the added spectacle of your footwear chewing add value to what would be an overpriced ticket in any case? Which leads to my second point: The only decent films I have seen in 3D are Monsters vs Aliens, Avatar, and Pirhana 3D. There were fine and actually worked, (where Toy Story 3 did not) as I believe these films were shot in 3D. But I abhor films being shot in 2D then 'retro-fitted' later, as to me this is plain fraud. Does trading standards not have a say in this? Or do the producers of counterfiet goods think they are beyond reproach as they are 'artists?' May I at least suggest a re-labelling: Just like a synthetically produced 'strawberry-style drink' does not contain real strawberries, 2D shot films should say 'A 3-D style film.' Then at least consumers know what they are in for (Dissappointment and a queasy feeling of wasted money).

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    Comment number 12.

    I wouldn't mind seeing Kate Windswept's jubblies in 3D, retrofitted or not...

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    Comment number 13.

    I wonder whats gonna happen now that kodak have apparently invented bright 3D which is supposed to solve the principal problem affecting 3D movies: the dimming of the picture once 3D glasses are put on with their Laser Projection Technology that produces a “bright 3D image display". maybe a new dawn or a dark forbidding future?

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    Comment number 14.

    I work in a cinema and notice the lack of enthusiasm for 3D movies. Hopefully this is just a phase of cinema and a quick phase it will hopefully be. Lets bring back the enjoyment of a film for its narrative pleasure and viewing pleasure based on pure camerawork and setting and not have to concentrate on a 3D experience that actually alienates people. Of course Avatar brought back audiences to 3D but now every film is trying on the novelty and I feel avatar was more than just a 3D movie. The sooner that 3D is gone from our screens the more we can start to enjoy cinema for the viewing pleasure it used to be.

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    Comment number 15.

    3D is indeed a gimmick - but that's OK.
    "Avatar", "Dragon" and "Christmas Carol" were brilliant examples - I saw "Dragon" again recently and, fun that it is, it is BETTER IN 3D (yes... BETTER IN 3D).
    Now these aren't 'serious' movies, but they are 'fun' ones.
    On the other hand, "Up", "Ice Age3" and "Toy Story 3" were completely pointless in 3D - of no use whatsoever. As I suspect most films would be.
    So, in summary, I *would* like to see 3D around in 2 years time - but only for the occasional fun/gimmick movie. I see no harm in that.
    I also predict that 3D TV will be a disaster - and without that backing up cinema revenues I think Mark will ultimately be proved correct.

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    Comment number 16.

    I fear Mark you are going to lose this one.
    Why?
    Not because 3D is better. Even if technology gets better for shooting and screening and one gets rid of the glasses. Just because one won't get to choose anymore. That is my big fear.
    I personally think cinema doesn't have to be and shouldn't be in 3D. It is a 2D experience just like painting for example and there is no need to change that. That 3D experience and technology is much better for video/computer gaming. Using it there makes much more sense.
    So why my fear?
    It's the same problem about how blockbusters "have" to be. We have the proof in Inception that mainstream blockbusters can still be witty and have explosions and shooting and car chases all in one, but still which kind of movies will be made en masse and bring in the cash? The bayformers-like ones. And already now we have a lot of movies that are virtually only screened in (retro fitted) 3D and they will be huge box office successes if it is only for their fan base to go and watch them, the in your clip mentioned Resident Evil or Harry Potter for example.
    There is an analogy in the computer gaming history. Once the games came in real boxes with the floppies or CDs inside with a booklike manual and some extras or gimmicks. Today you only get them in a cheap DVD case with only the DVD or CD inside. And it didn't happen because the consumers wanted it and bought them primarily, no, because the industry decided it, for obvious financial reasons in this case, and only offered the games in this kind of boxing.
    And as it happened with blockbuster movies that all are more or less of the same dumb making and i fear that will happen to 2D cinema. It will become extinct because the industries decides so because they can charge higher prices for the 3D and make, just a wild guess here, 5% per ticket more revenue.
    Only if the 3D movies make significant less money than their 2D screenings this future can be avoided but since so many movies are already virtually only visible in 3D I fear this is highly unlikely, since the people will go and watch it in 3D before they won't watch it at all on the big screen.

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    Comment number 17.

    How can the people who complain about having to wear glasses for a couple of hours while watching 3D movies be so insensitive? Think of our poor astigmatic, long or short sighted friends who have to view the world permanently through glasses. Grumbling about the slight, temporary inconvenience it causes you when wearing them to see a film, seems to me at least, uncaring towards the feelings of our bespectacled friends, some of whom lead fulfilled and complete lives......

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    Comment number 18.

    yes it is a hassle for us spectacle wearing people but then try wearing one set over the other and then you will really start having issues. I will be very upset if there is not a chance of watching HP 7 in 2D as I want to watch it for the story not for the shiny shiny effects.
    That being said I am looking forward to Tron in 3D as it will have been made from the ground up which is what 3D movies should be and not this whole retrofitting nonsense which due to the whole lighting issues around 3D movies makes what would have been a possibly beautifully lit movie something that will be a major eye strainer

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    Comment number 19.

    The argument for 3D seems to stem from the immersive argument in that it gives the audience a more complete experience. Alas those who champion 3D have probably never seen a film like Twelve Angry Men which can't help but immerse you fully. Simple story. Brilliantly acted. Excellently directed and shot.

    For me, to immerse the audience you need a good story and a good script. 3D is just a way of hiding the lack of it.

    I have seen several classic 3D films though. Jaws 3D was hilarious but I've yet to feel the need to see another one since I saw House of Wax 3D at the BFI a year or so ago. The place was packed and it got a round of applause at the end. I haven't felt the urge to see anything else in 3D since.

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    Comment number 20.

    One major factor you've neglected here is the amount of money the film industry has plowed into 3D technology. Given that a lot of cinemas screen certain releases exclusively in 3D, and that ticket prices are higher for 3D, why would the cinemas choose to stop now? They have a captive audience. Now that 3D TV is on the way, it seems more or less inevitable that it will become the industry standard, regardless of whether anyone wants it or not.

    The problem is, while nobody seems particularly impressed with it, there aren't enough people out there who actively hate 3D (I appreciate that you're doing your best on that score). Most people just go along with it out of indifference.

    If blue-ray can succeed, so too will 3D. I'll just stay at home and watch old black and white movies on VHS.

 

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Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark is the UK's leading film critic.

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