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3D - Dead Or Alive? Your Responses

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Mark Kermode Mark Kermode | 10:52 UK time, Tuesday, 2 October 2012

I said recently saying that I thought 3D was half-dead - here are some of your reactions to that post.

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3D Alive or Dead?
Come in Number 3D, your time is up

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Blinkin' 'eck! "I'm right, and you're often righter." Where did Mark "Humble" Kermode come from?!

    Anyway, love the idea of taking action on distributors with the argument of discriminating against less-than-perfectly-sighted customers. Maybe in a less bullish fashion than a court proceeding though - Dr. K could start a petition, get a press release out, harness social media. It could generate a lot of buzz and, who knows, might even make a difference!

  • Comment number 2.

    I agree with MarkoosMuse. I was a fan of 3D when "Avatar" came out, and think that some animations likes "Up" and "Toy Story 3", as well as "Hugo", did something interesting with the format. But the more 3D there is, the less interesting it is - having seen "Thor", "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn", "John Carter", "Prometheus" and "The Amazing Spider-Man" in 3D, and found that the third dimension added little or nothing to these films, I am fed up of paying extra for the privilege. I missed "Dredd" altogether because I am not prepared to pay the extra cost for 3D, and I recommend that Dr Kermode start a petition, that we can all sign, get the word out, and tell distributors that they can make more money out of us with 2D, especially with IMAX. Unite, comrades, unite against the bourgeois pig dogs that tell us how many dimensions we should view in!

  • Comment number 3.

    I just don't understand how people can compare this splurge of 3D to the introduction of sound in film. Sound was a complete game changer. As a means of story telling, a silent and a talkie are two very different things. The difference in acting styles alone changes how the story is or can be told. Many silent stars didn't survive the transition to talkies because of this enormous change. I don't think any current star will see their revenue decline because their face doesn't look right floating a little above the screen.

    Static image to moving image is one thing. Silent to talkie is another. 2D to things occasionally poking out of the screen to remind you you're watching a 3D film just does not compare.

  • Comment number 4.

    After recently watching my seven year old son reaching out to pop a bubble floating across the screen in Ice Age 4, I began to doubt my sanity. I have NEVER had that kind of immersive 3D experience in the cinema. It got me to thinking about my eyesight. After a little research it turns out that as many at one in twenty of us cannot see 3D at all. After trying the eye-hop game (http://www.vision3d.com/ehop.html%29, I can confirm that I am "3D blind". I am not alone. MORE 2D please!

  • Comment number 5.

    Sorry, here's that link again:

    http://www.vision3d.com/ehop.html

  • Comment number 6.

    i say get rid of 2d and just give us imax and 3d - why go to a cinema to watch 2d?? when you can download it to the comfort of your non distracted laptop?? if i want to go to the cinema i want the wow factor like i'm at universal studios florida - so my 2 choices would be imax and 3d - get rid of speckled 2d and keep moving forward - heck i want interactive hologram movies before i die

    and here's another argument i would love you to discuss good dr - why oh why in this day and age do films not release on the same day worldwide - how can hollywood not expect people to download dvdrips or hd camcorders if they wont release the film on a twitter trending same day - i dont want the story spoilt during the month that i wait for it to come to the cinema - this is something i am hating a lot currently living in cyprus - dredd 3d hasn't even come to this country and i don't think it will

    also blurays should come out a lot sooner - heck films like weird science haven't even been put on bluray yet - i'd love to help hollywood by giving them my money but they can't help themselves

    everything is so painstakingly slow in what i would consider the future of technology compared to 10 years ago

  • Comment number 7.

    i dont think IMAX is for everybody or for every film. I saw DKRises at the worlds largest IMAX in sydney. i had to get up from my seat half way through to sit at the back just so i could actually see the whole image (not a joke). the front 10 or so rows actually made the film unwatchable as it was like putting your nose against the screen of a TV. Id like to say i embrace change but in the case of 3d and to some extent IMAX im not sure i like it. cant i just have my old enjoyable cinema experience back please, no stupid glasses, no extra fees and no vertigo.

  • Comment number 8.

    As someone who has had to suffer headaches through the few times I tried to watch 3D movies I was immensely dissapointed to find that my local cinemas were only showing Dredd in 3D. Emails to the cinemas in question about whether or not 2D screening are forthcoming have been met with bland "We can only confuirm screenings on a week by week basis".

    So I have to ask, in this sort of situation is pirating the film a viable option?

    Even though I haven't seen any evidence of them apparently some people have sighted the mythical beast that is a 2D screening of Dredd so I have to wonder why on Earth all the multiplex cinemas with more screens than I can shake a stick at are not showing it in my region?

    Mark touched on this in an earlier blog about a British film that released in cinemas, on DVD and digatal distibution at the same time and I believe Gabe Newell (although he is from the video game industry and not movies) of Valve Software said it best with (paraphrased) "Piracy is a service issue, not a price issue". Right now there's a service that I am willing to pay for, that the cinemas can provide, but for some reason they aren't offering. If they continue to not offer the service (which is, to be blunt, a service that their whole existance is based around offering) then it's only a matter of time before my patience wears thin and I seek out that service elsewhere.

  • Comment number 9.

    I completely agree with you. 3D is rubbish, it ads nothing to the experience, in fact sometimes it makes it worse. It's like having to pay more to have your popcorns eaten instead of eating them yourself!

  • Comment number 10.

    I hate 3D with a passion. If the story is good then there is absolutely no need for 3D. It always makes for very uncomfortable viewing too as I find your head has to be in a certain position to get the 3D effect. Kill it, it's not worth it.

  • Comment number 11.

    Mark, you didn't bring up Del Toro's 180 on 3D. Del Toro:-

    "the more the ILM shots arrived, the more I realized that there were only a few shots that would miniaturize. I asked the studio, number one, that we would not hyper-stereo-lize the thing. That we would not force 3D on the beauty shots. That we would keep the giant dimensions. They agreed. Number two, they agreed to something very unusual. Normally a conversion takes a few weeks. I asked to start it immediately so we could take the full 40 weeks to do the conversion. As an example, Titanic took about 50 weeks to convert. The final thing that I asked that they agreed to, which was amazing, was that I asked them to give me an extra budget, which is considerable, to actually have ILM composite the shots that are CG native 3D. We’re not giving elements. ILM is giving the composite in 3D from the get-go. That’s a huge, huge element. Now I’m going to be involved in supervising it. What can I tell you? I changed my mind. I’m not running for office. I can do a Romney.”

    Also how people feel with the comparisons between the effect 3D has on a film and the effect Surround Sound has on a film? Forget the glasses, we're talking about the film-making aspect (in a few years time the glasses will be gone). People don't comment on the fact that Schindler's List was mastered with a 5.1 soundtrack, which adds very little to the cinematic experience.

    My personal feelings in terms of distribution are that sure 2D prints should be available in every cinema because what it amounts to is a choice in presentation. The decision as to whether a director should make a 3D film or not is null and void - make it in 3D and let the audience decide how they'd like to have the film presented to them. Obviously money plays a large part so to that end shouldn't people have the chance to pay for what they want - that might mean there should be more 2D prints available but perhaps 2D tickets should cost the same as 3D tickets, that means an increase in cost of 2D tickets!! How would people feel about that?

    The IMAX argument...well it's confused. A large portion audiences don't understand the difference between IMAX cinemas and IMAX 'the format'. People don't realise that Prometheus IMAX is a non-IMAX film retro-fitted to an IMAX projector (but still not formatted to fill the IMAX screen - just blown up to fill the width of the screen).

    So far there have only been what, 5 major motion pictures to actually use the IMAX format properly and even those films only used the format IN PART (Dark Knight, Transformers 2, Tron, MI:4 and The Dark Knight Rises). My question is isn't the changing format of the picture as much of a Brechtian device as wearing the glasses for 3D?

    IMAX may well be the future but a) there are clearly things that need sorting (size of the camera) so that a film can be shot entirely in IMAX and b) it isn't exclusive from 3D - IMAX are working on a 3D IMAX camera.

    So the future may well be IMAX 3D!

  • Comment number 12.

    As an electrical retailer I'm inclined to agree with you, the pick up for 3D TVs has been pretty poor despite the huge increase in content. People just don't want to wear glasses! Customers also tell us that if they want 3D they'll go to the cinema and even then they say it detracts from the story line!

    Smart TVs with on demand streaming though is huge for the movie industry and I can see Netflix and Love Film become an essential subscription in many homes in the next two years.

  • Comment number 13.

    I'd also add that the price of 3D tickets of £13+ is far too expensive in the economic climate, what's more domestic 3D growth is also held back by the simple fact that many people have just upgraded their TVs with the Digital Switchover which is only now approaching it's conclusion in the UK with Northern Ireland later this month http://www.armaghelectrical.com/blog/2012/09/digital-switchover-countdown-in-northern-ireland/ Many consumers feel they need a breather from technology upgrade me thinks...

  • Comment number 14.

    I don't mind you banging on about 3D Mark, most of the time I agree with you. However it's getting to the point now where you're doing that instead of reviewing the movie (Dredd's a good example of this). That seems a bit disrespectful to those who made the film and, more importantly, really frustrating for me when I'm hoping to hear your opinion on a movie’s content and not its presentation.

  • Comment number 15.

    truly this is a historic day: the Good Doctor has admitted to being less right than usual. personally I hate 3D. I've had to watch POTC4, Puss In Boots, and Hugo in 3D and the different quality of the films did not change the fact that in all 3 cases I found the 3D glasses annoying, I hate the light and colour loss and especially the higher ticket prices. maybe it's also because the distributors catering towards a different class of people when it comes to cinema. The peasants can live a miserable life outside while the high and noble royalty can go to see the movie. isn't exclsion of the 2D prints a violation of free movement of goods or a violation of EU competition law or at the very least a restriction on free movement of goods? i think the only way to make corporate tyrannies aware that we're not going to get pushed around is by bringing a case against these practices to court. lets just hope that we'll get another reprieve for a couple of years but in the corporate-friendly environment in the globalized market that now, sadly, seems unlikely.

  • Comment number 16.

    Has anyone given any thought as to how subtitles would work in a 3D film? I imagine the effect would be really jarring if they were 2D against 3D, and 3D subtitles would be an absolute nightmare for an entire film.

  • Comment number 17.

    On the discriminating of disabilities idea is it any different to when they added sound. Suddenly they're making it harder for the deaf to see films...

  • Comment number 18.

    I agree with the good doctor on the walking dead statement but I just read an article on the site Den Of Geek who were revealing the US box office performance so far for Dredd 3D and its not been good despite possitive reviews. Here's a brief exerpt they reported on 1/10

    "Several readers have got in touch with us saying that they've been actively looking to see the film in 2D, but been unable to find a local showing."

    "It is a bit odd, though, that the common complaint about comic book movies is their fixed desire on a PG-13 rating. When one comes along that gets good reviews, and is willing to leave its sharp edges in tact, it simply struggles to make the desired impact."

    Maybe 3D is aimed at youngsters with a more disposable income as apposed to worrying about a mortgage or kids of their on. Adults could care less about the 3D gimmick and as a fan of this comic at 33 years old I would prefer to wait for the DVD as apposed to frittering my hard erned cash on something that should go back to the theme rides in Florida.

    P.S is Disney set for another John Carter with The Lone Ranger? Come to think of it Should John Carter now be a new word for expensive bowel movement? Like when you need to go at the train station.

  • Comment number 19.

    I have no problems viewing things in 3D - my hand is 3D and I can see it perfectly. Dredd 3D and all these other films are in stereo, and they look worse as a result.

  • Comment number 20.

    I thought the 3D in Dredd was interesting because rather than have things fly out of the screen it was used to enhance the depth of particular scenes. I'm still annoyed that I was focused to watch the 3D version and spent the film constantly adjusting the glasses that were sat on top of my prescription ones.

  • Comment number 21.

    Hi Mark! Big fan of the blog and love listening to your opinions on the latest films.

    I'm gonna have to be honest though, I'm a bit sick of the whole 3D-2D debate. I don't mean from you, but from everyone that seems to feel that they have to pick one side or the other.

    Isn't it possible (now bear with me for a second) that BOTH could get on with each other! I love movies and am constantly going to watch the latest releases at the cinema. I've watched 2D, 3D and IMAX films, and I have to say that at the end of the day, it's the film that ultimately dictates whether it is good or not.

    I've seen good 3D films and I've seen bad 3D films, good IMAX films and bad IMAX films. It's not that one technology is better than another, it's that some films work better with different technologies.

    For example:- I saw Avatar when it first came out in 3D and was blown away with the whole experience. The 3D technology seemed to add something to the enjoyment. Since then, I have seen Avatar in 2D and admit that it isn't as good as when I saw it in 3D.

    However:- I also saw Prometheus in 3D and found that it was a little distracting from the story. I much preferred watching it in 2D where I could enjoy the film more.

    There are many other examples of this, but for me those two stand out.

    Now, I realize that 3D cinema go back a long way, but it has only been in the last 3-4 years that the technology has really got to a point where it is accessible. Those dodgy 80's 3D films were awful because the technology didn't really work.

    3D cinema still has a way to go, but the technology is still improving. With products like the Nintendo 3Ds, it's not hard to imagine that we will be watching films where we can "choose" whether to watch them in 2D or 3D in the near future.

    I believe that 3D is here to stay, but ultimately it's the films that justify whether the technology works for it or not. You are going to get good & bad 3D films, so lets embrace the good ones. Maybe we are seeing more bad ones than good at the moment, but as the technology gets better and it becomes less of a gimmick, then we will see it for what it is - just a different way to enjoy story telling!

  • Comment number 22.

    That's a good point about visual impairment. I'm blind in one eye since birth, so 3D is of no use to me and I obviously avoid those films, or go for the 2D alternative. I'd love to see Hugo as intended, but that's just not going to happen.

    As an aside, the only 'effect' I've seen that half-works on monovisioned people like me is at Universal Studios in Florida, where their '4D' technology does seem to leap off the screen (and literally does come out of the screen in some shows, like Muppets 4D). But these are mega-budget industrial 'rides' in custom built theatres, so aren't scaleable in any commercial sense.

    The main problem I have with 3D is that it's not something that can be replicated on DVD or download. Huge screen sizes that fill your field of vision are a large part of the trick. So even if you really really liked a 3D movie, once it's finished at the cinema, the chances of ever seeing it again 'properly' are slim to zero.

  • Comment number 23.

    I wonder if there can be special screenings (in terms of 2D and 3D) for visual impairments in addition to the screenings for audio-visual impairments. There is something like this for Autistic people, so why not others?!

  • Comment number 24.

    I'm sorry to say that as time goes on I may actually be becoming a convert to 3D. I think this is mainly because the more 3D films I watch the less I care about it. By this I mean that it is increasingly _not_ the thing that is the focus of the film, and bit by bit directors are starting to incorporate it into their tool kit rather than have it be the one aspect that dominates everything else. This is also why I don't think Hugo is the watershed moment you speak of, precisely because Scorsese so desperately wants to draw your attention to his tools and for you to see how clever he is being with them (a big problem with many of his recent films IMO). Compare this to the drug sequences in DREDD where the 3D works to enhance the visuals, while the rest of the time is 'just there' without explicitly drawing focus to itself.

    Of course, DREDD still has 3D in its title, but then distributors still see it as a feature checkbox that can be used to hike prices. In time this will pass and something else will become the 'must have' feature. I also agree that the technology is not that different from that of old and in order for it to reach true acceptance glasses-less 3D is a must. I'd also add that I don't buy the argument that 3D discriminates any more than to say all colour films discriminate against people with colour blindness. I wear glasses and although would prefer not to have to 'double stack' I find 3D glasses to be far less distracting than a noisy audience or the stray light from a rogue mobile phone.

    I'm increasingly convinced that 3D does have a future, only one where it is just another colour on the directors pallet rather than the thing that is only added in the hope of bolstering box office numbers. It's not there yet but I can at least see where it is headed.

    Glasses-less 3D at IMAX resolutions operating at 48 fps, anyone? Yes, I want it all!

  • Comment number 25.

    Good video.

    I remember my first 3D experience when I saw Avatar with my folks, and it left me with dizzy spells ever since. Funny thing is that now my family and I have developed a bad habit of seeing 3D films-- but we don't get dizzy spells anymore(that's a health concern I should keep in mind).

    Anyway, what I wanted to ask Kermode if he ever read Roger Ebert's article in TIME magazine on the overuse of 3D in films? I thought it was a provoking peace and really summed up everybody's feelings.

  • Comment number 26.

    I think to whine at Mark for talking about 3D is a bit much. He's a film critic, and it's an important film issue.

    Whether you like 3D or not, it's being rolled out everywhere irrespective of what anyone might think - under the paper-thin premise of being advancement. Nobody thinks distributors are in it for the love, but it's disturbing stuff, surely? Knowing that it will create problems for some, whether it be nausea or issues with eyes, and rolling it out anyway, is cynical in the extreme. Then there's charging for those glasses on top of that.

    In terms of the viewing experience - aside from the fact that it hurts my eyes - I don't think it adds anything. It's a pure, throwaway novelty. Difficult to pirate, sure, and with a fancy label, but in no way an advancement.

    I do think the point made - the quality will grow with the technology - is reasonable. However, if we're currently at the experimentation stage, then it's plain irresponsible to not be issuing both 2D and 3D prints.

  • Comment number 27.

    I think the question isn't if 3D will be phased out. It's an issue of when. I remember in 2010, Mark predicted it would be gone within 2 years. However now we're in 2012 that time has passed, and the prediction has not been fulfilled.

    I think that 3D is largely a marketing gimmick. It's seen as something new and interesting, and therefore gives studios and cinemas the ability to charge more money for tickets, however after the market becomes saturated, and after the novelty wears off, so will 3D's popularity. The real question is, what will come first? the novelty wearing off, or the market saturation? surely it's an issue of precedence.

    I can't predict when 3D will die out. It could be another 2 years, it could be another 5. However I think it will eventually, for the reasons I've stated.

    I think the real future is in IMAX, as you get more rather than less. It's not a gimmick, but rather a refinement of what was never broken to begin with, which is 2D cinema. You get better picture quality and more sensory realism, instead of 3D's muted sense of colour, distance, and perspective.

  • Comment number 28.

    I hate 3D, I object to having to pay extra and wear uncomfortable glasses to see a film that looks exactly the same to me in 2D as in 3D (with the glasses). Please keep on going on about the awfulness of 3D!

  • Comment number 29.

    I've been meaning to make this comment for along time so I'll do it here:

    I watched "How to train your dragon" last year on DVD and thought the "depth" & "width" of many of the shots really gave the film some nice texture. I then realised it had been created for 3D.

    I saw Hugo (which didn't need to be in 3D at all)...I took my glasses off during the panorama over aris at the start and also during a number of other shots and again the depth and use of perspective into the screen fleashed out the shots.

    A few shots in Underworld: Awakening (saw in 2D) were shot to show depth and breadth for the 3D but enhanced the shot even in 2D.

    Hence, I would love it if film-makers making 2D films could think about adding the depth and breadth to their shots as it does add to them. After all painters do exactly the same thing within the 2D realm to give paintings more of a depth and threednedd to them.

  • Comment number 30.

    Thanks for reading out my (angry) mail!!! I was surprised that you did!!! You made a fan living in Saitama Japan happy! Keep up the good work! (If possible without talking about 3D)

  • Comment number 31.

    Mark, I am not as anti-3D as youa re. i think like Christopher Nolan saidin his interview with you, All he wants is for the audeince to have a choice. Now Nolan is anti-3D good for him, I like it when a filmmaker makes a stand agaist something they are against. However I like on the flipside someone like Jojhn Lassiter who does theoppoiste and amkes a stand for 3D. Actually what would be good is get an advocate for 3D and an advocate agaisnst it, let them debatre it. However I think 3D does ahave a place in things like horror where like in my Bloody Valentine 3D or even to an extent Drive Angry 3D. So here's a question to you Dr Kermode, Do you think the Dark Knight Rises was improved by IMAX, you said you would see it in IMAX, was the experience spectacle, film in general enahnced in any way? if so nhiow so? I not then how is it any better than 3D?

  • Comment number 32.

    I personally dislike 3D, I dislike the loss of light, the glasses irritate me and I don't feel like it enhances a lot of films I watch..
    Working on the exhibitor side though, i'm not sure about some of the things said in reaction to the above video blog. There was huge investment for lots of cinemas in 3D, and this does need to be paid back. The glasses also cost money, but I can understand people dislike paying the extra whether the economic climate is good or bad. That said, if you are willing to pay there are clip on 3D glasses which are so much better than wearing a second pair over your prescription glasses.
    However, don't think the 3D roll-out was every single projector in every single screen, it wasn't. Some cinemas only have 2 3D projectors, some have 1. Exhibitors didn't jump fully into 3D. Avatar kick-started 3D, and the 3D-2D split was hugely in 3D's favour and the next few films like Alice In Wonderland performed wonderfully in 3D, convincing exhibitors that there was a demand for 3D hence more projectors being converted. But then came Clash of the Titans, which was an awful conversion. Suddenly customers felt the surcharge wasn't worth it. Then the family audience tired with a crap 3D film like Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and the split became closer to 60-40 for 3D. Cinemas only have limited screens, but often you can find 2D and 3D performances of the same film, but not always. Last week you would have found Brave with 2D and 3D performances in the same screen, giving genuine choice. There are still people out there who think the 3D adds something, an audience to cater for.
    As for 3D dying out, I think we have to wait until Avatar's sequel to see. Films will be made in 3D or converted while studios think they will get a good return on them. I don't think anymore or less people will go see Resident Evil 5 because it is in 2D or in 3D. If you like the franchise, you will probably go see it even if it is exclusively in 3D. So as a studio with profit targets why wouldn't you release it only in 3D? Ice Age takes about £20 million each film in the UK market. Everyone of those customers would see it in 2D, but it makes economic sense if you can make more money out of the 3D customers than it cost to convert it to 3D.
    Lastly, Imax to me is the Southbank Imax, and I don't think that is even 70mm anymore. It is such a strong brand with consumers it probably doesn't matter, but these multiplexes that are converting their smaller screens to 'Imax' to brand them Imax is a bit of a stretch.

  • Comment number 33.

    interestingly, the argument of exclusivity continues in other formats. the recent bluray release of Prometheus can be bought for around £15 for a 2D copy with around an hour of extra features included. however, should I wish to watch 'over 7 hours of extras' including additional and extended scenes, I have to purchase the 3D bluray which includes a 2D copy of the film.
    this seems to me to simply be a way for the studios to justify and inflate the demand of the 3D format. I'm voting with my money and not buying either version at present. this s
    could become the sharp end of the wedge I fear.

  • Comment number 34.

    Even when 3d is executed well (Prometeus / Avengers) I still find it to be a novel disstraction that (along with the glasses) gets annoying an hour in. Now sadly the cinema going populace aren't all discerning Kermode Uncut fans and there's the rub: until we all at large reject this novelty, we'll be continually forced into pricey tickets, hideous glasses and comprimised picture quality. I think you have more faith in the general public than I do Mark.

  • Comment number 35.

    the more i read, the more i start to see that this is just a jealous moan from people who don't have 20/20 vision, or money during the great depression, or hate putting things on their face for the sake of investing in technology that is still evolving "this technology should be perfect without my contribution", stop moaning you all sound like 5 year olds, go back to cinema pre 80's, avatar 3d changed the world and very few people know how to replicate a movie at the standard of king cameron - deal with it - you don't see many directors using body builders as lead actors either do you?, hollywood just doesn't understand how to make a film like these rare legends, ultimately we are moaning at bad films, different formats cannot help a bad film

    /watch?v=5ia3AI7nDy4

  • Comment number 36.

    If a was shot in 3D, as opposed to being retro-fitted into 3D, then that is how the filmmaker intended it to be seen. Films like La Haine and The Man Who Wasn't There, were shot in colour and converted into black and white in the lab. If audiences complained about not being able to see the colour version, we would all deride them for being childish about B&W. Dredd was intended to be seen in 3D, if it sucks because of this you'll be justified in saying so.

    Unrelated to this discussion, a request to the BBC tech guys. Could you post some of Kermode's reviews, as i recently saw Holy Motors and would love to read the thoughts of others on this blog.

  • Comment number 37.

    Mark,

    You said "3D has been around for over a century, if the technology still hasn't caught up perhaps it never will". I'm presuming this was just a throw away comment, or is this something you believe?

    Fundamentally, projection technology has followed a similar path to phone technology over the last 100 years. It's only really over the last 5 years that things have really started to take off with phones. Cinema and home theatre technology is no different.

    There are incredible amount of advanced to be made in 3D technology over the next few years. The brightness issues will almost certainly disappear along with ghosting and flicker (with active glasses). There is potential of glasses free 3D with eye tracking and many other incremental improvements.

    Don't get me wrong I actually agree that 3D doesn't add much to the cinema experience and is something of a gimmick. But as a tech geek I can assure you there are substantial improvements to be made in this tech. And given the amount studios and firms like Samsung and Sony seem to be invested I would be surprised if these improvements don't make it to market. (Although I hope they give up and they don't)

    All the best,

    Thomas

  • Comment number 38.

    I was impressed with watching Avatar at the Waterloo Imax in 3D just a few days before xmas. But that's the trouble with 3D:

    1) The film has to make it work/make sense for it.
    2) The screen should be equally awesome as the above venue's - not too near, not too small etc.
    3) The glasses they provide are like bug-eyes - they're huge and really light, so not too bad to wear at all; definitely much better than the clarke kent glasses I've seen elsewhere.
    4) Marquee occasion to spill more money on a trip to the flicks?

    But equally I've enjoyed going to the odd "film night" at a local pub or other eg even if the projection equipment and sound systems are not top quality, these sorts of venues in a backroom or underground are very good. I remember a pub called the Brass Monkey in Edinburgh had divans and backroom for people to lounge on while watching the latest film showing! Low-tech is equally good.

  • Comment number 39.

    I love 3D as I find it more immersive, although after a while I do find I forget I'm watching a 3D film. The only times I have been disappointed with a 3D film is when the movie has been filmed in 2D and has been processed to 3D, such as Alice in Wonderland; flat 2D objects in a 3D environment just doesn't work.

    I think 3D is here to stay. I believe that we do have the technology for it to work and it will only get better. I don't think directors needs to consider how their films will look in 3D, just that they shoot using a 3D camera. Avatar is a masterpiece all other 3D films should follow.

  • Comment number 40.

    3D may or may not be dead, but one thing for sure Tony Scott is dead and you still haven't made a blog about him....and who gives a monkeys about 3D really. If you don't like something, switch off.

  • Comment number 41.

    I would have loved to have seen Dredd in the Imax. I'm still a believer that the 3d in Dredd did an excellent job in accentuating the comic, pulpy look of its source material, but the imax is something genuinely breathtaking.

  • Comment number 42.

    ImAX is just an expensive gimmick for some smug people living in big cities and a few films. There is no chance in hell that is is can be economically viable for the rest of the country to build massive IMAX screen in small towns

  • Comment number 43.

    I believe you may have just apologised for your lack of attentiveness towards your readers AND accepted that some people actually disagree with your opinions vis a vis 3D. However, remember it is your forthright opinions and passionate views that inform and entertain, however misguided they may be. But thanks for the self effacing apology anyway.

  • Comment number 44.

    It is noticeable that 3D is still reserved for big budget SF/Fantasy movies or shlock horrors (Piranha 3DD). There doesn't seem to be any appetite (or budget) for rom-coms or mainstream dramas in 3D. The success of Looper would appear to prove it aint necessary.

    What Hollywood needs is more good movies. I'm still unconvinced though that the expensive multiplex will survive the spread of on-demand downloads.

    As for Tony Scott - "If you don't like something, switch off." My attitude to most of his movies I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 45.

    Thanks Mark for reading out our responces.

    To me it seems that 3D is like when the Girl your crazy about get a new boyfriend, you have to put up with it as they are here to stay for the time being, but you hope one day comman sence will kick in.

  • Comment number 46.

    The first film to make pitch perfect use of sound was Lewis Milestone's All Quiet on the Western Front. It's sound design to this day is still unnervingly realistic and maybe the best use of immersible sound ever. It changed the way I watch movies. Ridley Scott, James Cameron, and Christopher Nolan are truly gifted with sound design.

    Why this diatribe? 3D doesn't have a similar potential for changing the way we watch movies. Sound has always been part of the equation, whether it's the music pumped from an organ or grainy dubbing done in a garage. I don't care who is directing, 3D in cinema is not necessary and in fact is counter intuitive because it attempts to force three dimensional expectations to what by definition is a two dimensional visual and audio medium. You can't force three dimensions out of two without it looking like a pop up book. Until virtual reality becomes a feasible means to show movies with, essentially when we have escalators to the moon, everyone should just calm down and settle on IMAX.

  • Comment number 47.

    It's a question of money.
    Money keeps the cinema chains running and 3D makes more cash than 2D.
    I would love the choice of 3D or 2D (i would take 2D) but the cinemas have limited showing times. So the studios force 3D on us because they know punters will pay.
    Simple solution is that we wait and see the 2D showings which can take a week or two after release as happened with myself and Prometheus.
    I waited for the 2D showings and was rewarded eventually what this requires from the cinema going public is patience and restraint to wait out the 3D fad, so are we capable of this?
    Or will we rush to the multiplex in anticipation? Please let's not and wait for the print we want and deserve, if we can all band together and commit to this then it will spell the death knell for 3D.
    I am watching There Will Be Blood as i write this and Daniel Day Lewis's performance would not be enhance with special glasses.
    Thanks for reading and see you at my multiplex (hopefully without glasses)

  • Comment number 48.

    On the subject of glasses: I wear 3D glasses over my glasses, but the discomfort is such that I removed the arms of the former with a hacksaw and now attach them to the latter with elastic bands and string. I'm undecided as to whether polarising lenses improve the visuals of the film, but I know for sure that they don't do much for my looks.

  • Comment number 49.

    Unfortunately big cinema chains work out their schedule on a weekly basis, calculated on the previous weeks takings. Mist of which are made at the weekend.

    Films like Dredd and the recent Resident Evil films have unfortunately been made available to cinemas in 3D. So it's the unfortunate cinemas who get the complaints about product they don't control.

  • Comment number 50.

    I agree here Mark. I think that 3D is struggling, and from your comment about distributors forcing 3D onto film makers in order to get their movie out, it comes down to one thing for me: cash. make as much cash before 3D dies out.
    A few words on Imax: I think it's the future, however, it's still very expensive at the moment and would twelve pounds a ticket (or whatever it costs) become the norm for any cinema goer? Cinema should not be an exclusive viewing experience and at the current Imax prices, there would be an awful lot of people, families with young kids, for example, who wouldn't be able to enjoy the cinema. Cinema should be an affordable regular occupation, not a "once in a blue moon, if you're lucky" kind of deal.

  • Comment number 51.

    I loathe 3d (is it threed these days?) - the colour is invariably skewed, images are dim, the glasses are distracting and the whole damned experience gives me headaches. Consequently I simply avoid 3d screenings. Lots of talk about IMAX as the better option - I couldn't agree more for the quality of image but there are no screens anywhere near my part of the world. Hmmm...

  • Comment number 52.

    I agree it is wrong that distributors are denying people the right to see films in 2D - at a time when they are trying desperately to get people into the cinemas and not downloading films for free it seems strange to then deny your customers the product they want! Having said that 3D does have it's moments - I felt certain scenes in Prometheus were enhanced by the depth of field, and in Dredd the Slo-Mo sequences worked well. Fast cut action sequences never work though as the eye does not have time to react to the changes. So basically if you want to make a film about slow floaty bubbles 3D is the one!

  • Comment number 53.

    Personally I see 3D as little more than a cynical means of milking money out of cinema goers. Like others, I feel a good story does not need 3D and would argue that many poor films try to hide behind special effects, of which 3D is just the latest. Some film makers may not even care about the story, as long as visually the movie looks impressive on the big screen. This cannot be good.

    I will not watch a film at the cinema if no standard 2D screening is offered. If that means I have to wait until the DVD release then so be it. The only way to stop the current trend of trying to force people to pay extra on top of already expensive admission prices, may be to hit the cinemas and distributors where it really hurts, i.e. in the pocket.

    A final thought: the description '3D' is misleading, as it's not really 3D at all. Rather it is a 2D movie with certain objects in 3D which, as far as I am concerned, just adds to the artificiality of it all.

  • Comment number 54.

    My argument on 3D is simply that a US Study a couple years ago found one in seven people have some form of stereo-blindness, be it mild that can be corrected or trained to those who sadly have lost an eye and therefore cannot partake in it. It's a rather large segment of the market being alienated for the sake of a technological push that is in itself far from perfect.

    I think 3D can be enjoyed and should be enjoyed but it's a novelty idea parading itself around as progress, rather like several pop stars of the Noughties - they've faded into obscurity, and rightly so, because they believed their own hype, that they were going to change everything and ended up changing nothing at all. It doesn't make their work bad - but the ethos is misguided, and when 3D movies can settle down and realise they are a novelty concept and not the future, those who make the choice can go see it in 3D and 2D can rightly sit alongside it.

    Change doesn't happen because someone says it will happen. 3D's biggest failing for me is that it believes so deeply that it is this driving force of good - the reality is, it's expensive and as said, many can't see 3D even if they wanted to. No future technology can be so divisive - 3D can be the grounds for a new push into finding new means and methods, but it is in itself not the solution, just raising another problem that in its current guise it is incapable of engineering its way out of.

    Nothing wrong with it as a choice. But everything wrong with it when it is pushed so hard.

  • Comment number 55.

    the problem with 3D, is that directors are using it with 2d techniques. That being, things like depth of view, where backgrounds get blurred out etc, just do not work when in 3D as they should. 3D viewers naturally want to look around and do not want to be forced to watch something at a particular depth in the shot. This becomes tiresome to the viewer. 3D works better when you do not have depth of field ( forced focal areas).
    3D and 2D film making are totally different types of film making that require totally different approaches, so much so that i would classify them as totally different mediums, but all the directors do not want to accept this and insist on sticking to their 2D film making techniques and forcing it into 3D.

  • Comment number 56.

    Hey Dr. Kermode,

    I have only had the "pleasure" of viewing one 3D movie which was Deathly Hollows Part 2. I had trouble watching the film because it made my eyes hurt and did not see how it added any value to my movie going experience. That being said, I know DH2 was retrofitted and not originally filmed in 3d, and I have yet to see a true 3D film.

    Whether the format is still evolving, or just sucks, the real problem I have is with it being forced as you put it. Movies are expensive enough. Why do I have to add 3-4 (6-8 if i go with the fiance) dollars on top for a format that I may or may not enjoy? That's the real problem.

    As always, i enjoy the topics you post and keep it up.

    - BoitnottMK

  • Comment number 57.

    I agree with everything Mark says in regard 3D and have followed his argument with the hope that 3D will disappear.
    I saw Dredd in 3D as with others found that there were no 2D versions available. It is a disgrace and another way for film companies to fleece their viewers.
    Let's hope that things will change in the near future.

  • Comment number 58.

    I found it very interesting that some people think that the future of cinema is IMAX and I would love to believe them but at the moment I can't. In the last few weeks Raiders of the Lost Ark got rereleased in IMAX format and I would have LOVED to have seen it as it is the only Indiana Jones film that I've not seen in the cinema. Where I live (in Hinckley in Leicestershire) the nearest IMAX screen is either in Sheffield or London. There was an IMAX in Birmingham but that has now been converted into normal cinema screens

    How the ffffluffin muffin is IMAX going to become the next big thing (as Chris Nolan and Wally Pfister say it will be) if there are not IMAX cinemas built to show IMAX films???

  • Comment number 59.

    Slightly another way of looking at this blog, but post #90 got me thinking. I refuse to watch 'Eyes Wide Shut' purely and simply because just in-case it taints my affection for the Stanley Kubrick and his breath taking body of work. It kind of scares me to go watch it. I have bought the DVD and the Blu-ray btw.

  • Comment number 60.

    Long time listener/watcher/reader, first time commenter and it would be on this thorny issue.

    9 times out of 10, I agree whole heartily with Mark on this issue. The 3D effect is usually terribly implemented with scenes being too dark, blurred, still mostly flat and/or with a weird cardboard cut-out effect. Even the messiah of 3D, Avatar, suffered from some of these issues and, even when it didn't, the pointyness of it all added nothing to the rehashed story (it had some good floaty ash though.)

    Yet, there are still the odd exceptions that show a glimmer of the potential that 3D might offer some films. Hugo proved to be a wonderful cinema experience and the depth created by the stereoscopic effect did enhance many of the sequences, particularly those in the bowels of the train station. It also added a slightly surreal, otherworldly touch to Méliès's reminiscing of his former film making days. The one other time I was impressed with the use of 3D in film was during the Toy Story 3 short, in which a 2D cartoon figure had a world behind his silhouette.

    Interestingly, neither of these films use the 3D to enhance realism or to draw you in, but to show another world, something that is slightly alien or, at most, an embellished vision of reality.

    As for IMAX, I do think it is fantastic, but it is not the future of mainstream film viewing. The required size of the venue to hold the monster screen just makes it infeasible to become the standard way to view films. Unless cinema becomes far more niche and the multiplexs start to die, I can't see IMAX becoming the normal way we watch films in public.

  • Comment number 61.

    I can summarize the problem with 3D with one very long question -

    So I already have to go out and pay 10 bucks for a movie I don't really care much about, sit in a giant room full of other people who are likely to make the experience worse, stare at a huge screen in a nearly pitch black room to the point of hurting my eyes beyond repair, and have the audio booming to the point where I can't even really tell what's going on anymore... and they want to make me wear awful glasses and have trouble being able to see what's happening?

  • Comment number 62.

    Nothing should become a new “standard” when it makes you go backwards.
    When sound came out they did not need to wear any hearing device , when colour came out they did not need to wear glasses, and probably a more notorious fact, they did not need to pay more money. Now if 3D is going to be the standard from now on in definitive, it means that we will be obligated to wear glasses for watching any movie at the cinema, or home.
    For me is like going back to the kinetoscope.
    People do not complain about the Converging / focus brain problem (verbally), nor miniaturization, nor pale darkness, they complain about the wearing of glasses; I complain of all. Until true holographic technology exist, 3D should be taken off. Yet with holographic technology we will have the same problem other problem with 3d, the head-body crops in close ups that we don’t get in real life and distract. Meaning that a true perfect three-dimensional presentation would be like a stage play, but that is not what makes a movie a movie, who would want to see that?
    In response to your question, is it 3D dead or alive? I will compare 3d with a terminal patient that no matter how many times you medicate it, it will eventually die, because its body is full of genetic flaws. Patience.

  • Comment number 63.

    I've seen three 3D films this year and theyve all been interesting if underwhelming experiences, PIRAHNA 3DD, PROMETHEUS and DREDD. The main opinion ive come out, mainly in the latter 2 films is that the 3D looks impressive, but the effect can easily look the same and give the same impression in 2D. I went to see PROMETHEUS in the IMAX as it was an event movie for me (the first ALIEN related film to be directed by the original ALIEN director Ridley Scott), and even though i paid £14 for the experience it was good, but felt the 3D was more of a distraction and if it wasnt for my love of the ALIEN films and the fact that this was available in IMAX i probably would have settled on 2D. DREDD was different, like many, there where no screenings in 2D, only 3D so had to end up with the glasses on, on a sunday lunchtime screening, where its cheaper before 12 noon at the amc cinemas, but again aside from the slo mo drug taking scenes which look visually impressive, the 3D was not needed and caused a glare shadow on some scenes.
    3D will eventually die out, its come along before and stayed around for short periods of time, and then goes, people will tire of having to pay £2 extra to see a 3D film and eventually having to put another £1 on top of that £2 because they forgot the pair of 3D glasses that they already have 20 pairs of at home. It's a phase, for now, if the film is in 2D see that, producers should not force 3D onto people, and should allow the 2D option, otherwise people will either not go to the cinema and henceforth the film will fail. As much as i enjoed DREDD look at how fast its gone out of the UK box office, no1 one week then no.5 then i think it dropped out. At the end of the day the audience will decide.

  • Comment number 64.

    I'm in complete agreement with you about 3D Dr K. There is no difference between the cheap, gimmicky 3D exploitation in the 1983 movie Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (Molly Ringwald's best film in my opinion) and the abysmal firework display of a toyshop that was Avatar.

    When film-makers make a film in 3D they have to define the film by it's 3Dness at the expense of a story. If the audience is not reminded every 30 seconds that they are watching 3D they forget about the 3D and are sucked into the story (if it's any good) and end up questioning the inflated ticket price. 3D can only be a short-lived fad because audiences need more than spears being waved in front of their faces and rocks thrown at them.

    The fact that a one eyed man (not me btw) can get the same enjoyment and exhilharation from a good 2D movie as a two eyed man should tell us that optical perspective is the least important thing in a good film.

    Finally, a question; which films should we look for that demonstrate the first gimmicky use of sound just after sound was introduced? Are there any?

    Stratt

  • Comment number 65.

    I've watched two 3D films in a cinema - the first one was when I was about eleven or twelve years old in a theme park and the second was last week when I saw Dredd 3D (I have seen various 3D films in their 2D version however, so I still have an understanding of the design logic). The clear memory I had of the part animated, part live action presentation that I was shown as a child was that there was no proper three dimensional sense of space but rather a series of very flat 2D layers moving around behind or in front of one another, like Chinese puppet shows or pop-up books for children. I was surprised when I went to see Dredd that the effect was very similar despite that it is now eighteen years later and projector, resolution and graphics technology have moved on a great deal. I was warned before going that if the cinema chain had not adjusted the projector correctly for the screening then I would not be seeing the film as the makers intended, i.e. it would be duller and the edges of moving objects may be blurred - I didn't notice any effects like that so I believe I saw a good projection. Overall, I would say I enjoyed the film despite the fact that I was highly skeptical about 3D and money-spinning adaptations of popular graphic novels. The story contained a device which was perfectly suited to the visual concept of the film - a drug called slow-mo which slows down time to a tenth of its normal speed, allowing us to see a woman's hand flick drops of water out of her bath and towards us in slow-motion like morphing crystals floating towards the audience, but after the initial appearance they seemed to stop moving forward as if my eyes had adjusted. There were also some scenes utilising a sheer drop, 100's of feet down into the atrium of massive housing block which tried to create a sense of being sucked into a 3D space, similar to the effect that sufferers of vertigo experience when at height. I'm not sure it would be possible to design a film for 3D much more than Dredd - the only criticism of the design that I could think of was the was that some images in the foreground seemed to be so out of focus, yet clearly delineated, that the image seemed quite far removed from human sight. If this is the height of 3D, if a film cannot be designed any more appropriately for 3D, yet it still looks like a fancy puppet show and less 'real' spatially than a 2D film, I have to come to the conclusion that while 3D can in fact be quite entertaining, if sometimes distracting, ultimately it is only appropriate for a very small number of stories (probably with a visual style similar to graphic novels) and even then it is false advertising to call it '3D' because at no point does it accurately reflect human perception of a physical 3D space. Even if you accept, as I do now, that 3D has a place where it belongs, I see no reason why it would be much more expensive to screen it or why any right minded person would consistently and willingly pay more to see it as if it was generally more entertaining that 2D features. In the end, it is no more enhancing that an extra cushion on your seat and in most films would be completely inappropriate. Dredd's underwhelming success seems to confirm that it is a specialist film - http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/10/16/dredd-shows-why-the-3d-film-format-is-doomed-again/ - The only thing I would add to that is that the only time I could say I experienced a true 3D effect watching a projected image was when I took a ride on a really good motion simulator in a theme-park. Notably, the projection was 2D.

  • Comment number 66.

    Up until the recent 3D cinema uprising my only experience of 3D movies came from watching the Michael Jackson movie in Euro Disney about 20 years ago and going on the Spiderman ride in Florida about 10 years ago. The first of these was completely forgetable but the Spiderman ride was amazingly jaw dropping and I think it's this type of experience that film makers are trying to emulate.

    However the Spiderman ride worked because it wasn't a movie, it was a ride that used 3D as only one ellement of many to make the customers feel like they had fallen into a comic book.

    I've only seen one film in 3D and that was the very poor Alice in Wonderland. I had such high hopes for the film because I like a lot of Tim Burton's films. However I came out think that he took a classic piece of literature and turned it into a special effects movie with little thought given to any kind of script.

    When we came out of the film all we were talking about was what 3D effects did you notice. If I wanted to really talk about this i could have just purchased a magic eye book (remember them) for the same price and got more enjoyment from trying to look at that for a couple of hours.

    Now I hear that they are making the Hobbit and the Great Gatsby into 3D films. Two more classic literature pieces. Ok I can see how the Hobbit makes sence being a 3B film but the Great Gatsby? Why?

    Are we going to get anymore of an experience by witnessing people glug back Long Island Ice Teas in all the 3D glory?


    I do however think 3D is here to stay for a while for the simple reason that it gives film studios and cinemas something to offer that pirate DVD's and illegal download sites can't offer and they get to charge people more money to boot.

  • Comment number 67.

    Whilst I am not a fan of 3D and do think it is a complete rip off, I don't think IMAX is that great either. IMAX is goo if you are sitting in the ideal seat in the right part of the cinema but if you are sitting anywhere to the edges or bottom of the IMAX cinema it is a horrible experience.

    Cinemas need to focus on getting the basic cinema experience right before anything else.

  • Comment number 68.

    xxmalxx - that would make much more sense, agreed - but will they do it?

    David Lee Williams - you can get illegal 3D pirates. apparently. So that's not the reason. I think the cinemas just want to raise the average ticket to ten quid, but they don't have the guts to do it to all the prices because they are scared of a backlash, so they do it the sly way by pretending to offer a 'luxury' service option - except as Mark always points out, with some blockbusters it's not an option, it's compulsory due to a lack of a 2D option in the evening - which reveals their true intent. When I went to see 3D I went to a cinema which has 18 screens and usually has loads of options and times available - yet I could see Dredd in 2D at all, at any time.

  • Comment number 69.

    *could NOT see. sorry

  • Comment number 70.

    Having never seen a 3D film, I am unqualified to weigh in on this point. However I noticed a recent interview in the Barbican's monthly events guide in which Robert Rider, the head of cinema at the Barbican, detailed the set-up of his new facilities, which seem increasingly like Asterix's village in this whole 3D invasion:

    "Across the three screens we have full digital projection and audio equipment (including 3-D facilities) and we're bucking the trend by installing traditional 35mm and 16mm film projectors in the new screens.

    So many of the films producted in over a century of cinema history have not been converted to digital format, and thus to maintain this important and popular aspect of our work, it is essential that we continue to run projectors that can screen traditional celluloid film.

    I recently saw a sign in New York which proclaimed "The Future is Analogue". I wouldn't go that far, but our 35mm film projectors will continue to play an important part in our film screenings."

    Vive la contre-revolution?

  • Comment number 71.

    I took my four year old son to see 'Brave' and gave him the choice of seeing it in either 2D or 3D (He had never seen a 3D movie before). He chose 3D, once I had explained the difference (keeping my own dislike of the format to myself to get his honest opinion).
    We both enjoyed 'Brave', but afterwards I asked him what he thought of the 3D. He said "It only stuck out a bit and the glasses were annoying'.
    I asked him when we come to the cinema next time, would he like to see the film with glasses or without the glasses? He gave an emphatic response of "without glasses."

    So, there you have it. Even a four year old can see what a pointless, waste of time 3D is.

 

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