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The Death of 3D

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Mark Kermode | 14:46 UK time, Friday, 10 September 2010

The latest Resident Evil movie is in 3d. But in the language of this videogame movie franchise/Milla Jovovich vehicle, may I explain: There will be no 3D Afterlife. There will be no 3D Resurrection. There will be only a 3D Apocalypse. And it is coming sooner than you think.

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  • Comment number 1.

    I really hope you're right.

    ("House of Wax" was as good as it got)

  • Comment number 2.

    I used to feel the same about the gimickiness of 3D, but all that has changed since I took the decision to never remove the glasses. Now I cannot notice an appreciable difference between Screen 1 at the Odeon and my local Morrisons. Also I look like Joe 90. We must fully embrace these innovations or what's the point?

  • Comment number 3.

    I for one hope you are proven right. I have little interest in 3D in cinemas and absolutely zero interest in 3D in television sets. I resisted the DVD format briefly until seeing the special edition of The Abyss and then jumped on board wholeheartedly. I have still resisted buying a HD TV, though I have yet to see The Abyss in HD! But nothing, including (or even, especially) Avatar has shown even the slightest glimmer of anything beyond and gimmick and a fad when it comes to 3D.

  • Comment number 4.

    Fortunately for you, the world is going to end in 2012 and nobody will be around to settle this bet anyway. Would Roland Emmerich lie to us?

  • Comment number 5.

    I agree and disagree.

    On one hand you have said on many occasions that 3D was an anti-piracy measure, but with 3D televisions entering the market and the technology becoming domestically accessible, it seems as though its novelty status will vanish, and people will stop caring. 3D the selling point now, and once it becomes the standard, nobody will care anymore.

    HOWEVER, you have also complained about the glasses which are a constant reminder you are watching a movie. But as the technology increases, eventually glasses will not be needed, and the 3D will seem more inversive and believable. So there is a chance if within 2 years, the technology has gone glasses-free, it will be here to stay.

  • Comment number 6.

    The evidence that 3D is dying is already there. Around 70% of audiences saw Avatar in 3D, and since then, it has been slowly dropping. Too expensive and simply not worth it. Here's the graph that demonstrates it:

    I don't mind the odd "event" film coming out in 3D like Avatar or Tron: Legacy, but the idea that every other film has to be in 3D is nonsense. After all, Inception didn't need to be in 3D, and obviously the masses who are keeping it in the Box Office Top 10 don't mind. DrK, you've been right all along.

  • Comment number 7.

    Roland Emmerich! Truly the devil's foot soldier in Hollywood. His films are more banal than Michael Bay!

  • Comment number 8.

    If cinema audiences only wish to see the visually flamboyant event movies that benefit from being in 3D then perhaps it will become standard. I have a little more faith in UK movie go'ers, people will not pay for a bad film just because its in 3D, not one of my favourite films of recent times would have benefitted in the slightest from it. It's a novelty at best and a con at worst.

  • Comment number 9.

    After seeing that link Redfield posted , i now have more faith 3D Cinema will once again collapse. It failed in the 50s and again in the 80s. Today i came out of The Cineworld cinema in Glasgow (Tallest Cinema in the world) and thought that 3D would take over cinema and effectively ruin the business (Much like i thought Remakes & Reboots would) but i came to realise that there are directors and actors and studios out there want to stay in 2D and not convert to 3D. Also like the link Redfield posted , there is less interest in 3D. Hollywood will come to realise this and will either (A) rest 3D for a number of years and then relauch it or (B) let it die completely and only bring it back for "Event" movies.

  • Comment number 10.

    So you are not going to be doing your blog in 3d in 2012 ?

  • Comment number 11.

    I agree with the premise of your argument Dr.K

    However - I think 3 D will actually have evolved to another more gimicky technique in two years time...

    I believe that with the sheer pace of technology in media we will a more advanced technical setup that may even include a newly designed screen to further enhance the 3D image.

    This will be developed on over time and I hope will be harnessed by the experimental filmmakers who could actually do something useful with it!

    But the straight narrative film classics like: There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men etc etc will remain untouched by any new technical fad in the same way the great movies of the 70s, 80s and 90s did.

    I do enjoy watching the evolution of the cinema and multiplex and love the range of theatres we have in this day and age - may it continue to be varied even if there are a few 3D film palaces!

  • Comment number 12.

    I still think 2D will be around for the forseeable future. 3D is great when used properly yes , but this recent 3D mania is being used in all the wrong ways for all the wrong films. If it was in films that would have worked in 3D then yes it would have worked but its only films with CGI effects and Animation films.

    I`m sorry but they`ve botched this one up.

  • Comment number 13.

    I'd like to know the Doc's opinion on Sir Ridley Scott's forthcoming Alien prequels being shot in 3D.

    Does he think this renowned visualist's return to the universe which made him a household name will be any the better - or any the worse - for being shot this way? Scott directs "...through the camera" according to the late Dan O'Bannon.

    Could be an interesting wielding of the technology...

  • Comment number 14.

    I haven't seen a film in 3D, it just doesn't interest me. I'm not really bothered about the so called immersion into the film, a good film does that anyway. Paying more for a film where you get 30% colour loss? That bugs me. I can do that at home with the brightness control on the remote.
    I understand films evolve over time; from black and white to colour, music accompanied silent pictures to Dolby surround sound. 3D is a limited effect, that the film audiences will bore of. I think Dr.K is right.

  • Comment number 15.

    Good call Doctor.

    I couldn't agree more. In my opinion the reasoning is very simple. Film is an art form. The application of 3D is at best a technique used within this art form and at worst a gimmick.

    These kind of techniques drop in and out of fashion, and gimmicks come and go but the art form lives forever.

  • Comment number 16.

    I agree, everyone who I've spoken to about 3d films never wants to see one again, its only a matter of time before everyone's seen enough 3d films to realise it's just a waste of money. I want to a film to be engage me and bring it into its' world, but it can be done without 3d. Inception is a perfect example of this, as i was completely immersed in the film, whilst avatar left me falling asleep, ironically i spent a lot of the time wondering what the 3d was doing, rather than being more engaged due to it. it is naff.

  • Comment number 17.

    I saw Avatar in 2D instead of 3D and it was as enjoyable without 3D. Its only a matter of time before Hollywood realise they have gone in over their heads.

  • Comment number 18.

    What bothers me more than every other movie being in 3D is every other movie being in IMAX. Most don't need it at all. It's just a larger format, but does not add any immersion experience.

  • Comment number 19.

    Beat me to it Redfield :)

    Soon as I watched the first "new generation" 3D film beowulf, that audiances would quickly get bored or irritated by it.
    Also only 2% of people are willing to buy the 3D tv as well, so no future in TV either.

    I think Mark will still post the video in 2012 anyway, everyone know already it's gonna fail :P

  • Comment number 20.

    I hope you're right Drk, I really do. However, I hope that in two years I will still be able to go to a 3D movie purely to see the wonderful sky tv advert (the one where the sky logo comes so far out of the screen it plucks your eyebrows).

    Before I saw my first 3D film (Alice in Wonderland), I saw that advert and I thought to myself "if that's the advert, imagine how good the film will be. Better I expect." I cannot convey my disappointment in words.

    Yet, during the 3D season on channel 4 I watched Andy Warhol's "Flesh for Frankenstein" and was stunned by the effect. Yes the film is schlocky but in all the right places. 3D is used, dare I say it, artistically. The 3D works because it is significantly different from the rest of the film; it is not hidden in CGI or bluescreen scenes. If, in two years, I can see 90% of films in blissful 2D and a few dimension-sploitational releases too then I'll rest easy.

  • Comment number 21.

    My god Mark I hope you're right! "novelty status that it always had, that it always will have" is so precise. I can see it's place in animation but already (Alien 5) it is beginning to dictate how the films are acually made, restricting the creativity of the director. Movies will all look the same before too long, with a set way of cutting it to accomodate 3D. Paul W S Anderson is talking such nonsense and if he turns out to be right and 3D is the industry standard then you don't have to worry Mark, there won't be Kermode Uncut in 2 years, because everyone who would normally visit the site will be in bed crying under the covers, never to brave the world of cinema again!

  • Comment number 22.

    You should threaten to quit again, that was really fun! I don't think you really represented Paul W. S. Anderson's arguement fairly there but I'll let it slide because I agree with you. I think the fundamental problem with 3D is that, no matter which way you look at it, it's still a flat image. There might be two of them, but essentially it's nothing more than an optical illusion. When they make holographic films that hover in front of you, that might be a genuine step, although I would argue that they would cease to be films and be a new medium entirely, probably called holographs.

  • Comment number 23.

    It's not like Resident Evil didn't suck before 3D. They've just found another dimension to suck in. A mere inevitability for any teenage action horror franchise, irrespective of technological innovations.

    My second experience with 3D has been a lot better with Toy Story 3 but that's because it's an infinitely superior film to Avatar. Like you Kermode, the best I could say about the effect this time was that it didn't detract from the film. After pondering for quite a while on whether I actually thought it added to the most emotionally stirring sequence in the film - the characters facing a demonic inferno - I had to conclude that while I enjoyed the visual difference, it was just another special effect. The reason the scene works is because of the look of submission on all the characters faces, meaning the decisive components are, low and behold, the script and the animation. It's the basics yet again.

    And so your latest wager. Certainly not the first time you've risked looking foolish and a lot safer than putting your entire career on the line like with The Bride Ultimatum. But why not make a day of it and book an interview for 10/9/12 with one of these proponents of 3D working in the industry? You can both examine at length why one of you was wrong, which should be incredibly entertaining broadcasting if it turns out to be you.

  • Comment number 24.

    @S Ford:

    How dare you sir! That man is a saint and a prophet. I heard that one time, Roland Emmerich healed an entire group of blind orphan children by rubbing his saliva on their eyes and reciting passages from the President's speech in Independence Day.

    The Hollywood vs. 3-D situation reminds me a lot of this dog that my parents own. He's a large breed dog - unnaturally large for his breed really - and, while he's great in his own way, he also undeniably possesses as much intelligence as you would find in a bag of old silverware.
    One day last spring while exploring the backyard he found a rabbit and, having never seen one before that time, did what he always does when meeting new things by trying to play with it. When the rabbit tried jumped to the left, the dog would jump to the left; when it jumped to the right, he would jump to the right too. This game went on for a while with the poor exhausted rabbit until the excited dog finally bounced down and landed square on top of his new friend, effectively killing it. Not that he even knew what he had done of course - he just kept bouncing around and trying to get it to play some more, like they were re-enacting one of Lenny's scenes from Of Mice and Men.

    A sad tale.

  • Comment number 25.


    Just say no

  • Comment number 26.

    "It! Puts! An! Exclamation! Mark! On! Everything!"

  • Comment number 27.

    I saw RE4:A 3D yesterday afternoon and enjoyed it. It's dumb, it's silly, it's rubbish but generally it's fun and the 3D works (unlike Piranha, which was also good gloopy fun but the conversion just looked wrong).

    I don't believe 3D will become the norm, in two years or twenty. I think most movies will remain in 2D because it's not going to enhance them. Diaz and Aniston romcoms, gritty Loachian social realism, quirky independent drama - they'll stay flat. But a handful of big epics, digimations and splattery horror movies every year wouldn't go amiss.

    And - substitute Dolby Surround and mono for 3D and 2D. Or 2.35:1 and full frame. These are just things you can do with film. Not every movie needs widescreen or rear channels. And not every movie needs 3D. But that's not to say that no movies should have them.

    3D television is a different beast entirely, because your TV screen occupies a far smaller percentage of your field of vision than a cinema screen does. And most TV is on a small scale - who wants to watch Andrew Neil's interview with David Milliband brought into eerie three-dimensional holographic reality in your living room? Ewww. But at the cinema, if there's a new Saw movie or (if reports are true) Dario Argento doing Dracula? Sign me up.

  • Comment number 28.

    Dear Mark,

    I agree with you on the 3-D thing wholeheartedly. I'm getting sick of it as well.

    but twiglet is NOT better then the original STAR WARS.

    Seriously. It's not.

  • Comment number 29.

    3D was a fun gimmick in the past, and it still is. I remember being taken to the BFT by my dad in the 1960s for a demonstration of different 3D techniques that were little different to what we are seeing now. A lot of Hollywood big guns have recently jumped on the bandwagon and are pretending they invented it. They didn't. The digital revolution has seen some improvements in what can be done but the polarised glasses remain. Gimmicks may provide some short-term benefits (ie. money) but will not sustain the film industry.

    Everything is a phase; this phase will pass too. Like you I'd give this one no more than two years.

  • Comment number 30.

    totally agree with the previous comment and see 3d as just a gimmick and find wearing glasses for 2 hours tiresome. unfortunately i suspect i will have to suffer watching the latest Resident Evil offering in 3d due to my husbands keen interest in Milla Jojovich, and his bizarre unwillingness to go to a cinema alone! - whats wrong with the man?

  • Comment number 31.

    Two years is a good, safe bet, even bearing in mind that of the numerous films released in 3D next year, some will undoubtedly be MASSIVELY popular. To name a few (mostly shot in 3D, which I find the smallest bit comforting);

    Pirates 4
    Cars 2
    Transformers 3
    Harry Potter 7 part 2 (converted)
    Captain America (converted)
    Hugo Cabret

    I'm looking forward most (only, rather) to the latter two. For one thing because they're Scorsese and Spielberg/Jackson films, so people are likely - though perhaps wrongly - to think that whatever these people can or can't do with 3D is the be all and end all. Not an argument I'd agree with, but something I can see coming up nonetheless. The release of Tintin will also be two years after Avatar, by which point I'm hoping more people will have joined my side, a side I've been posted on since Avatar's release, and realised that "dumb but spectacular" won't be a satisfying defence of the film in years to come. People have been blinded to what a lazy film it is. At least Toy Story 3 had the courtesy to make a skeptic forget the 3D by throwing a brilliant film at them. Avatar, people have still failed to realise, is the epitome of emperor's new clothes moviemaking.

    That just became another rant about Avatar...

  • Comment number 32.

    Titanic 3D is slated to be released next year as well isn't it?

    Seems strange, considering how James Cameron seems so opposed to converting 2D...

    Hang on, maybe he's just interested in making masses of money and masquerading his schlocky, OTT (nothing wrong with that) and overlong (a lot wrong with that) epics as Sistine Chapels.


  • Comment number 33.

    Maybe the Good Doctor should make a bet that if there are still 3D movies in 2012 that he'll quit his job as a film critic. I'm just saying we could do the whole Bride Wars shenanigans again. But, then again, in this economy, I don't think Mark should gamble with the fall of 3D.

  • Comment number 34.

    The fact that directors like Anderson are pushing 3D to be the standard is really scaring me, Doc. I can handle it for event movies at the cinema now and again, as a novelty, but I sure as hell don't want it in my home. Sometimes I like to "lay" on the sofa, in front of a movie, relax; How's that going to work with awkward glasses and the expectation of looking at the TV head on? And not just for films, but for all the 3D terrestrial content they have planned?
    Also, I don't know how much of a factor this is, but if 3D degrades the quality of the image, whats the point of us all shelling out for Bluray? Surely a below special image is against all that Bluray stands for.

  • Comment number 35.

    Wholeheartedly agree Dr. K.
    Too distracting for my ageing eyes, was how I felt about Avatar 3D such that I rented it in 'normal' mode. And I don't want to see another 3D film please, even though I now own a pair of unstylish 3D glasses.

  • Comment number 36.

    Also how would a film like Primer fare in a 3D cinemascape?

    Oh its 2D can't be any good.
    Only cost $7000? whatever next, stop motion !

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm put off 3D by the extra cost, which i strongly object to and just the sheer uncomfortableness (is that a word?) of the glasses. If the cost was the same and they managed to work out how to do 3d without glasses i might at least be a lot more amenable to it.

    Whether you are right about it declining in 2 years, however, i'm less sure. The powers that be seem to have invested a lot and thrown a lot of weight into this peculiar technology and i fear they will just continue to push it on us.

    At the end of the day 3D is just another special effect and like all of these, they become dated and superseded. The films that rely on a good story and acting generally outlast their effects and the ones that don't become forgotten.

  • Comment number 38.

    3D films are as pointless as going to see your favourite pop group in 3D. I remember once Mark commenting that there was a U2 3D. Now, maybe I'm just being thick, but I always thought that we ALREADY LIVED IN A 3D UNIVERSE! We exist in 3-dimensions! There's up, down, left and right! So when you go to see someone live in concert, GUESS WHAT, THEY'RE ALREADY IN BLOODY 3D! YOU'RE IN 3D, EVERYONE'S IN 3D! THE SEATS YOU'RE SITTING IN! EVERYTHING! I think this might be a revelation to some people.

    As Mark has already proved with his review of TOYSTORY 3 IN 3D, the human brain adapts to the new dimension, AND YOU NO LONGER NOTICE IT. You are fighting a hopeless battle against millions of years of evolution and adaptation and it is a waste of your money. I just cannot fathom how idiotic and gullible some people are.

  • Comment number 39.

    Addendum: I of course forgot to mention there is a 'forward and backward' dimension. That makes 3, I can count. :P

  • Comment number 40.

    I concur Good Doctor.

  • Comment number 41.

    Unrelated, but I'm listening to your podcast and I just want to say that I very much want to hear about how your talk at Cambridge goes.

  • Comment number 42.

    I agree with you and too hope your right Dr K. I do think that 3D is a gimmick and hope it dies a death. As I wear glasses (and have to wear them for everything) I have to the 3D ones over my regular ones. So already it's uncomfortable already and as time goes on it starts to give me a headache. Furthermore, I personally have never been anymore emersed in a film in 3D, than in a 2D film. I watched Avatar first in 2D and thought "special effects are good, but the over-long, clucky story is just awful and shouldn't be given the time of day". I then went watch it in 3D (my first time) and was left thing "the wow factor of the specially effects has gone and forgotten and the story's even more rubbish than before and it feels uncomfortable and I've got headache". Not once did I feel like I was really there in the film. I felt like I was in a cinema, wearing huge comfortable glasses with a headache. Hopefully it will die a death.

  • Comment number 43.

    If you're right, you're right.
    If you're wrong....then God help cinema!

  • Comment number 44.

    If I had my druthers, all the money that Hollywood spends on 3D would, instead, be used to make dye tranfer technicolor available to film makers.

    Apart from that, I don't understand why you guys are all hot and bothered about 3D. Surely, if Hollywood thinks it will increase profits it will continue to be used. Otherwise, not. And even if its use does continue, will it not almost always be on the Emmerich/Bay summer blockbuster behemoth type of film? If so, fine. I don't go to see them anyway.

    Maybe, in time, an interesting, creative mind will use it innovatively and surprise us all. Guillermo del Toro? Park Chan-Wook? Paul Thomas Anderson? If Mark's beloved Terry Gilliam (to my mind one of the world's worst directors, mind you) were to use it, I imagine our esteemed critic would spontaneously combust.

    What I can't see happening is 3D becoming the industry standard for absolutely every kind of film, in the way colour did. If a Ken Loach or Terence Davies 3D film comes out, then we'll know we're in trouble. Until then, just leave it in the Hollywood playbox for the gorgons of the multiplexes to amuse themselves with.

  • Comment number 45.

    I am sorry to have insulted the one true prophet of cinema; Roland Emmerich.

    I have heard a rumour that if you stand in the mirror and whisper his name and turn 360 degrees 3 times then Roland Emmerich will materialize and make you watch 10,000 AD while he shouts into your left ear that it is the greatest movie ever made.


  • Comment number 46.

    Hi Dr Mark,

    I only ask one thing of people.


    Like Simon Cowall does on 'The X Factor', who doesn't LOOK AT THE MUSIC.

    3D is the equivalent.

    Just - LOOK AT THE FILM.

  • Comment number 47.

    dear mark
    The bottom line of any movie is ,is it any good or not , 3D ,surround sound etc,etc are IRRELEVANT, pearl harbour in 3d would suck because its just crap, clerks in black and white is great because its funny and different and the characters are great , a great film is a great film end of story

  • Comment number 48.

    Good day to you sir,

    I completely agree about 3-D and always have. Yet, the new Resident Evil is actually the first film I've seen in 3-D that I really don't think I would have enjoyed as much in 2-D.

    So yes, I think you're right that it won't be embraced but only to a point. If all action movies from here on out looked like this movie, I might be inclined to watch more of them. For the record, I'm not a big fan of action movies except for the odd one which is quirky enough to be enjoyable (like Wanted) and the third Resi movie was surprising good (well ANYTHING would seem good after the second, plus I'm a total fanboy and this movie had a lot of great little nods).

    If there is a god, 3-D will never become standard for proper films but it could easily take over B-movie, critic-proof films like this and would that be such a bad thing?

  • Comment number 49.

    just wait while they sort out Smell-o-vision!

  • Comment number 50.

    In response to Mark's comments, the longevity of 3D will depend on how it is used in the future. If it is used by everyone even when they are no good at it then it will disappear again and you will win your bet; if it is reined back to only those who know when and how to use it then you will lose.

    To give an example of what I mean, a make-up artist once said that if he had done his job right people would say how good a person looked, not how good the make-up looked. He said that the make-up was there to enhance, not detract. Do women avoid the make-up companies because someone applied inch thick make-up badly and ended up looking like a part-melted waxwork? No. They might avoid the person, but not the company. The same should apply to 3D technologies.

    If 3D is done right then it too will enhance, not detract. Too often filmmakers who don't really understand how to do it are applying the 3D techniques like inch thick make-up and with the same result, but that isn't the fault of the technology, just how it was used. (I don't consider Clash of the Titans "pop-up book" conversion to be 3D no matter what the cinema poster said.)

  • Comment number 51.

    I went to see Avatar with a friend who wanted to sit near the back - I suppose she didn't want to crane her neck. But it meant that the screen, albeit with the 3-D, occupied only a small part of my field of view.

    I normally prefer to sit near the front, so the screen occupies most of my field of view. That makes for a far more "immersive" experience, in my opinion. So, Avatar was far less immersive than I'm used to.

    Oh, and my friend dozed off for about half an hour in the middle, but didn't really miss anything... (true!)

    There's another thing about 3-D that bugs me - in real life, you can focus on nearby objects, or distant objects, but not both at once. The eye might move rapidly from one to another and adapt almost instantaneously, but it's not actually simultaneous. In 3-D cinema, near and far objects are in focus at the very same time, and this might be what makes it seem false to me. This could just be a weird personal reaction, of course. :)

    PS looking forward to the Dodge Brothers in Cambridge next week :)

  • Comment number 52.

    I just watched Scott Pilgrim and it was fantastic, but had it been in 3D, I think it would have made me feel really, really, really sick. There's still so much mileage in 2D, I don't understand why people think they can possibly improve on a film by adding a pseudo-dimension to it. Scott Pilgrim, like Speed Racer, really highlighted just how much more potential there is you can do with the actual image on a 2D screen.

  • Comment number 53.

    Lots of individuals' views expressed so far, but what about the reality of taking a family to the cinema when 2D and 3D options are available?

    I personally absolutely agree that 3D is simply a novelty/distraction/irritation (option 3 for me). Avatar 3D was a nicely coloured in retread of a tired story that's been done to death, and Toy Story 3(D) was good but nothing special - I preferred 1 and 2).

    But Economics will decide the issue - and I find it worrying that in my family of four (where I'm paying), I'm the only voice of sanity; the more often I'm outvoted, the more the film industry will be encouraged to invest in 3D equipment and infrastructure. Once the investment's been made, they'll insist on value for money. It could be a slow death.

    It's not about art; I've added, "ensuring the boys (age 9 and 11) don't join the 3D cult" to my list of parental duties. The death of movie-going democracy...

  • Comment number 54.

    Dr. Kermode: "...I predict that in two years time 3-D will be on the decline.". And so it was written. God bless the good doctor!

  • Comment number 55.

    The days of going to the cinema is quickly becoming a dying format. 3D was always going to be a novelty factor, and like Joe Dante said in your Friday interview, people want movies on demand via PC or whatever format they choose to view the product in their own home.

    There have been classic movies that I would have liked to have seen on the big screen, but certain cinemas that will only show them for one night and late in the evening, which is no good to me, as buses and trains are only 1 an hour after 6pm, walking home at night is more dodgier than before, so why go through all that trouble when I can see it in the comfort of my own home?

    I won't pay £6 to see a movie at the cinema every week, or every month, when I can wait few months and either get it via on demand, or get it from a popular online retailer in a sale for £3.

    It's been about four months since I last went to the cinema, and that was to see a blockbuster movie, and I haven't bought a dvd or blu ray in ages. I've not fallen out of love with movies, it's just that I don't want my rooms to be clogged up with films that I know I'll only watch once, and they'll be sitting on my shelf for years not to be re-watched again.

    Yes you've banged on about the experience of seeing a movie with other people, but we as a nation are becoming more anti social, more grumpier, and we 30+ year olds, don’t want to be sat in a darken room where there’s teenagers talking, or kids banging the back of your chair all the way through the movie.

    The majority of the people nowadays would sooner spend their hard earned £6 in a pub, and get a dodgy copy off the internet or from a mate, same with kids they would rather play on the X Box, or whatever consoles they own, and download movies from dodgy sites rather than stepping out and experience fresh air.

    Cinema will soon be for the hardcore cinema geeks, just like you see on Youtube where you still get hardcore VHS, Beta and laserdisc collectors, bragging about what movie they saw this week on the big screen.

    The majority of cinemas will end up closing it's doors just like the video stores did back in the late 90s/early 00s, and some of the multiplexes will eventually end up like Blockbusters. Desperately clinging on to life but knowing that death is just around the corner.

  • Comment number 56.

    @ Stuart Yates

    Agree 100% and sadly all too true.

  • Comment number 57.

    I honestly don't understand the backlash against 3D. Is it just because hollywood is trying to ram it down throats that people are reacting against it?

    I have seen a number of 3D films in the last couple of years and, like anything else, some of them were good and some of them were bad. The 3D varied as well...

    But in the films where it was used well (Avatar, Toy Story 3) I felt wonderfully immersed in the world, and genuinely came out of the cinema with a sense of amazement. It was an experience. In the films where it was used badly (ie conversions) such as Clash of the Titans, I wondered why I'd wasted my money. Piranha 3D was OK - but you could tell that it was a conversion - these should be required to be clearly signed IMO.

    Ultimately (and as cinefiles will constantly remind us), the aim of the cinematography process is for the viewer to see when watching a film, exactly what the director saw as he stood on the set. Correct me if i'm wrong, but (unless the director happens to be blind in one eye) then they saw the scene in 3D. The technology showing 3D to us in cinemas now might not be perfect (some brightness loss) but look at it compared to 2 years ago - it's massively improved, and will continue to be. Thou should not damn the idea based upon current technology.

  • Comment number 58.

    What I've noticed is that 3D makes live action look like a cartoon (as well as being ever so slightly nausea-inducing) animation is probably the only vehicle for it. Not my cup of tea though, I like to watch films and get involved without feeling as though something strange is happening to my vision

  • Comment number 59.

    3d is another classic example of hollywood studios short-termism, the way they have basically thrown 3d retrofitted movies at the screen means they too don't really have any confidence in the technology as a long term concept. they have marketed it as a short term gimicky fad that has poisoned the film-goers experience and has quite possibly killed this particular hoped for golden goose. I would'nt worry Dr K, the studios are on the way to making 3d a dead end again.

  • Comment number 60.

    Anderson is either foolishly optimistic or hopelessly deluded. The space cameras were the main selling point in the trailer, but if this is the technically best 3d on the market now, Dr Kermode has nothing to worry about.
    In Resident Evil the 3d was barely noticeable most of the time (apart from the few gimmick shots done just for the purpose of showing off the 3d), the image was dark and at times blurry. The pop-up book 3d effect is simply not worth the loss of light and sharpness, in the end it just comes down to good old-fashioned story and characters to carry a film, and given that this was Resident Evil 4 . . .
    If I was the producer signing the cheques for retro-fitting the next Harry Potters into 3d, I would be getting worried that the boat has already sailed by the time they make it into cinemas.

  • Comment number 61.

    i really hope 3D doesn't become the standard

    but the succes of 3d cinema will depend on a couple of factors. the success of 3d televisions. if 3d televisions become popular then studios will provide the 3d material the market demands

    but the success of 3D tvs is in turn dependent on the public's perception of 3d, whether they see it as a gimmick or whether they see it as a genuine contribution to the movie going experience.

    important hollywood figures such as Cameron and Katzenburg, who have a lot invested in it, are already having to defend the integrity of 3d, which they say is being cheapened by the likes Pirahna 3d and Clash of the Titans, who use it in gimmicky and haphazard fashion. Obviously the more 3D is being used in this manner, the quicker the public will be put off it. Cameron insists that this new 3d has nothing to do with older version, and that directors such as Scorsese and Scott will utilise 3d in a proper fashion that will appeal to the public

    i really don't know where this whole 3D is going. Im not completely against 3D, I think only certain stories would lend support to the use of 3D, and viceversa. Im pretty such we'll all have a better idea when we see what the likes of Scorsese, Spielberg, Scott and Herzog can bring to the table in the next couple of years. If they can't bring anything worthwhile and new, then I really can't see it becoming industry standard

  • Comment number 62.

    I think I may need to go to the optician or something because the industry tells us how immersive 3d is, like you are going to feel like you are really there as part of the action- for me at least, it's never worked like that. Images look more.....bulbous, I think is the right word- but its not like they detach from the screen somehow when you are wearing the glasses- there is still the space between you, the real actual world of three dimensional people and the screen which purports to give the 3d experience.
    I would love to be alive for when cinema goes into the realms of princess leia holograms, or like virtual reality- not to see the death of 2d, but to have a 3d alternative that actually works.

  • Comment number 63.

    The most annoying thing about the 3D "revolution" is the number of films that are retrofitted. Movies that are not even filmed in 2D, are shown in 3D in the clearest and most obvious money making exercise the world has ever known, and it's had a few.
    Also, retrofitting destroys the image. Take "The Last Airbender": Apart from being terrible in many, many ways, it is also literally dull; after retrofitting one can barely see the action at all (which is, probably, a blessing).

  • Comment number 64.

    I dearly hope you are right Doctor!

    @Simon79: I hate 3D with passion and I promised myself I will never watch anything in 3D again, which can be avoided in London.

    But since I moved to Eastern Europe I have been forced to put on the cursed tunnel vision glasses, because multiplexes will only show 3D versions of recent movies. If you find a screen that shows it in 2D maybe twice a week, it will be dubbed. I think it must have something to do with the difficulty of subtitling 3D. Or simply cinemas have spent so much investing in this they can't let audiences make the choice.

  • Comment number 65.

    I wear glasses and don't wear contacts so have to wear my Real3D glasses over my other glasses. This is not good.
    Not good for my headaches.
    Not good for fashion.
    And certainly not good for my cinematic experience.
    I've only seen Avatar 3D and A Christmas Carol 3D, and both of those seemed like they were 3D for 3D sake. I'd be happy to see 3D decline into the vats of film history.


  • Comment number 66.

    I work in the field of 3D entertainment. You don't need special glasses and it's as old as man. It's called theatre. Can you imagine a theatre director always making props jut out into the audience just because he can. "Woah, I can almost touch it!" etc.

    I went to see Ferngully...I mean Avatar, and I thought that the 3d completely got in the way of the story, such as it was. Actually Ferngully was a much better film.

    Mark, I really hope you're right but if 3D becomes the standard for movies will you still be here reviewing them in two years time? I'm not sure I would be.

  • Comment number 67.

    Is this the "less is more" type thinking? If it is I understand your reasoning.

  • Comment number 68.

    I hope and pray that you are spot on with this prediction.

  • Comment number 69.

    Joe Dante said something on friday's radio show which is bugging me. When asked the question why did make The Hole in 3D he said that it was too small because there was really 1 only location and the 3D will make people feel like they're there with the two characters. Well how do you think Das Boot and all the other single location films did without 3D. If the script didn't get you emersed in the story already then doing something with the script. If you've only got 1 location looked to Das Boot or any other single location films that work with the idea of claustrophobia. Did anyone else feel like that or was it just me?

  • Comment number 70.

    Due to working in a multiplex, I have spent a considerable amount of time viewing 3d films. At first I found 3d movies almost uncomfortable to watch, which was caused by the unfamiliarity of the experience. I now find that viewing a film in 3d only enriches the whole experience for me. I also find myself viewing traditional 2d films wishing that it were in 3d.

  • Comment number 71.

    I wonder if anyone else feels like me in that 3D is just one more thing that makes me turn to my local arthouse cinema more and reject the local multiplexes. My local Cineworld used to show a large range of movies from blockbusters down to indies. However the screens previously reserved for the more obscure flicks are now being used to show standalone 3D movies and retro fitted 3D versions of 2D films.
    Very frustrating...thank heaven for the small arthouse cinemas who can now pick up the quality indie flicks and make some money for themselves.

  • Comment number 72.

    I wonder what Mark will make of these comments by FDA chief executive Mark Batey:

    "The reason why cinema has drawn such huge crowds over these periods is first and foremost because of 3D."

    "3D tickets are a little bit more expensive, but the production process all the way through is more expensive, and the experience is better."

    I wonder if Mark Batey can explain why Inception is in the top 5 highest grossing films of the year, seeing as it was such a resolutely two dimensional affair.

  • Comment number 73.

    Whoa! Are we writing off 3-D too fast just because the glasses are a bother, the ticket prices are inflated, the footcandles are somewhere around our ankles and the movies that have been made are -- with few exceptions -- ham-fisted, incompetent rip-offs? Perhaps 3-D needs to develop its own syntax in the way that sound, colour, CinemaScope, surround, zoom lenses (and, from the start, close-ups) took varying numbers of releases before they established their place in screen vocabulary. Who was it who said that "CinemaScope is only useful for showing two snakes making love"? Perhaps 3-D needs time to grow from gimmick to grammar. 2012 ought to do it.

  • Comment number 74.

    I've seen one of the new batch of 3D films, and this was enough for my girlfriend and I. at the end she felt sick and I had really bad eye strain.

    Also they showed Step Up 3D as a trailer, and I just couldn't follow what was going on with any of tha dancing in 3D.

    And the had a trailer for the new Naria film, with some nice snow storm in 3D, however as soon as it moved off screen it destroyed the illusion of 3D and pulled me out of the moment.

    So for all these and other reasons, for me 3D is already dead.

  • Comment number 75.

    #72 - Funny how a high gross isn't always considered to be an indicator of quality.

    How come, in this case, Inception's gross is, but, for example, the Star Wars prequels' titanic grosses aren't?

  • Comment number 76.

    3D is inherently flawed. One of the crucial elements of watching and enjoying a film is suspension of disbelief. The whole function of 3D cinema is to break that suspension of disbelief. It doesn't make the experience more immersive but more distant. We're being sold the idea that we're getting some kind of virtual reality whereas in reality we're just being sold those old Viewfinder toys from the sixties and seventies. A novelty that will wear thin very quickly.

  • Comment number 77.

    This may seem a little cynical but perhaps the reintroduction of 3D was merely a gimmicky attempt to bring the masses back to the cinemas rather than sit at home and download the movie or stream it a month before its release date.
    Before this explosion of 3D silliness it certainly did seem that the movie industry as a whole was suffering due to piracy (for which is still is), SO HEY! lets reel them in with increased ticket prices and empty promises of a more immersive experience!

    In terms of 3D itself I have a massive problem with the so called 3 dimensional effect that it gives. Nothing on screen has accurate depth! It looks as though scenes have been constructed out of sheets of paper then layered out towards the audience so everything looks completely flat and completely false, characters end up looking like a post steam roller Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, not a good look at all!

    I'm not totally against 3D don't get me wrong, but I feel the technology is seriously flawed and unless its a film within the horror genre where I may get a soaking from a decapitated stump I'm not really interested.

    If you're predictions are correct Dr K and I have every faith that they will be, roll on 2012!

  • Comment number 78.

    I think, as various others have mentioned, that there will be various technology improvements in the coming years - the digital projection systems will improve until the image is so clear that it will look like you viewing a window on reality. That in itself will create an immersive effect that will result in a sort of 3D like effect in your visual cortex. The idea of '3D' being a distinct, seperate feature/gimmick that you can add to a movie title will become as old-fashioned as the cardboard glasses that we've had for 50 years. So 3D will not die as such because improved immersiveness will reinvent the idea of the 3D movie - in that sense, Chris Nolan was right when he said that the future of cinema was more in line with IMAX.

  • Comment number 79.

    I concur with Dr Kermode. Not that I've seen a 3-D film since Jaws 3-D, if I wanted visual stimulation I'd either drop some LSD or Magic Mushrooms or neck four cans of Red Bull after a spot of the Ludovic-technique...This over-stimulation - apparent in the slightly overrated 'Inception' - makes me year for slow films where little happens, or things unfold, e.g. the epic Japanese-film 'Eureka', 'There Will Be Blood', Terence Davies films...'Barry Lyndon', 'Blade Runner' etc The Bourne-style rapid-action (evident in 'Quantum of Solace' is similarly irritating - as if films are being made for ADD-victims).

    It strikes me the best/most enjoyable films I've seen in the last year or so have been ones based around character and good-writing/acting - e.g. A Prophet, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Leaving...could you imagine This is England or A Prophet in 3-D?

    It's just a new marketing gimmick and I will salute its decline...

  • Comment number 80.

    It interests me that we seem to be talking about 3D cinema as if it is encompassing all cinema - it isn't. So far the major releases we've seen are a computer games franchise (Resident Evil), a bloated big budget fantasy (Clash of the Titans), a bloated big budget sci-fi Pocahontas (Avatar), and a film from a studio with lots of money and a history of technological innovation (Toy Story 3).

    If 3D becomes successful, which to the dismay of Dr K it may, it isn't going to destroy 'cinema' as a concept, or even as we understand it now. Indie film makers, non-Hollywood, and even most Hollywood studios simply can't afford the technology on the necessary scale. Not being able to make a Hollywood style film, with it's 3D Hank Marvin glasses and shrapnel flying towards the audience isn't going to deter the majority of film makers. After all, not being able to make a movie on a Hollywood scale doesn't deter them now...

  • Comment number 81.

    Anderson would read a press release saying crashing babies with hammers is the future of cinema if he thought it might a good career move.

    3D makes some people's eyes bleed so does CS gas.
    CS gas is great for dispersing crowds.
    That might be a problem.

  • Comment number 82.

    Had the internet existed a few decades back, we'd be having this debate about the talkies ...

  • Comment number 83.

    I can't help but think that 3D technology would evolve massively if it only had a bit of commercial support. What we are seeing now if the first really acceptable 3D technology, 1st Generation if you will. Come 3rd or 4th generation I'm certain we would find much more immersive 3D with a greater number of people able to actually perceive the effect.
    Also we cannot forget that the 3D technologies we see now will dramatically improve computer gaming and graphical user interfaces.

    I think Mark is giving 3D a bad reputation before the technology has even begun to shine. We're talking about whole new filming techniques, direction and production. It's way too early to call.

  • Comment number 84.

    3D is fine as optional screenings for huge movies like "Avatar".

    But when we get "Piranha II: 3D" and "Giant Squid vs T-Rex 3D" the novelty will wear off.

  • Comment number 85.

    Avatar was extremely effective in 3D, but to be honest the hi-def bluray version is equally entertaining and I don't think loses that much in the transition. anything with a vibrant colour palette (pixar!), looks FAR better in 2D.

    I did get caught up in the 3D hype when Avatar was release but I'm with the good doctor - lets ditch 3D and get back to basics and doing it well.

    3D can't save a bad film, and adds very little to a good film.

    So why do we need it?

  • Comment number 86.

    My main problem with 3D is that its giving us less of a choice of films to go see.The usual mix of 8 or so movies at the multiplex has often been reduced to a barren 4 as both 2D and 3D versions of the same film are shown. I really wanted to see Splice but couldnt as it was only on at the multiplex for a few days, shunted away by orb destroying kiddie blockbusters in multiple formats

  • Comment number 87.

    Great! It's a date then!

  • Comment number 88.

    3d is just not as exciting as BluRay / HiDef has been. Having classic films restored from negatives is simply stunning on a decent home screen. Films like Bladerunner and The Thing - they look really great and bring them bang up to date - especially if you don't have independent cinemas that show oldies. The technology actually adds a lot - to old films as well as new. I think having treasured classics brought back to life is more important to film than a fledgling immersion technology, at least for now.
    If you want an immersive experience, play a computer game like "Amnesia: The Dark Descent" which is now rated the scariest game ever made. It made my heart beat faster than in "Paranormal Activity".

    Computer games / interactive stories will end up being the destination for immersion media, not film. They still have a lot of catching up to do with the quality of the writing, but they are coming on in leaps and bounds.

  • Comment number 89.

    #88 - Your thoughts on the brilliant BioShock?

  • Comment number 90.

    I think that 3D at the cinema and home viewing will, after the initial surge, fall back to a niche level. That's assuming the studios continue to support it when they see the writing on the wall. BUT, where I do see 3D gaining a real foothold in is hidef gaming. This is undoubtedly where 3D will capture the minds of the wired generation and become a permanent feature in homes.

  • Comment number 91.

    What about cinemas without 3D capabilities being forced by distributors to advertise up coming films in 3D and IMAX 3D(since most trailers and posters for 3D films feature 3D prominently) ? Surely that's like taking a loaf of bread off the shelf at ASDA and seeing an advert behind it telling you you can get it cheaper at Tesco...?

  • Comment number 92.

    #89 - Yes Bioshock is a great game and has fairly decent writing. The art direction is superb, as are the sound effects. In fact, the overall production values are very high. The near end revelation was successful also.

    Mass market games are still pretty immature in approach though, and the mature games just do not sell as well as shooting games. The whole industry finds it difficult to illicit real powerful emotion in the player - it is not an easy task. The game I mentioned above does an astounding job at eliciting FEAR however, the best example yet - by far.

  • Comment number 93.

    Also just thinking generally - I know a film blog is not really the place but anyway.

    There is often mixed or limited crossover from film buffs to TV buffs to gaming buffs. I recall Mark Kermode only in the last few years watched some TV boxed sets for example (as 99% of TV is dross which is pretty accurate). But he is not a TV critic, so I will forgive him!

    I think the problem is it has taken a long time for good "television" to catch up with the quality of a cinema experience. Cinema is always going to be distinct and a very different animal, but to be honest the amount of rubbish that gets put into the multiplexes, I would rather sit home and watch a decent HBO series.

    I guess the whole structure of a 12 part series is completely different to film structure - so to be fair if you watched a whole season of something back to back in a cinema it would not hold together at all well (you would tire after a few episodes). Cinema is much more focused on its goal.

    It is a shame in many ways that shows like Mad Men may be neglected by some. This and many other shows (most stuff from the HBO stable) are really significant milestones.

    The camera work and editing in Mad Men is (I think? Comments?) very high quality (it reminds me of The Graduate and The Exorcist, both which for me had very distinctive editing from scene to scene). It is the first time I have noticed the editing in a series that made me really smile and think "clever, clever" (this might be a good or a bad thing, let me know).

    The emotional pay off after 20 plus hours with characters can be very, very rewarding to the viewer. Still, they are built round the episodic drip feed rather than a single experience, ideas and behaviours are repeated, and so on. However - characterisation can afford to be more complex, and as long as the writers are not lazy or struggling, and you can see definite changes and layers in the characters. I guess a film script does not have this luxury, so a good script will essentially pare down the characterisation to the roots - and what you get is a more intense or focused experience for two hours.

    I guess its very like comparing apples and oranges, but still, TV and gaming is really improving continually and in many cases gives a better entertainment and escapist experience than your average crappy summer blockbuster.

  • Comment number 94.

    3D is an expensive gimmic and I'll be glad to see the back of it. I didn't see Avatar in 3D when it came out and thought it was one of the best films I'd ever seen, and I recently saw the Special Edition in 3D and thought the extra 10 mins worth of scenes added more than the 3D did.

  • Comment number 95.

    Current 3D is crap.It is only an upgrade of 1950 technology..and even much , much older .It will never take off until these silly rip-off viewing glasses are buried away for ever. When "filming costs", production costs become the same as present 2D , exhibition [ cinema ] seat costs are the same as 2D , and you only know if the film is in 2D or 3D once the proscenium curtains open , even if you need ordinary "specs" to see distances , then 3D will become the norm , true , truthful , 3D with no reduction in colour or brilliance on the screen , then film makers will have a real tool with which to utilise their art, without gimmics and used as an ordinary item.

  • Comment number 96.

    blah blah blah - I shan't fill this with my opinions on 3D, as everyone else has exhausted the hot air. But I would urge the Doctor to consider this:

    Hollywood is currently greenlighting all it's tentpole summer releases for summer 2011, and most are in 3D. I'm talking Spiderman, possibly Batman 3, and a whole host of others. I totally agree it won't last forever, and Indy filmmaking cannot afford the tech, but two years feels a bit soon I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 97.

    I think 3D is going to split both the TV and film industries.

    Hollywood loves is, maybe because it is a copy protection mechanism in some sense, but mainly because they want to pack us into the theatres for that 'warm glow' experience. And then collect the cash.

    Mind you, I get a warm feeling from a dodgy monochrome video CD of "Life is Wonderful" I got in Malaysia.

    It's the latest MacGuffin, I suppose.

    TV manufacturers LOVE IT!!! Now we can brand things 3D-Ready and sell loads of new kit. Ultra hi-def (2k or 4k lines) is a way off so they've bought it.

    It's also a new market Blu-Ray.

    However, it will split at all levels. Sky have to run both a 2D and 3D edit van when they do sport in 3D. The same shots just do not work.

    For 3D film to be ubiquitous, we either have to throw away any hope of the DP shooting for 2D. Or, a good cinematographer will have to shoot 2D and 3D.

    It would be too lame to just 'fix it in post/edit.'

    3D will split the public. Some people will just not be able to handle it. Astigmatism anyone?

    The immersive argument does not hold water. Film is special (time to get technical) because you can have shallow focus. Some people (Cohens) like the wide-angle, sharp approach but being able to direct the viewers attention with focus is key.

    With 3D you need everything in focus. At least, that's the approach taken. This will kill the mood of many, many productions.

    Also 3D is NOT 3D. It stereo-planar. It's an attempt at 3D from one perspective.

    This also means that the immersive argument doesn't work. You are immersed in a world where the eye will TRY to focus on this, or that (and expect other stuff to be soft/blurred) but it wont work. The camera has already focussed for you and you're watching a flat screen.

    I think traditional cinema will stay 2D as the language of cinema is defined by 2D techniques.

  • Comment number 98.

    I think 3D is going to split both the TV and film industries.

    Hollywood loves it, maybe because it is a copy protection mechanism in some sense, but mainly because they want to pack us into the theatres for that 'warm glow' experience. And then collect the cash.

    Mind you, I get a warm feeling from a dodgy monochrome video CD of "Life is Wonderful" I got in Malaysia.

    It's the latest MacGuffin, I suppose.

    TV manufacturers LOVE IT!!! Now we can brand things 3D-Ready and sell loads of new kit. Ultra hi-def (2k or 4k lines) is a way off so they've bought it.

    It's also a new market Blu-Ray.

    However, it will split at all levels. Sky have to run both a 2D and 3D edit van when they do sport in 3D. The same shots just do not work.

    For 3D film to be ubiquitous, we either have to throw away any hope of the DP shooting for 2D. Or, a good cinematographer will have to shoot 2D and 3D.

    It would be too lame to just 'fix it in post/edit.'

    3D will split the public. Some people will just not be able to handle it. Astigmatism anyone?

    The immersive argument does not hold water. Film is special (time to get technical) because you can have shallow focus. Some people (Cohens) like the wide-angle, sharp approach but being able to direct the viewers attention with focus is key.

    With 3D you need everything in focus. At least, that's the approach taken. This will kill the mood of many, many productions.

    Also 3D is NOT 3D. It stereo-planar. It's an attempt at 3D from one perspective.

    This also means that the immersive argument doesn't work. You are immersed in a world where the eye will TRY to focus on this, or that (and expect other stuff to be soft/blurred) but it wont work. The camera has already focussed for you and you're watching a flat screen.

    I think traditional cinema will stay 2D as the language of cinema is defined by 2D techniques.

  • Comment number 99.

    In two years to come there will be the odd film every now and then of Avatar-esque proportions. I do think 3d is here to stay. But at the moment we are enjoying or not; a spate of showcase films that say "hey look what I can do, I can come out of the screen at you". It seems to be more of a novelty for directors to play around with and spawns ideas/visuals in films that perhaps would not have come to fruition had the film been in 2D. Once all the parlour tricks have run out, the novelty worn off and audiences go back to demanding the same quality they do out of 2D films then we will hopefully start seeing the odd big budget, well made 3D film.
    For now though film companies may as well get all the money they can out of attracting those extra bums on seats while there is still hype.
    There are two many films that really don't require you to don some glasses like Comedies, Indies, Thrillers and even horror all of which are genres that frequent the charts. It is all just very unnecessary where drama takes centre stage and would just serve to undermine the principle point of the films.
    I agree with Christopher Nolan Imax is the way forward.

  • Comment number 100.

    I saw The Hole in 3D and, like Dr Kermode said, the glasses were a hindrance - they made the film too dark. Plus if you're not used to wearing glasses you're really conscious of the frames in your field of vision.
    PLUS the sound was v v low and as it was a multiplex there were no cinema employees around to realise this and correct the problem.


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