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Did someone actually make a good case for 3d?

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Mark Kermode | 11:02 UK time, Monday, 21 June 2010

There's a new movie out in 3D. Toy Story 3D. I liked it. A lot. Almost made me forget Avatar, Alice in Wonderland in 3D and all the rest of that point-in-the-eye trickery that passes for cinematic entertainment these days. But before you all get too excited at this apparent volte-face I have two words for you: foot-lamberts.

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Let's not forget that Chris nolan is also a part of the movie business, he has to cooperate with what the studios want if he wants to survive as a filmmaker.
    But the guy is obviously a genius and i will follow all his movies regardless in 2D or 3D.
    Batman kicks ass in all dimensions!

  • Comment number 2.


    well the fact that you forgot that it was in 3D and became absorbed into the filmworld is surely a good thing, if not the ultimate goal of this technology.

    Basically I think the whole problem with the 3D experience is that it is oversold by the studios as a gimmick but in reality it's more akin to a the role of good sound design in movies. When sound is done well in a film you shouldn't really be noticing it. It simply augments the experience and cements the reality of the filmworld. Hundreds of hours of painstaking work are involved but you only really become acutely conscious of sound when it's done badly.

    And just as you wouldn't come out of a surround sound film and complain that halfway through you forgot that there was a bigger soundfield from an extra set of rear speakers, should 3D films not simply have this humble expectation of subtle immersive augmentation rather than something altogether hyperbolic?

    In my opinion the problems of 3D are in the marketing and taste, not the technology.

  • Comment number 3.

    edit - "something altogether more hyperbolic?"

    I wish this blog had an edit function=[

  • Comment number 4.

    Ive yet to see a movie in 3D so must refrain from commenting on the experience: The old "don't knock it till you have tried it" attitude.

    As a form of technology though it does seem much more relative to gaming than cinema. There is a level of immersion, of participation, than games require and 3D may be a manner in which to enrich this experience. Though the level of enrichment may differ relative to the genre....driving games will benifit more than some others.

    Im unconvinced that most cinema requires such immersion, im certain that the rape scene in Irreversible is something i dont want thrust toward me. Yet cinema that is marketed, and geared toward, "adrenaline fuelled 2 fast kaboom" type enternatinment....well i suppose they may benifit. There are cinematic fun rides that would probably benifit from hydrolic chairs too.

  • Comment number 5.

    If it was possible to view 3D as just another weapon, albeit an expensive one, in a filmmaker's arsenal, that would be fine. But until a director uses it to reinforce a film's intrisic artistic merit, which I haven't seen done yet - I can only assume it to be a cynical money making exercise in the face of falling ticket sales. Not noticing 3D doesn't validate it's inclusion, it just serves to call into question the director's intent. Hope to be proven wrong, doubt I will.

  • Comment number 6.

    I remember reading Christopher Nolan's opinions on the problems of 3D, and I have to agree with him.

    I think the 30% colour loss is even more significant than even whether 3D adds to the experience. If anything, the 3D arguement is a red-herring to the more important issue of colour deficit to a 3D film.

    For example, imagine you are watching David Lynch's masterpiece Blue Velvet and his wonderful sets are displayed to you in 30% loss of colour. It would be like watching only 70% of his film, or the effect on how much you enjoy the film could be incalculable as result of this colour detriment. If you were a film restorer on Rear Window who watched this colour loss, you would imagine the film print was in need for some much loved restoration.

    30% colour deficit is not acceptable!

  • Comment number 7.

    The only time when I forgot about the 3D glasses I had on was in Avatar. As quirky and entertaining as How To Train Your Dragon was, I still knew I had them on. On the good doctors advice however I will not see Shrek the 19th or Toy Story 3 in 3D.

    P.S: I must be the third bassist and Film Critic in the world.

  • Comment number 8.

    It seems a lot of other posters regularly view films in 3D, I on the other hand gave up after 'Monsters vs Aliens' and 'Coraline'. Both experiences resulted in no greater immersion than I have felt otherwise in a cinema but gave me sore eyes and a headache.

    I am unsure what to do now, to give away more money and give Toy Story 3 in 3D a chance? or to go for the tried and tested method. It is frustrating that I cannot get a true comparison, as I've never liked a film available in 3D enough to view it twice, once in each format. Hopefully this will change with the new Toy Story film. But otherwise, I am stuck between a rock and a hard place; I have no groundings to say the colour difference is substantial enough for me to rule out 3D showings, as I've never watched the same film in both. But I also seem like a deliberately awkward prat if I don't succumb to the all-conquering 3D band-wagon.

  • Comment number 9.

    I've written it once and I'll write it again; we view the world around us in three dimensions. Why not view a movie that way, too?

    Akin to the introductions of widescreen, colour and stereo sound, 3D makes the viewing experience that little more realistic. 3D is here to stay - like it or not - and will only get better as technology, as ever, progresses.

  • Comment number 10.

    It's actually very appropriate that you have clips of daycare kids terrorizing Buzz in the gang as background for your 3D discussion. Every time 3D talk comes up, I see in my head this mental image of a small child banging a new toy against the floor.

    I'm one of the maybe three people who don't care about Nolan's Batman movies, but he should have the right to make them the way he wants. Obviously what he's doing is already working for his audience.

    I haven't seen Toy Story 3 in 3D. I have, however, seen Toy Story 3 in 2D and thought it was a great, immersive experience. Take from that what you will.

  • Comment number 11.

    My first experience of a 3D film was 'Honey I Shrunk The Audience' in 1998 at Disneyland Paris, and as far as I remember the experience was not so different from watching a 3D film today. The technology has been around for a long time, it has just taken a while for it to emerge from the world of theme parks and find its way into our local cinema. It seems to me that it began as a gimmick to draw people into fairground attractions, and is now being used in much the same way to bring people into the cinema. I have heard a nasty rumour recently that Citizen Kane is going to be remastered as a 3D movie, and I'm sure George Lucas is currently wetting himself at the prospect of rehashing his old movies once more. What we as film fans must do is ignore it and continue enjoying films for what they are. Maybe one day there will be a technological breakthrough that vastly improves the cinema going experience, but 3D is certainly not it. The truth is our favourite films will continue to be remade and remastered as 3D epics, but they will eventually go one step too far and the fad will do what all fads do and die. Lets just be patient...

  • Comment number 12.

    One of the main themes running throughout the Toy Story saga is that of old toys vs new toys. Clearly Pixar are in favour of new toys.

  • Comment number 13.

    #11 - Cinema ITSELF was considered to be a "...fad" way back when, too.

  • Comment number 14.

    Thinking about the metaphor of it being similar to watching a stage play....

    It would seem that 3D may work in that sense with continuous shots similar to those filmed in "Children of men". Im stretching the metaphor maybe, but when watching a play we sit in one seat, as such in a fixed perspective that is relative to the unfolding events.

    It would be ridiculous though for a play to stop mid scene and the director to say, ok all the audience move to the left. Similarly, the metaphor breaks down in that cinema is usually not shot from a fixed perspective visually. We move our seats constanly as the different camera angles are cut together.

    In example, the fight sequences in the Greengrass "Bourne" films may be even more disorientating in 3D, as our depth perception is shifted in a rapid way that ruins the illusion.

  • Comment number 15.

    Could i ask the good Dr that he give a simple SPOILER ALERT in future blogs because as someone who has yet to see both toy story 3 and inception i dont really want to be shown lots of clips from the films that give away some of the content of them. I know that the clips might not reveal anything away about the plot but i think that CONTENT SPOILERS are just as important not to reveal and PLOT SPOILERS.

    Sorry i don't mean to be a nag but i'm just really looking forward to inception and i belive Dr k knows from past expirence, whole films can be seen/sumed up/substituted from their trailers, such as clash of the titans, leap year and law abiding citizen for example.

    As again for 3D i've written this before but i agree with the comment from 'Cal' #4 that 3D is most probably better suited for video games and only might be worth it for films if more of the problems were sorted out like the colour loss and if the projection of 3D came further out the screen and even closer to you and more around your viewing range taking up a much wider and deeper spectrum, rather than just dead in front and a little bit of pointy pointy.

  • Comment number 16.

    I remember before Pixar's UP was released that there was talk of everyone looking towards that movie to try and establish some of the conventions of 3D/Stereoscopic. This was a studio that had shown how to make a good CG movie, rather than the soulless stuff that came before, and perhaps they could now show the way for 3D.

    The ultimate problem is that these studios are using 3D as a way of making more money and not as a tool to improve story telling. In the case of Toy Story 3D, we have here a good story which is just being "enhanced" by the use of 3D...Many of the other movies mentioned by Mark Kermode would have been terrible films no matter what the studios threw at them, but at least they could turn a profit by charging twice or three times the price for admission.

  • Comment number 17.

    How ridiculous is it going to look in five or ten years time when you open one of those "Movie Bibles", in which you can look up a review for any movie by the year or alphabetically, and when you get to the 2008, 2009 and 2010 (and beyond, I presume) sections and half of the film titles end with "3D", particularly third installments of franchises. It is making a mockery of film as art; what next? Fellini's 8 1/2 re-released and retro-fitted in 3D?... "8 1/2 3D" (that rolls off the tongue!) Or if Chris Nolan does film the next Batman film in 3D, is he going to skip the memorable names that he has used so far on his series and go for a cheap and tawdry "Batman 3D" style title? Straight away the tagging-on of a "3D" label cheapens the product and informs you that you are essentially in for a gimmicky ride.

    I personally did not like "Up" and I gave it a rather unfavourable review, but I think had I seen it in it's proper colour (I emphasise COLOUR) I would have enjoyed it a lot more. For me it felt like I was watching it on a projector which needed a new bulb!

    If I want to watch a 3D movie I will go for Friday The 13th Part 3D, which has no pretentions other than to pop eyeballs and daggers out at you, that I can handle with a certain nostalgic glee. This "immersive experience" crap has annoyed me constantly; when I go to the cinema I don't want an "immersive experience", if I want that kind of enterainment I will go to the fairground and hop on the Big Wheel or on The Ghost Train.

    While we are on the topic of Nolan and Batman, they should have named the "Mumblecore" indie movement after Bale's performance in that film... "WITNESS Batman's pointy ears and Christian Bale's ego in all their 3D glory! LISTEN to Batman's incoherent mumbling in Super-Duper Dolby Digital 12.1 immersisound!"

    Jesus, what ever happened to proper cinema?

  • Comment number 18.

    I share your reluctance to hop on the 3D bandwagon. But why haven't you gone HD yet? Poppy-Out Kermode - booo! But Super-Sharp Kermode - yay!

  • Comment number 19.

    @TheDexter102

    Make that FOUR bassist film critics :-) I too am a four string (actually I have a five string) wielding film critic! :-) I think hearing John Carpenter's brilliant bluesy bass playing on the They Live soundtrack might have helped.

    Maybe we should all start an all-bass playing/film critic band. You take the high notes, Dr K can take the low (as he has a double bass), i'll take the mid-notes haha.

  • Comment number 20.

    3D is here to stay. We didn't get a choice in it, but we didn't get a choice in CD, DVD, HD, 5.1 etc, etc, etc. I haven't seen a 3D movie because none of them have been anything I have had any interest in seeing, and I resent the extra cost, as if the cinema wasn't already very expensive.

    Big studios will continue to churn out big budget movies in 3D, and then there will always be smaller movies that are not in 3D - each to their own. I just think this is where things are going. May as well give up the argument.

  • Comment number 21.

    Having seen Toy Story 3 in 3D (not by personal choice) I have to agree with you with everything you said, except that I still found the glasses to be extremely uncomfortable and spent quite a bit of time reaccomodating them throughout the film. Regardless of this, I did forget at many instances throughout that I was watching a film in 3D, but when I came out of the theatre, my comments regarding the 3D were not something like acknowledging how naturalistic the illusion of 3D was, but rather like "what's the point?".

    I've already written and commented on the film in several blogs and forums, I've had days to think about the film, form opinions and reconsider them, and I still believe that all I got from seeing this in 3D was a more expensive ticket and a need for annoying glasses to be able to watch the film in higher detail.

    That said, the fact that a certain Miyazaki creation was featured quite prominently throughout the film made me a happy boy all over again.

  • Comment number 22.

    I do find it odd that MK complains that 3D in toystory is pointless because he was so engrossed in the film that he stopped noticing it. Presumably that's the goal of all effects visual or otherwise to enhnce the film and not impede the story telling. A good recent case of this was the retro model effects in "Moon" because I was enjoying the film the fact they were obviously models didn't matter. I'm no cheer leader for 3D but I think like all film techniques good directors will find ways of using to improve their films and poor ones will misuse it much as they do sound design, cgi etc.

  • Comment number 23.

    I saw Toy Story 3 at the EIFF on Saturday and I entirely agree with you, Mark. With the character and story development on show, not to mention the beautifully rendered animation, there's enough visual and emotional depth in the film without shelling out further for silly glasses. Also pleased to see a critic finally mentioning the horror elements- I'll never look at a little clapping monkey with cymbals the same way again.
    I'm really looking forward to seeing Inception in glorious 2D (hope Batman 3 is the same) and to seeing Toy Story 3 again when it finally opens here in July.

  • Comment number 24.

    I'm personally not really sold on 3D but I'm also not that worried, basically.

    Here's my anecdote on the subject: My dad loved Avatar and since he was paying I agreed to go see it with him three times. The first two times was in 2D and after viewing it twice I did wind up liking it, even if some of the themes are problematic and the story isn't anything new. Call it a guilty pleasure. Besides, I'm a Stephen Lang fanboy. Anyway -

    The third time we went to see it in 3D. Being one who wears glasses due to shortsightedness (no contacts) I had to wear both mine and the 3D glasses, which was a hassle, and which lead to a headache and wave of nausea for the first thirty minutes. After that I got used to it and it got better. But honestly, outside a deeper field of vision and a few interesting effects, it was the same movie. I didn't like it any more or any less because of the 3D.

    Given the choice between 2D and 3D, I'll now go for 2D each time. To me, 3D isn't worth the extra money or the physical discomfort involved in watching it. And they're definitely not worth a 30% colour loss.

    On the other hand, excepting odd movies like Avatar, I'm never that attracted to big blockbuster movies anyway, which I anticipate will be where we'll see most 3D in the future - most of the movies I want to watch will still be filmed in 2D.

    (And now I'm at an uncomfortable point where I'm entertaining the train of thought "I wonder what the last movie I watched would look like in 3D?", and then realizing that the last movie I watched was The Human Centipede - I'm not sure what to think about that)

    But anyway - as a fan of live performances as well as film, I can honestly say that the magic of theatre isn't in the fact that it's in 3D. It might be for some, but for me it gains its magic, its reality, its soul and its energy from the fact that the performers are giving it their all and we, the audience, are effectively spying on other people's lives and are moved by them. The same is true of movies. It has nothing to do with 3D or 2D.

    The only area where stage and film differ can not be caught by any technology, it's the air inside the old theater, it's the excitement, it's the physicality of the actors - it's it being real and being there to watch it. Nothing to do with dimensions, nothing at all.

  • Comment number 25.

    Oh Dr. K, relent and (sorta kinda) backpedal all you want. I'm afraid that unless I deign to start wearing contacts (pricey for people like me with astigmatism, btw) I won't be able to ever watch a 3D movie and "forget" that I am watching a 3D movie. The discomfort of wearing the 3D glasses over my regular glasses coupled with the constant sliding and the all important (not to ever ever ever be downplayed) COLOR LOSS means that I am sticking like glue to good old number 2--2D that is.

    Your statement that people want 3D because they are being told they want it opens up an interesting line of discussion on desire that I dare not dip my feet into since I am embarrassingly rusty on my Lyotard and Lacan, but maybe another one of your intrepid readers dare jump in?

    Finally, I think Sam Mendes's great words about 3D bear repeating (and I paraphrase), "If you want to see 3D performance, go to the (proper) theater."

  • Comment number 26.

    I think the 3D debate needs to be put on hold until the release of Werner Herzog's forthcoming documentary, The Cave. If you watch the following interview he gave with Roger Ebert, he really sounds like he is going to experiment with the possibilities of 3D filmmaking in a way that nobody else is attempting:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H-VodcRG4o

    Who knows? If Herzog can make it work, maybe we'll see new 3D films from such visionaries as Peter Greenaway, Lars von Trier, or even Terry Gilliam. Maybe David Lynch will also follow suit and force you to eat your shoe. And maybe -- just maybe -- this gimmick we call 3D will blossom into something much more than mere cinematic pop-up books.

  • Comment number 27.

    The 3D 'revolution' was brought kicking and screaming into life by the stubborn, misguided efforts of Mr James Cameron. Cameron said 3D is the future. With a background like his, companies like Panasonic could do nothing else but fall for his claims. That's why they actively assisted in research and development during the making of Avatar. In other words, 3D has been forced on all of us by the personal beliefs of one man and apparently the whole world must accept it. He is the 'King of the wolrd' after all...

    If 3D is the future, then ask yourself why the need for the glasses. What about 3D minus the glasses? After all, the glasses is what makes the whole thing gimmicky in the first place, right? Unfortunately the problem is glasses-less 3D requires viewers to be sitting directly in front of the screen/their TVs. This is the main weakness of the 3D revolution: there HAS to be glasses. And while there is glasses, it will always be a gimmick. Imagine a pub full of big, hard men sipping their pints while watching the latest heavyweight bout in their nerdy 3D glassess and you will see my point...

    In 3 or 4 years time, 3D will have gone the same way as HD DVD: an expensive mistake that showed a brief glimmer of potential thanks to some hasty, misinformed consumers, who will then be stuck with a redundant technological 'white elephant' for their troubles. Panasonic et al will have a lot of egg on their face and James Cameron will be standing red faced in the corner, having duped a lot of people. If you purchase a 3D TV, then do so with caution because it's not here to stay.

  • Comment number 28.

    The dimmed image aspect really annoys me in 3D movies.
    But here's the thing.
    Here we are paying an extra £4 or so to watch in 3D (incidentally I always keep the glasses in the event that they will eventually start charging even more for them - which in some places they already are).
    We already know that, glasses aside, it doesn't really cost anything extra to show the film in 3D (the cinema has long since recouped the cost of the new projectors, I'm sure).
    The brightness of the lamps are directly proportional to the amount of heat hitting the film.... but 3D projectors aren't showing *film* anymore because it's a *digital* medium.
    So why, finally, can't they alter the technology and make the image 30% BRIGHTER with the extra £4 they're taking off us?

  • Comment number 29.

    Interesting background.

    Was it deliberate or did you subconsciously decide to do this video in front of one-eyed statues which if brought to life would never be able to watch 3D films???

  • Comment number 30.

    Bloody 3D is irrelevant to me. My right eye dominates 80% of my vision, the left only brining in peripheral vision, so I can't watch 3D films anyway. Guessing it's a similar story for people with certain other eye conditions too.

  • Comment number 31.

    Here's a small point.

    When we remember things about our favourite films they will usually be small moments, or some dialogue, or maybe a particular shot, or an effective combination of sound and music (Blade Runner's full of these moments, lost in time, like tears in.... oh sorry)

    Personally I'll never forget the opening moments of the 1978 "Superman" with the marvellous swishy sounds and laser titles (it was probably a mono presentation, but I felt sure the subwoofers were working overtime).

    But one thing I think it will be impossible to 'remember' will be anything connected with the 3D-ness of a film.

  • Comment number 32.

    @Matth Stil: "we view the world around us in three dimensions. Why not view a movie that way, too?"

    Because it isn't the job of cinema to replicate the way we see life. Your argument is one that gets repeated ad nauseam every time a viewer criticises the "3D experience" as being something entirely superfluous to the way we experience films.

    When you look outside your window, the only way you know that an object has three dimensions is because your brain communicates it through experience and association. It is exactly the same coordination between the brain and the eye that works when you see a film projected correctly on a conventional cinema screen. You don't need the objects to be digitally projected out, into your face, in order to believe that a car or a character or a location exists, because your brain supplies that information for you. The 3D process does the work that your brain and your eyes would do automatically, and have done for however long you've been viewing movies, art, television, photography, etc.

    3D adds absolutely nothing to the emotional connection that we share with films; the things that are felt between characters, the journeys they take, the atmosphere of a location, or the exchange of ideas, thoughts and feelings from a filmmaker to collective audience. Its appeal seems entirely limited to the "oh wow" sense of wonderment that is no less powerful in any supposedly archaic black and white silent film shot in a ratio of 1.37:1.

  • Comment number 33.

    You'll have to excuse me getting all officious about something that I have only a layman's knowledge of, but...

    It occurs to me that 3D technology is just one of an arsenal of tools available to the film-maker, one that is gaining an increasing second wind. As an eager consumer of schlock horror, I really enjoyed the exploitative elements of "My Bloody Valentine 3D", and I intend to continue watching it every Valentine's Day, despite the fact that it's not really a 'good' movie on any level. I like it, perhaps in the way that I enjoy the use of colour in the hilariously over-the-top manner in which colour was used in "The Wizard of Oz", which was to my mind as arguably exploitative of a new cinematic medium in its own way as "MBV: 3D" was with its pickaxes and shotgun barrels.

    I'm going to have to weigh in alongside thedexter102 here, in that perhaps the only time I forgot that I was wearing 3D glasses was watching "Avatar", because it seemed a little superfluous, the point was all the EPIC ACTION between the Na'vi and the human agressors, not the occasional tree standing out in the foreground. In other words, the story was what was important. By contrast, during "MBV: 3D" I was acutely aware of the fact that I was wearing an ill-fitting pair of cinematic magic-goggles, but it was probably the most fun I've ever had with a 3D movie (compare the "Clash of the Titans" remake, which arguably threw in a couple of 3D exploits without working that into the ethos of the film). The story was important, but the makers knew that it was as much an opportunity to try out new tech on audiences as much as anything else, and made that an explicit part of their contracts with audience members.

    This is my first response to this blog, and I come to it as more of a comics nerd than a film geek, but I think the argument is much the same, just as Cal et al have argued for similarities with video games. The reason I bring that up is that comics are an interactive media, in that the reader is actively involved in deriving the meaning of the story, just as much as the author and artist. This interactivity is aguably less evident in cinema, where sound and motion are supplied in addition to words and pictures, but I think a similar premise holds: between the cinema viewer and the film maker there's some sort of agreement as to what the film is "for", and that's why I enjoyed My Bloody Valentine but not so much the Clash of the Titans, despite both using similar cinematic tricks. The first film used them in a deliberate way, as if to say "Look what I can do! Isn't that cool!", whereas the second is showing off in a far more vacuous way, just saying "Look what I can do! Aren't I cool?"

    Do I have a point? It's hard to say, but I'd like to think that I do. If film-makers can use 3D in the same way that they've used colour, to revolutionise the cinema industry to the point that we don't notice the difference, well and good. I'd like to see that - a world where 3D adds imperceptibly to the viewing experience only because we take it for granted. That would presumably be the ideal state, and maybe we have to suffer through the formative years of 3D to get to that (if Cameron would like to spend another decade and a figure roughly equivalent to the GDP of at least three LEDCs in order to do that, then that might help speed the process up). That also seems to be the goal of Lasseter and the "Toy Story 3D" team - i.e. to provide 3D visuals that add something real that you hardly notice, in the way that colour brought something fresh and new to the medium. That's why, for instance, the occasional use of black and white can still be really well used (compare another schlock film, Frank Darabront's "The Mist", which is arguably better when watched in the alienating monochrome that The Good Doctor lambasts 3D for)). What I'm saying is that hopefully, 3D will eventually become just another tool in the film-makers shed, probably widely used, but not a necessary part of cinema. Then, and only then, would it realise its potential.

    If, on the other hand, it's just there as a gimmick, then it's worthwhile only technically, as a way of advancing 3D, and deserves every bit of critical scorn it gets. That's Dr. Kermode's cue, methinks...

  • Comment number 34.

    I think that the only films that would suit 3D well would be ones that follow in a similar direction to "The Final Destination". The cheesy story combined and ridiculous death sequences were enhanced by cars, body parts and all sorts of other things flying towards your face at 100 miles an hour making what would have been a dull film entertaining. 3D should be restricted to films that are made with the intention of utilising everything that it has to offer, rather than films that seem to slap on 3D just because they can.

  • Comment number 35.

    @Trevor (31) - I don't think that's entirely fair. The two things I remember from Avatar were both only really effective in 3D. The first jump / ride on the winged thingies. That was breathtaking. And all the bright little spore mushrooms flying around and landing on yer marine fella. I don't think those scenes would have been nearly as visually rich in 2D. I'm with luhspeak (2) - I think with 3D done properly, you should quickly forget it's there (and with annoying uncomfortable glasses, that might not even be possible but I think HTTYD came close to making me forget because of the engaging script)

  • Comment number 36.

    #32 *Palpatine-esque chuckle* - Gotcha! I agree completely with you, mate! 2D WILL DO FOR ME!!!!

  • Comment number 37.

    @ Grahm: Am absolutely with you on colour loss with regard to Lynch. Colour is so important in his films, and I can't think of anything which would be added to them by 3D. Could you imagine trying to watch Mulholland Drive with only 70% of the colour? You may as well watch a blank screen.

    I will be seeing Toy Story 3 in 2D if possible. I refuse to believe that it is any more immersive than normal flatscreen, just as you don't really get more from watching a film in 2.15:1 as opposed to 1.85:1.

  • Comment number 38.

    I have difficulty believing that your example was 81% luminance of the original.

    Nolan should make Batman a bit brighter to begin with. We don't need to go back to Tim Burton. And if he's so much into realism maybe he can stop shifting Christian Bale's voice down that octave or two.

  • Comment number 39.

    The arguement that audiences don't demand 3D so much as it is foisted upon us is an interesting one, particularly because in my little corner of the world 3D is not overwhelmingly popular. At best, the majority seem to be greeting it with apathy. When Coraline and Up came out last year and then Avatar, nearly every picture that appeared in our local chain theater arrived in 3D with often no option for 2D but that has quickly become less and less so. When I was there yesterday for Toy Story 3, there were three screens running the movie in 2D and only one in 3D. My 2D showing, I might add, was packed.

    Now, I live in a lower income area, so it's possible that people are only thinking in terms of the inflated ticket prices and their pocketbooks when it comes to 3D. But the fact that there is still an overwhelming number here who are willing to spend the extra money to come to the cinema, bring their friends and spend an extra ten or fifteen bucks on snacks but aren't willing to shell out the added fee for the 3D experience suggests to me that it may not necessarily be the Next Big Thing that it's publicized as.
    Studios like it because they can charge more and it helps inflate their box office numbers, but I get the impression that it's popular because it's being shoved down our collective throats, not because we demanded it.

    A few other things as well:

    1) Cal (#14) makes a very good point about the stage comparison. Besides the fact that our eyes already give 2D cinema depth, cinema is not reality, it is an artistic translation of reality. No matter how close to immersive life a film can get, there's still stylization, editing techniques and camera tricks to contend with. Making your film into a pop-up book isn't going to change that.
    2) The 3D fad seems to occur every couple of decades and never really stays for long unlike the technology that has truly advanced cinema such as sound, color, widescreen and so forth.
    3) Like Julian Smith (#24) I wear glasses and the 3D experience is one of physical discomfort. 2D is not. So until technology advances to the point where the film is injected straight into my brain the 3D option is the lesser one and even then I won't choose it for Human Centipede Fifteenth Sequence to witness a mad scientist's accomplishment of sewing the entire population of Germany together mouth-to-anus in glorious immersive 3D (and now I can't stop thinking about that so thanks Julian).
    4) Avatar was complete balls in 2D, and 3D didn't fix the fact that the imaginative environment was a series of video game cut-scenes with space-tigers and space-horses. Toy Story 3 theoretically wouldn't suck in 3D not because or the technology, but because it was actually a good movie.
    5) James Cameron with long hair holds an uncanny resemblance to my aunt.

    All that being said, I think 3D is perfectly fine as long as it is acknowledged as a trick, but for more dramatic purposes it's just pointless.

  • Comment number 40.

    @Olamina
    I'm with you on this one I too have an expensive optical script so am reduced to the 'double goggles' as a result not the best experience in the world. And though I enjoyed Avatar in 3D, I was not bowled over by it,and after going along to see My Bloody Valentine in 3D as a favour to someone,(Yes shocking isn't it?) it was a classic case of no plot, bad acting, a dire script, etc but the audience I felt were expected to over look all these things as the 3D experience supposedly conquered all. Sorry but after just a few scenes I was predicting when we'd be treated to a pick axe hurtling toward us,or a knife flying through the air, it was that obvious. So would seeing a film advertised in 3D make it a must see for me ?... Simple answer ....not really.

  • Comment number 41.

    Haven't seen Toy Story 3(D) yet. So far, the film I've liked best that also happened to be in 3D was Coraline; but that may be because of a strong bias towards stop-motion animation.

    However, I wouldn't use Coraline as my argument for 3D. It's a good movie (I think), and works well enough, and is interesting to rewatch, in 2D.

    My argument for 3D is Ice Age 3(D). Yes it was a silly film, and that's the point. I liked the scenery, I liked the flight scenes, and if anything in that movie is rewatchable, it's those things. Because of the 3D.

    So here's to hoping that the future of 3D is bright and colourful.

    Or alternatively, that deep focus makes a come-back.

  • Comment number 42.

    3D in my experience has been universally underwhelming. It's not impressive enough to convince me that it is the future, nor is it bad enough to drag a fun rant out of me. After so much discussion, argument, hype and ranting the whole issue now just fills me with a sense of tired apathy. Weather or not it's a gimmick is up for debate, I just wish it didn't dominate our cinema's an forums so completely. Much like with the world cup, I welcome the day when the issue has subsided one way or the other so that those of us who simply don't care can get back ignoring it again.

  • Comment number 43.

    I've only seen one film in 3D so far (Up), and had a similar experience to Mark's with the new Toy Story, in that I very soon stopped noticing the 3D. I think it must be to do with how the brain adapts to whatever visual stimulus it's getting - when watching 2D films it 'constructs' the 3D information for itself internally. Whether it's therefore worth the film-makers' effort to do the 3D for us I'm not sure - it's effectiveness my come down to the eye of the beholder...

    I have a very vivid memory of watching a (fairly long) TV programme as a child, lying on my side throughout so that I saw it sideways - I'd swear that by the end I could just as well have been watching it the right way up - the brain adapts that quickly. Experiments have been done where subjects wear glasses that turn everything they see upside-down - again, within a surprisingly short period of time they reported that the brain had compensated and they were seeing things normally.

    The drive to 3D may well be filling in a gap that doesn't need to be filled.

  • Comment number 44.

    But that's the fundamental problem with it isn't it? It doesn't add to anything but the price tag. If 3D cost the same as 2D, I'd see the 3D version almost all the time. I mean why not? It's the same price and it makes a terrible film slightly less terrible.

    I think 3D has a lot more potential in the gaming space. The Nintendo 3Ds is amazing and doesn't require glasses. Until that can become the theater and home theater standard I think 3D's got a tough road ahead, though a bit easier one than it had in the 50s-80s.

    I'm a big fan of IMAX. IMAX delivers that NEW experience. The sound is better, the image is unrivaled, the screen is enormous (We've got a six story one in NYC), it is incredibly engrossing. I have wrote on my website that I think IMAX really is the future of the cinema. 35mm alone doesn't do it anymore, hence the 3D resurgence, hence the decline in theater attendance and the rapid growth of the digital download market. People aren't willing to put up with chatty audience members, crying babies, and couples with raging hormones, to experience something that's only marginally better than what they can get on their 50-60 inch HDTV.

    I think IMAX is the key to getting people back into the cinema, not 3D. BUT the heads at IMAX have to get their act together, they must expand in ways I'm not quite sure they're capable of yet.

    Hope someone gains something from this long post.
    https://romanmfrance.com

  • Comment number 45.

    The only question that should be asked if you were able to forget that the film was in 3D is 'what am I paying extra for?' ...and the answer seems to be less colour.

    Personally the best film that I have seen in 3D was My Bloody Valentine 3D, not because of it's story telling merits but because it was 90 mins of pokey, pointy fun, i.e. 3D.

    This is why I am looking forwards to Resident Evil 4 and Piranha. Both are filmed in proper 3D and will actually benefit from the gimmick.

  • Comment number 46.

    Yet Chris Nolan's films tend to adopt a sombre palette, despite his arguments about brightness.
    We lose couple of foot-lamberts - do we actually notice? Can he give an example of two 2D movies where he thinks the difference is crucial?

    Does the audience want 3D? If they pay money to see it they're voting with their wallets, so yes. Hollywood (Chris Nolan and all) is all about supply and demand. It exists to make money, not art.

    Getting excited about Inception - 3D or 2D, a good story is a good story.

  • Comment number 47.

    I'm sorry - is KubrickandScott @37 actually citing Mulholland Drive as a serious argument against 3Ds' supposed colour loss? "You may we well watch a blank screen" - yes, you may as well. It's rubbish. Anyway, this colour loss malarkey hasn't bothered me in any of the 3D films I've seen thus far (which isn't all of them by a long shot).

    As for IMAX: the trouble with IMAX is that not everyone's got one. A far higher proportion of the populace have reasonable access to a regular 'plex than have access to an IMAX cinema. My nearest IMAX is in London but I've at least five Cineworlds alone in less than an hour's drive. (They all show the same tripe, though.)

    I still don't think 3D's a gimmick: I still maintain it's just something else you can do, like surround sound or 2.35:1. Some movies don't need it. Some have it but don't do anything with it.

    And the idea that the 3D premium is to cover the cost of the special equipment and special screen is now nonsense. They must have covered the costs by now, and anyway they use the exact same projectors and screens for 2D films in the same auditoria: I saw The Killer Inside Me on the same screen as Final Destination 4. To my mind, if they are going to keep the higher charge, they should give you the option of a cheaper 2D screening as well. Just as the 'plexes with IMAX should also run the films on a non-IMAX screen as well, for those that want the normal, standard cinema experience.

  • Comment number 48.

    It's nothing new that an artist should have to work towards giving an audience what it wants rather than working to please his/herself. Nor is it strange for an audience to be dictated to by the industry. Not really much of a discussion there as it's an age old subject which stretches out through almost any form of media.

    Here's the thing:

    I'm always excited about a new Pixar film. Last year when Up was released I was determined to go to my local IMAX and splash out a bit (a lot) more money in order to veiw it in the best 3D form possible. Eventually however, I was far too skint and so opted to go and watch it at my nearest bog standard cinema on a cheap night (Grand total of about £6 for both me and my girlfreind compared to the £20 it would have been at the IMAX). Even in plain old 2D Up was a beautiful and moving experieince. I've never regretted not spending the extra money. I did however watch Avatar at the IMAX in all its 3D glory and that too I found extremely enjoyable. On the whole I enjoy movies in 3D, but 3D can't turn a bad film into a good one. But I honestly dont beleive, unlike Kermode, that it detracts. Is it a gimmick? Yes it probably is. Special effects have nearly always been a gimmick. But that doesn't mean they cant be enjoyable. I feel that in the case of Avatar the gimmicky 3D actually contributed to the whole spectacle of the action. It's been available on DVD now for a good few months and I've never been tempted to buy it. Simply because I dont think it will be the same experience on a small 2D screen. Up, however, is enjoyable in any format.

    The great thing about cinema has always been the feeling of performance; something it has lost in recent years what with the advent of DVD, blue ray and the Internet. 3D, to a certain extent, replaces that. It's something unique that, so far, can only be properly expereinced at a cinema, preferably within a good film.

    You bass playing Film reveiwers can Do one! Us six-stringers have the more informed and intelligent opinions!

  • Comment number 49.

    Its a tough choice. I went to see UP in 3D - that was my first experience of it - and thought is was good but nothing mind blowing. I have now seen UP many times with my son and at no point have i thought 'well i must fork out thousands of pounds to have a more immersive experience!' - So no i makes no difference to whether i like the film or not. I was immersed in UP because i was enjoying the film and being at the cinema not because of the 3D.

    However - I went to see Avatar in 3D and spent the entire film feeling like i was at a fair ground for film makers. I am a professional Editor so for me it was like looking at an post production experiment. I enjoyed it - not really the film as such - but the wow factor in technically achieving the final look of the film.

    In the end can we please all remember that it is just layered 2D - I have made title sequences by cutting out people and laying photo's to create a false sense of 3D as you whoosh through them to the title. This is exactly how it feels to me so at no point do i believe that it is truly how we see the world. Do you really watch 3D and say - wow thats just how I see the world - or wow that looks odd.

  • Comment number 50.

    This is all very well and good but when Toy Story 3 comes out can you review the actual film and not the 3D? It seems like this particular aspect clouds your reviews and only a short amount of time is given to any other aspect. If you want it to go away, just ignore it.

  • Comment number 51.

    For me 3D is almost an irrelevance - it is the quality of the script and the quality of translation of that script to the screen that make a film good or bad.

    Not that I like to second guess him, but surely one of the contributory factors to the fact that Dr K hates 3D with such a passion is that up until Toy Story 3D all the latest 3D films have been so obsessed with the image and not with the content that the content has generally been poor? That's with the exception of Up, where the quality of the content negated the need for 3D at all.

    So, could Dr K's softening attitude be less about doubts over technology and comfort and more to do with the fact that finally someone has made a film where the 3D aspect is incidental and the characters and story are the main attraction?

    Good 3D tales, like any good film, should draw the audience into the world on screen, but many directors seem to forget that it isn't the 3D effect itself that does this. And, much as I respect Christopher Nolan and enjoy (most of) his work, I find his attitude regarding 3D and the studio system really disheartening.

  • Comment number 52.

    I cannot ever imagine anyone uttering these words, "That film was amazing, the plot and script were fantastic and the acting performances were second to none. The only thing that bugged me, it wasn't in 3D". It won't ever happen.
    A gimmick nothing more, like those magic eye posters that were all the rage in the 90s. Where are they now?

  • Comment number 53.

    I seriously think that 3D is used in cinema as an exhuse for the increase of badly made films. "Yes, Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, Final Destination 3D and My Bloody Valentine 3D were not good movies, but didn't you enjoy the whole 3D experience?". No I didn't, 3D or not they still suck. It's like buying a shiny box of chocolates and the chocolates have gone bad. "Well, you still have the nice shiny box!". Yes, but I bought it for the chocolates! This is exactly what I felt like after watching Avatar and Alice in Wonderland; I had been cheated.

  • Comment number 54.

    @ Matth Stil
    I felt this post deserved a reply and haven't read any subsequent posts so my apologies if somebody else hs already made this point.

    Saying that since we experience real life in 3d, seeing a film in 3d makes it more realistic, is an old argument, but the fact is that 3d on film is not like the 3 dimensions of everyday life. If you turn your head in real life the scene in front of you continues all around, do it while watching a 3d film and you see the rest of the cinema. Likewise if you move your head to the side in real life your perspective changes, you can see around objects in front of you and you see things from a diferent angle, while watching a film you can move your head as much as you like but you still see the same image.

    This may seem like nitpicking, but the fact is that since the 3d image on cinema screen does not behave the same way as scenes in real life, it serves as a constant reminder that what you are watching is not real, it is a construct. Far from immersing the audience in the story, it actually acts a barrier between the audience and the film.

    Add to this the fact that in most 3d films, and you'll notice this if you take the glasses off, the character, or object, that is the main focus of any scene, is not in 3d, it is only the background that is in 3d. That is unless the character is pointing something at the audience. This only serves to draw the audience's attention to the peiphery, and again, stops them being absorbed by the story.

    As for your second point, that originally cinema itself was seen as a fad, this is a fantastic point to make. This is because originally the fact that the pictures were moving was the gimmick that people came to see, the new technology was the attraction in itself. Had cinema not evolved into a medium for telling stories it would simply have died out once the novelty wore off. Right now 3d is still something of a novelty, but once that wears off people will stop paying the exrta money to see it. So unless it developes into a new way of telling stories it will simply die out.

  • Comment number 55.

    Lets be clear here Dr.K,

    Pixar understand (as they have said many times) that digital FX and 3D etc are NOT GENRES of filmmaking. They are a medium like paint, charcoal, clay and so on.

    3D is popular because 1. it pushes up movie ticket prices while at the same time 2. increasing the appeal of the movie to younger viewers who bring adults with them.
    3D was not thrust onto anyone is was sold and the grand cinema audience were at first curious but are now really starting to enjoy it.

    While the enlightening Mr Nolan has made an interesting point technically - this is in the end beside the point.

    The greater film audiences couldn't give a monkeys about jargon etc as 3D is now at a technical level that works for a wide audience and will only get better the more 3D films that are made.

    Let's not forget that film cameras began with the ability to only shoot in Black and White. But as more films get made more artists/technicians join in to push the medium and the tools get sharper and more quickly these days!

    At the end of the day it comes down to the same things: story, character and narrative - if these 3 boxes are ticked then a movie will immerse you and move you emotionally no matter what it looks like and Toy Story 3D is proof of that!

    3-D is not a personal favourite (I hate those glasses) but I watch it's progression with great interest...

  • Comment number 56.

    I'm convinced 3D will meet the fate it deserves. If it is really only good as a gimmick, it will fade in time and become an occassional occurence; but if the technology develops into becoming something more than that, á Toy Story 3 "and beyond," it could become a commonplace part of the cinema experience. Right now, the film industry is, as we all know, too anxious to lure people to the cinema with experiences that "can't be had on a computer screen", hence the gimmicky nature of 3D right now. What I've seen so far, I don't care for, but I think we should wait and see.

  • Comment number 57.

    The Green Hornet.............3D
    January 2011

  • Comment number 58.

    I, for one, would be curious to see what minds like Jeunet, Gilliam or even Raimi would make of this technology. I would love to see anyone with a sense of surrealism -- something I think we have too little of in today's cinema -- take on 3D, even just as an experiment, before giving my final verdict.

    Ps. This place really needs an "Edit post" button.

  • Comment number 59.

    #54 - Hi there. I was just pulling the collective leg of my fellow readers. 2D is more than adequate for me, and long may it remain the primary way to view a movie. I love the debate this forum can generate!

  • Comment number 60.

    What me always annoys and this argument hasen't really been made in the conversation about 3d is that the eyes always have to ajust from one shot to another to the converge of the 3d camera. We do not really have a 3d space in front of us but a space that is simulated through the effect of two lenses in a certain distance to another. This distance does normaly vary and not correspond with the normal distance of our eyes. Thus the human eyes or mainly the brain has to compensated these things.
    This is why action sequences don't really work in 3d when they are edited in the common rapid manner. Just look at avatar when the blue giant first runs out to the pandorra. That's to quick editing.
    So maybe 3d wil have one good effect and that is that the cut rate will decrease in the future and Micheal Bay movies simply will not be watchable or people thow up in the cinemas as they should.

  • Comment number 61.

    Dr K, I suspect the reason you enjoyed Toy Story 3D was due to the plot, character development, etc, that have made the first two so succesful, and that the reason you forgot it was in 3D was due to this being so good, not anything to do with the quality of the 3D.

    When watching both Avatar and Alice in Wonderland 3D, part way through both those films I forgot I was watching in 3D (except for the uncomfortable Elton John glasses I was wearing) but this was, I feel, purely because my brain had gotten use to seeing it in 3D and it had therefore become inconsequential. Both films would have had an equal effect on me if they had been in 2D - Alice in Wonderland would still have been disappointing and the detail of Avatar impressed me not because it was in 3D, but because I saw it on an IMAX screen and so the detail was bigger and therefore easier to see and absorb.

    The times in both those films that I noticed the 3D most was when the story dipped (or in the case of Avatar when the novelty of the IMAX detail had worn off, the story was one huge dip in my opinion) which leads me to think that the reason you forgot you were watching Toy Story 3D in 3D was because the plot was sufficiently engaging that you could concentrate on it despite the destraction of 3D - much like a film being so engaging that you don't notice the fly that's buzzing around the screen.

  • Comment number 62.

    One thing I find disturbing is that the majority of 3D films are made for children. I see this as a subtle (or maybe not-so-subtle) manipulation of the future audience.

    Many young children may well associate Cinema = go to the big building + put on the funny glasses + watch the fun film.

    I'm sure the studios are looking to the long term here, with a view to justifying 3D. We all know that those films we see at a young age stay with us and may well influence our cinematic choices. If your youngest memories are always "Cinema equals 3D", then that is what future audiences will want.


    As an aside, it is interesting to note in the previous instalment just how many bloggers were watching 15 or 18 rated horror films at a young age. Let's hope we are not all "depraved and corrupt" and that no bloggers go on a killing spree!

  • Comment number 63.

    I've been interested to see several commenters here make a point that seemed obvious to me but that I've never seen mentioned anywhere else: if you wear glasses already, as a significant proportion of the population do, 3D is extremely problematic. I am very short-sighted and have an astigmatism, and need to wear glasses in order to see anything further than about 3 inches from my nose, inlcuding a cinema screen. Wearing two pairs of glasses as the same time - my own and the tacky 3D ones provided by the cinema - is uncomfortable, awkward, and a guaranteed route to a crashing headache (thank-you, Avatar).

    3D is profoundly discriminatory to anyone with anything other than perfect eyesight, which I feel is something organisations representing those with visual diasbilities should raise.

    The awful prospect of *all* films becoming 3D I think will lead a lot of people like myself to consider very seriously how often they go to the cinema; it'll need to be something really good to tempt me in, rather than something I may otherwise have taken a chance on. You can bet that the resulting falling revenues will be blamed on anything other than 3D, though.

  • Comment number 64.

    3D terrifies the living stuff out of me. I really hope it goes into the same box as Bucky-o-Hare and Minidisks.. really good fun at the time, but one to be left in a dusty box in the attic at the end of the day.

    At least this isn't an effort at taking old ideas and playing them around and around. I'm getting sick of filmmakers forcing desperate ideas.

  • Comment number 65.

    I may be wrong, but I thought I heard or read somewhere that Nolan wasn’t going to make the new Batman in 3D. But the whole thing is going to be shot on IMAX film. I hope this is the case. Imagine watching The Dark Knight or Batman Begins with those damn glasses. There already dark you would barely be able to see some scenes.

  • Comment number 66.

    Well, I have only had a little experience of 3D and I can see why it is effective - the more vulgar idea behind cinema is so often to just flood ones audio visual senses so that you leave the cinema slightly more dazed and confused...

    ...but it is not intrinsic to cinema to have 3D. A combination of the (2D) footage, the characterisation and the sound/music are all that's needed to make something cinematic as we know.

    3D is a nice visual trick but it would have to have no current drawbacks to be implemented in most films that are shown in the cinema i.e. no need to wear any Buddy Holly glasses, no need to lose light intensity of the image and no headaches.

    I don't see how this could be done with the current technology.

  • Comment number 67.

    As good as the points you're making are Dr K, you are being mightily naive if you cant come to terms with the fact that most, or a large enough amount of people to account for certain film genre's "majority" audience, don't watch films in search of ANY artistic values and probably... no... DEFINITELY couldn't care less about 'foot-lamberts'. Its sad to see such a magnificent art-form be prostituted but its the cold hard truth.

    An as for Toy Story 3D, i am yet to see it but if you want to know weather it would be any different in 2D, watch it in 2D. Therein the experience lies your answer.

  • Comment number 68.

    Well 3D has been around for a long, long time now. Since the days of the 1950's when it was introduced to combat the increasing popularity of television. It didn't really work then with films like Creature From the Black Lagoon and it doesn't work now. Okay, Cameron has revolutionised it with Avatar. However on several occasions I found myself removing my glasses and rubbing my eyes as the experience became a bit tedious when watching Avatar. I found myself conscious of the the fact I was watching 3D rather than the film itself. Hopefully this is just a minor phase amongst filmmakers and the glory of 2D cinema will reign supreme. At the end of the day Avatar is still as visually impressive on a 2D scale as i'm sure Toy Story 3D will be. In this case lets hope words speak louder than actions.

  • Comment number 69.

    Can I start by saying that Dr. Kermode had previously criticised Alice In Wonderland because he forgot the 3D was there. It just seems that what was once a bad thing in the Doctor's eyes is now a good thing.
    Secondly; while I loved the original Toy Story films, I believe that Pixar's 3D conversion of them did little to actually improve on the original. With the rise of 3D gaming as well as cinema it is being made more and more clear that the vast majority of the application of 3D does little to improve the experience. Since all the creators and advocates of 3D say, it is meant to make it more immersive; however surely 2Dimensional characters are still 2Dimensional even when they are being shown in 3D. (I'm looking at Avatar here).

  • Comment number 70.

    I'm sure I'm not the first to say this, but if people wish to be entertained in proper 3d, then go to the theatre and watch a play. Cinema screens are 2d and any attempt to make 3d on a 2d screen is fake, which is probably why I find 3d cinema a distraction. On the two occasions I've seen 3d at the cinema - including Avatar - it feels like I've just put on some new prescription glasses. That's not how 3d should be.

  • Comment number 71.

    Only if it serves the story. Sometimes special effects, 3d movies can make the story seem unrealistic. I have no problem with 3d in general. But i do think that the reason they are pushing so hard the new technology is they try to create a new market, some we are gonna have to buy new players better suited for 3d. And also the movies have to come closer to a video game mentaity. The target audience in movies and in music is no more teeneagers and young adult. I think is the pocket money of seven to tweleve year olds who are willing to spent their allowence in their products. I know i am off the topic but have you notice how not threatening the new rising stars are both male and female?

  • Comment number 72.

    irt. jayfurneaux ("a good story is a good story") and RussiansEatBambi66 ("at the end of the day it comes down to story, character, narrative"):

    True-ish, but cinema is a visual medium. The look of a film is not something to be chucked away as insignificant. We should expect films to look beautiful, or interesting or whatever it takes to tickle one's aesthetic sensibility. That's why we praise cinematographers every now and then, as well as directors. (And for all the lip service to story, writers can go jump in the lake as far as most everyone is concerned; everyone can name a movie's director; what about the poor sap who wrote the script?)

    Can 3D deliver new and exciting!!(tm) possibilities is the real question.

    irt. BrockLanders ("Avatar gave me a headache because of the fast editing"):

    Same here. I like 3D and usually do not have a problem with headaches and such. But all the camera jumping around at the beginning of Avatar did stress my tolerance. This is not how to shoot 3D. My eyes are already tricked, don't make my inner ears insecure too. Slow moving cameras please.

    irt. 1967Ross ("for proper 3D, go the theatre"; "any attempt to make 3d on a 2d screen is fake"):

    And for in-depth nuanced character studies, read a book. Also, any attempt to capture motion in a series of static frames is fakery.

    The above "argument" is flawed.

    There is inherent artifice and "fakery" in cinema. It's a series of stills that try to capture people pretending to be somebody else. So what? It can still be enjoyed. It can still hope to be a versatile medium for artistic expression- and sometimes even succeeds.

    The specific case against 3d is colour and brightness loss, cost, headaches (and some other barriers), limited usefulness to visual composition.

    We may see improvements in the last one. Maybe we even did, but that's a your-mileage-may-vary situation.

  • Comment number 73.

    @ Mihai Pomorlan


    Nobody is throwing away the look of the film - but the idea that a greater audience will give a monkeys about Dr. K's Nolan-inspired Lamberts tech-lecture is ridiculous.

    If 3D was so dull people would have stopped going to 3D showings a long time ago - the argument about brightness and colour desaturation makes little sense as it doesn't bother most even if you tell them.


    As the Pixar team has explained: if anybody comments on individual shots etc the visuals have failed as the other shots clearly do not live up to the 'stand out' shots.

    Even in 3D Pixar have remained true to this and the entire visual flow is faultless because the entire movie is visually even (3D or not).

    The will always be fear of the new - because people fear that they may lose what they have but this is not true - there will be 2D AND 3D - there are enough cinemas at the end of the day!

  • Comment number 74.

    your opinion on Herzog's upcoming 3D film?

  • Comment number 75.

    Having only seen Avatar in 3D I have to say that the brightness of the image was my main issue. Although my eyes adjust about 30 minutes in I still had the nagging awareness that regardless of how effective the 3D was I would find it far easier to watch in 2D with a brighter image.

    I also just read an interesting post on the blog of Dice Tsutsumi, color and lighting art director on Toy Story 3 where he was encouraging people to see the film.... he concludes with a rather telling statement-

    "I personally prefer people see it in 2D. 3D tends to kill the color of the film and I was the color and lighting art director on the film.
    Disney may not like me saying it since 3D will bring more bucks!"

  • Comment number 76.

    It just goes to show that if a movie is made with the 3D it works a lot better than if it is retro-fitted. Dr K has now mentioned two movies with 3D that haven't offended him, StreetDance and Toy Story 3, both of which were MADE in 3D. In my opinion Avatar was also a fun experience. However I am in no way saying that it is important. I fully admit that I was carried along by the hype for a little while, but once the cynical attempt to grab more money by retro-fitting kicked off I began to doubt the whole thing. It has also become apparent that 3D only works really well in a Computer Animated movie like Toy Story 3 where it is used originally.
    I'm kind of agreeing with @Phil Read who said:
    "3D in my experience has been universally underwhelming. It's not impressive enough to convince me that it is the future, nor is it bad enough to drag a fun rant out of me."
    and @Gregory Stephenson:
    "I cannot ever imagine anyone uttering these words, "That film was amazing, the plot and script were fantastic and the acting performances were second to none. The only thing that bugged me, it wasn't in 3D". It won't ever happen."

    It's just a fun gimmick that hopefully will have it's day and then fizzle out. What worries me is something that Amber mentioned; that cinemas will only show 3D versions therefore preventing a lot of people who physically cannot view 3D movies, from going to the cinema. I recently tried to see How to 'Train Your Dragon' but my local cinema was only showing the 3D version. As a consumer I would have liked the option to view the movie in 2D, consequently i didn't see it and will have to wait for the dvd release.
    At the end of the day what makes a movie truly great and what engages us as viewers is the plot and pace, the script and the quality of the acting. Yes cinematography, direction, lighting, sound, editing and many other production values are also very important in enhancing the experience. I do not think that 3D is one of these integral elements.

  • Comment number 77.

    I wish my life was in 3D, oh wait, it is...

  • Comment number 78.

    @Grahm, comment #6

    If it was 30% colour loss then it wouldn't be a problem. Many of the best films in cinematic history are in black and white, perfectly enjoyable. The 3D glasses take away 30% brightness, not colour.

  • Comment number 79.

    @Vincent Kane

    In losing 30% brightness we are also losing 30% of the intended colour. When reviewing the new Shrek movie the other day I had to keep taking off my 3D glasses as I was getting both a headache and the same feeling I get in my stomach that I get the morning after having ten cans of Harp Lager. When I took the glasses off, the movie looked like a Shrek film, the vusuals were what we have come to expect from the series' colour palette. When I put them back on I wished I had necked said ten cans of Harp Lager before the screening!

  • Comment number 80.

    Please excuse my "vusuals" typo. I meant visuals. We really could use an "edit" option here...or I could just put down the can of Harp and pay more attention to my typing :-)

  • Comment number 81.

    Kermode is like a drunk jilted lover who keeps on babbling about his ex girlfriend.

    The ex has moved on and doesn't really care what her ex lover keeps on babbling on and on about.

    Let's just move on. This argument is more than tiresome, can't help but feel such time could be better spent examining Roger Deakins, Terence Davies, Philip Ridley or something like that.

  • Comment number 82.

    I've yet to meet "anyone" who wants 3D. The Studios are giving it to us as it's "supposedly the next big thing" and of course, you cannot currently pirate 3D but I don't know anyone who is frankly bothered (except Avatar where it was marketed as a 3D experiance).

    People want the movie and if it's in 3D, they're not particularly bothered either way but the fact it's 3D isn't at the forefront of their minds.

  • Comment number 83.

    Is it maybe that you are getting to the point of watching enough 3D films that you don't notice any more, that you are infact becoming desensitised to 3D?

    I'll just echo what's already being said that with the phantasmagorical technology that allows us to see three dimensional images in the cinema, why can't they just slide the brightness fader up like we can all do on our TV's at home?
    Incidentally if anyone has done this at home with a 3D DVD movie is it more of a hindrance than help?

    Lastly(and rhetorically), why are 3D films not being released that way after all the hubris about making them, for example Avatar out on DVD and Blu-Ray, but no 3D? Because it's a gimmick.

    IMAX/High Definition is what we need more of, surely.

  • Comment number 84.

    blah blah blah blah BLAH.
    Arguing over 3D is like telling someone the Ghost Train isn't a valid fairground ride. It clearly IS, it's just low on repeat value and pretty hokey. You get on it because the guy selling it does such a good job, you get disoriented, then disappointed, and vow never to go on one again. But it IS still a fairground ride.

    For my money, the only movie I felt was added to by 3D was How To Train Your Dragon, which I maintain is one of the best kids films of recent years. And even that had bits of stereoscopy that were disorienting and clanky. Let's all agree to blame the pirates and move on, shall we?

  • Comment number 85.


    Let's not forget filmakers have had decades to develop a language for 2D cinema.

    It will take time to develop a proper language for 3D. Modern blockbusters with their propensity for jump cuts and dizzy POV are absolutely awful for 3D.

    It may be that the more intimate movies will be where 3D would work. Imagine watching 'The Disappearance of Alice Creed' in 3D. Now that type of 3D experience might be interesting.

  • Comment number 86.

    The technical aspect in which a movie is made in is at it's best when it is not noticed.

  • Comment number 87.

    I felt the same when I watched Avatar and Coraline - I forgot I was watching it in 3D. I can't decide if this is a 'good' thing - I'm beginnning to think it indicates that 3D is a bit pointless... albeit fun for spears and skydiving scenes...

  • Comment number 88.

    I saw Toy Story 3 in New York last week in 2D and can assure you, the fact that one is able to forget the fact that you're wearing annoying glasses is testament only to how wonderful the film is. I can't see how it being in 3D would have enriched the experience in any way but I'm sure I would have been blubbing just them same in both dimensions.

  • Comment number 89.

    All art is fundamentally about realising intentions through manipulation of a medium. By definition, each medium, 3D included, interacts with our brains in a unique way. Therefore, there are some things that 3D film is better suited to expressing than 2D film, just as there are things that 2D will always be better for expressing. I haven't seen Toy Story 3, but Pixar is made up of very dedicated craftsman, so if there's a company out there I would trust to find some of the capabilities of 3D, it's them. Avatar was hyped up as harnessing 3D's true potential, but I'm of the opinion that James Cameron made a 2D film in 3D. It shouldn't be practical to watch in 2D a film truly made for 3D, in the same way that it's nonsense to watch a black and white film in colour or a colour film in black and white. There should be very significant differences between the ways they're filmed. I'm excited for the filmaker who takes the first big, successful step towards that goal.
    That's a point against 3D hate. By the same token (that each medium has its advantages and disadvantages), it annoys me to no end that 3D is being sold as The Future. Come on. Yes, 3D is more like real life than 2D film. So are video games- like life, they're interactive. They aren't going to replace film or paintings or novels, now, are they? It's art: the goal is not to get closer to reality. Reality is reality. Art is language, and 'realism' in art is not just mimicking reality. It's using the UNREAL language of the medium to make the audience feel the truth in what you're communicating. Sometimes, the language of 2D will be better for your communicating your intentions; sometimes it will be 3D.
    I also disagree with the idea that 3D is more immersive. Is there anyone who watched an engrossing 2D film, but could never get into it all the way because they couldn't get over the fact that it was flat? You know what an immersive film is? A good film.

  • Comment number 90.

    Hey there good Doctor Orloc, love your jacket. What brand is it? Very cool. You're now a fashion ambassador as well as my fave film critic. Rob Holloway

  • Comment number 91.

    I've watched it in 2D and it's every bit as good as anyone says. Even Day&Night was great in 2D, afterwards I read critics saying this short was the first project that couldn't be conceived in 2D; B.S.

  • Comment number 92.

    Here is what Rudolf Arbheim wrote back in the 1930s...

    'After I had seen my first colour film and left the cinema, I had a terrible experience - I saw the world as a colour film. The Alban hills stood, a common soft lilac colour behind the chain of dark green pines, topped by an emerald sky - everything was blatent in its poisonous colour, and presented chaotic, fiendish, discordant picture. This lasted a few minutes, and then, without the light having really changed, mu usual evening landscape was there again in all its placidity...'

    Mark has said that 3D is *not* an equivalent of the coming of sound... agreed, maybe we can see it more as an equivalent of the coming of colour... when people first saw colour movies, the vibrant technicolour was seen by some as vivid, others as horrible... eitherway, you couldnt help but notice it... but technology improved. Now we notice if things aint in colour or if the colour is manipulated... but colour in general is taken as a given...

  • Comment number 93.

    whoops, typo, grrrrr... its Rudolf Arnheim

  • Comment number 94.

    And on Avatar...

    @ Craz

    Surely the medium of 3D was, if not integral to the plot, a reflection of it... the audience submerged in the film, the main character submerged in his avatar...

    Seems to me that we are just at the start of 3D... at the birth of it. One day it will be the norm, and our kids wont want to watch a 2D film like they now think black and white is naff!

    Silent, colour, 2D, 3D... its all the same to me... a film is a film is a film... and if Mark's getting headaches watching 3D I think he needs a checkup with a quack!

  • Comment number 95.

    Seems there is a scientific reason to dislike 3D films for children...

    https://science.slashdot.org/story/10/06/26/2059205/3D-Displays-May-Be-Hazardous-To-Young-Children

  • Comment number 96.

    My biggest problem with 3D remains the fact that I already wear glasses! And wearing a pair of 3d glasses over the top of my normal glasses is uncomfortable/painful and just stupid. If they can find a better way of catering to people with imperfect vision, then I might start to be interested in the potential for 3D films.

  • Comment number 97.

    Horror film elements?

  • Comment number 98.

    Speaking of which, if I ever see one of those cymbal-bashing monkey toys again, I may have to do a little bashing myself.

    I would bash the toy, is what I mean to say. Into pieces. Because they're watching. It's the only way to be sure we're safe.

  • Comment number 99.

    I had the dubious pleasure of seeing Shrek Forever After in 3D recently, and the best I can say is that it didn't give me a migraine this time, unlike Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. Would it be fair to say that 3D is more effective with CGI animation than live action? I only have my sample size of three to draw on, but that would seem to be the case. I also managed to forget the film was in 3D after a while (except when the glasses dug into my temples), but to me this seems to suggest that 3D is completely unnecessary - or, if it does enhance the experience (I contend it doesn't), it does so to such a negligible extent that it in no way justifies the extra expense, loss of brightness and discomfort of wearing the glasses (especially for people who already wear glasses, or have smaller/larger heads than the norm).

    On the issue of brightness, that was one of many problems I had with Alice in Wonderland (which I intensely disliked anyway): for all the nonsense about it having been designed in 3D, it clearly wasn't. The palette was completely washed out (more so than it usually is in Burton's films) because the loss of colour hadn't been compensated for. Of course Burton's films tend to be on the dour side anyway, but in this case it looked like a laptop on Power Saver mode.

  • Comment number 100.

    Think of any great film defined by it's visuals, for this example let's use Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven or Kubrick's Barry Lyndon. Then ask would the application of 3-D in these films improve the viewing experience, the answer is most obviously not, if anything it would cheapen the experience.

    Like Roger Ebert says, 3D is used in a cheap way, every time something is hurled at the screen (such as arrows, cannonballs etc) it creates a fatal break in the illusion of the film. There is a limit as to what 3-D can achieve other than cheap and cheesy effects.

    Ask yourself this question: Have you ever watched a 2-D movie and wished it were in 3-D?

 

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