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3D - Alive Or Dead?

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Mark Kermode Mark Kermode | 10:36 UK time, Friday, 21 September 2012

With the news that Guillermo Del Toro's new film Pacific Rim will be released in 3D after all, against the director's better judgement, I ask is 3D alive and well or is it the walking dead?

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Related Posts on Kermode Uncut
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  • Comment number 1.

    haha, nice copout, Doctor. 3D as a zombie :)

    but hey let's take a look when it all started. In 2009 there was this movie called Avatar, right? the one and only making 2.7 bil. dollars. Thus creating an immense buzz around 3D. Now in 2014 (or is it 2015?) comes Avatar 2 and later Avatar 3 and even later Avatar 4 (as far as i heard), and guess what, it'll boost the phenomenon of 3D once again. So, dear Doctor, this zombie will walk the surface of earth for quite some time...

  • Comment number 2.

    At this point in time, I am not convinced we will really get rid of stereoscopy. Maybe in time.

    The problem for me is that there is very rarely anything special about what happens. Sure, there may be the odd, nay rare, scene, but is that really worth the justification of paying that little but extra for such a rarity?

  • Comment number 3.

    Personally, I'm not fussed on 3D and I've yet to see a film in 3D. But I think it will rise eventually. I think it's more of a case of directors struggling to adapt to a different visual medium of storytelling. In the early years of the sound era, most of the best films were still silent (Sunrise, Joan of Arc, Metropolis). I'd argue that the first great sound film didn't arrive until M in 1931, and even then it still took a while for the whole industry to shift. With new technological breakthroughs we get new ways of telling a story, but a director needs time to adapt to it and work out how to use it. Give it time, soon enough we will see a film which understands how to use 3D.

  • Comment number 4.

    I haven't seen anyone raise the issue that not everyone can physically appreciate 3D. I have a lazy eye (as does 5% of the population, I am told) and have very limited depth perception and so am often obliged to endure a gimmick that is of absolutley no benefit to me.

  • Comment number 5.

    I don't think 3D is dead, so much as in need of constant resucitation. Studios have realised that retro-fitted 3D is garbage and they've now got to try and convince audiences that 3D has merit afterall. Mark, i've noticed you've gone from saying 3D is completely redundant in a film to when you reviewed Paranorman last week saying "i could've done without it" which is hardly sticking the boot in. I for one think 3D is a work in progress, the real question is will audiences keep the faith with 3D whilst the industry perfects the format?

  • Comment number 6.

    Like a lot of things in the film industry, the studios and advertisers want 3D, while the filmmakers and, more importantly, the audience do not.

  • Comment number 7.

    My local cinema charged me an *extra* £2.95 to see Brave in ThreeD. I wanted to see it in glorious TwoD but giving the paying customer what the paying customer wants is obviously not high up on their To-Do list.

  • Comment number 8.

    The death or resuscitation of 3D will undoubtedly be the Hobbit. Which makes me wonder just who pushed for it to be made into three films rather than two and what exactly was the motivation behind that.

  • Comment number 9.

    I've been to the flicks once in the 8 years and it was to see the Avengers in 3D (I'm a dreadful geek who grew up with the comics and thought I'd see what the fuss was about) and I must say I rather enjoyed it - but it was like a fairground ride - not a movie. It'll be around forever now. Thank God the home entertainment market is up to snuff these days and you can recreate your own cinema experience in the safety and sanctity of one's living room where nobody kicks the seats or rustles candy wrappers, drinks are free and you can pause for a wee.

  • Comment number 10.

    I was forced to see Dredd in 3D as my local cinema (one of the best I've ever had the pleasure of patronising) didn't have a single 2D screening. I sent them a sternly worded email about but added that I could see the pattern and that based on their (honestly fantastic) history I knew their hand was being forced by the distributors. I told them I was merely emailing them to give extra voice and creedance for their future fights with distribution companies. They promptly responded apologising and telling me that they agreed with me and had actively requested 2D prints of Dredd but were denied them.

    Almost as if in penance for this, a week later ParaNorman was released. They didn't have a single 3D screening. Only 2D... and it looked great!

  • Comment number 11.

    If studios only motivation for still using 3D is money, shouldn't they be moving towards IMAX instead, which is equally as expensive and enhances the cinematic experience, so everybody wins. And if proof was ever needed of this, just look at The Dark Knight Rises, completely 2D, in IMAX and now has become one of the most financially successful films of all time. In fact, these people who still use 3D could learn a lot from Christopher Nolan.

  • Comment number 12.

    It's dead for me. This year I finally decided to get around to watching something in 3D just to see what it was like. I watched Men In Black 3 and a few weeks later Prometheus. I enjoyed watching both in 3D, it's a great gimmick, but during both films I found periods when I forgot I was watching 3D. The gimmick only appears to work in long shots or forced perspective. The gimmick doesn't help story telling and story telling is what I want from a film. A good film takes you out of yourself - you forget you're sitting in a cinema seat. 3D does the opposite. Therefore I will not go out of my way to watch another 3D film.

  • Comment number 13.

    I was so very much looking forward to seeing 'Dredd'. Really excited! I have absolutely no problem viewing a film in 3D myself... I don't get eye-strain or headaches or any such thing. But I know folk do. I know some folk cannot go to see a 3D film, either because of eye problems or problems caused by the strain.

    As a matter of principal, I will not see a film in 3D... and have not done so at all in this current wave of the gimick. Admittedly 'Dredd' was the most painful... because, since there was absolutely no 2D screening anywhere near me or even beyond where I'd nomally travel for a film but realistically be able to (and I would have made a something of a train journey for 'Dredd')... I have not gone to the cinema to see 'Dredd' whatsoever. On a matter of principal.

    As far as I am concerned, because there are people with very real difficulties with 3D, the cinemas are actively creating a discrimination against those people... what is it estimated? One in four have difficulties with the 3D process to varying degrees.

    Cinema is an art form and an entertainment. I will NOT support the discrimination of a large portion of the cinema-going public - where the providers are basically saying 'pay up and put up'.

    Not providing the option of a 2D screening for those who choose 2D or are unable to physically or mentally tolerate 3D... it is a disgrace.

  • Comment number 14.

    YES! This is what I have been saying for a while. Big objects (or small objects) that are far away look the same from both eyes as the difference in viewpoint is negligible. Drive for miles and the moon will appear to never move. But In the marvel avengers I saw distant sky scrapers in 3d. In Prometheus I even saw a planet in 3d. The only time a sphere would look 3d in real life is if it was small and near to you. In exaggerating the the parallax difference between the viewpoint the stereographer effectively gives us a giants head, and the objects look smaller. Stereographers are obviously committed to making everything look 3d even when they don't need to. I suppose their job might seem a little pointless if they didn't.

    I'll give you another problem with 3d whilst I'm at it. Objects in the scene that are designed stick out of the screen are all well and good when the camera is still. But films these days have a habit of never keeping the camera still. If its not handheld, it moves on a dolly sideways through the shot in every single shot. The problem is that when an object that is supposed to be closer to us moves out of view it appears to go behind the edge of the screen. Our brain knows where the edge of the screen is in 3d space so the 3d illusion is immediately shattered in a very abrupt way that takes us out of the story.

  • Comment number 15.

    Forget 3D. Pointless gimmick. IMAX is the future. Chris Nolan has proven this with Batman and Raiders of the lost Ark has been a huge hit in the US in the IMAX format. Steven Speilberg (who was initially a sceptic) admittted that it looks far better than the original release. I hope that the success of these films (new and old) will lead to all of the old classics being remastered and re-released in IMAX While 3D can slowly be allowed to fizzle out.

  • Comment number 16.

    2D is unifying. Anyone who has reasonable eyesight can go and enjoy a movie in a cinema. 3D is divisive: If you have a visual impairment, no matter how little (such as a squint, which I have), watching a 3D movie can be painful or distracting in a bad way. All those 20/20 vision people or people who don't mind wearing 3D glasses on top of their own glasses or who can wear contact lenses are fine. The rest get a two fingered salute from distributors and studios. What would be interesting is if this went to court...that in denying 2D versions or forcing people who have difficulty viewing 3D to travel very long distances to see 2D films, is discriminatory. Normally I hate all the compensation culture stuff but 3D is loathsome enough to make me shift my opinion just once.

  • Comment number 17.

    I think that at this point Mark was expecting the announcement of Avatar 2D...

  • Comment number 18.

    STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS is getting post converted. The worst thing about this news is that they've shot some scenes on 15/70mm IMAX stock. That's right, they plan to take that footage and muddy it up. Please, lets stop them!! Read and sign this petition -

  • Comment number 19.

    I hear the reason Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby was been pushed back from this Christmas to next summer is that the 3D wasn't working. Not sure if that's true or not but...

  • Comment number 20.

    3D is just irrelevant.

  • Comment number 21.

    "Commerce rather than art."
    Well, not to overtly display my mastery of the obvious (I also have a black-belt in pointlessness): commerce is the chief driver of commercially distributed films, that anything gets made for artistic reasons is either accidental, a herculean effort of creatives working within the constraints of a commercial industry, or a cynical marketing ploy in which merit is supposed of commercial but "worthy" dross. Or some combination of the above. (Not counting Woody Allen who's films are so relatively inexpensive his now once a decade good one can pay for the costs of all the others, so he's a pretty good bet and a bit of prestige for his producers).

    Perhaps there needs to be a truce between everyone tired of Mark banging on about 3D, Mark, and the rest of us who are tired of everyone banging on about Mark regardless of 3D which relatively few champion. 3D is a sideshow to the real issue, which Mark and others have touched on elsewhere: that the business model of films made for the multiplex demographic produces diminishing returns for the quality of films, made and sold purely as product and which, in theatres at least, nearly monopolize our viewing space. While the future may bring more democratization of both production and viewing across a wide variety of formats, what can we, who would like to enjoy good films of many genres, ilks and artistry, regularly on the big screen do about this?

  • Comment number 22.

    There's autostereoscopy (glasses-free 3D) in some Korean cinemas now, I believe.

  • Comment number 23.

    I have seen Dredd in 2D. In Glasgow on opening day in a 15 screen Cineworld while I happened to be visiting a friend. They had 2 shows of 2D. On opening day. It was fantastic and when I saw it a week later back home in Aberdeen with another friend I could only see it in 3D. I spent the majority of the film wondering what the difference was.
    It is absolutely shameful that distributors force 3D on us by having 2D at times that do not suit the general public ie. early in the day or very late at night, leaving us with no option but to pay more and, due to the darkening by the glasses, see less.
    I find it quite ironic that we are being sold this on the basis that we are "getting more for our money" but when you take into acount the already dark cinema plus the darkening from the glasses, you're getting less film for more money.
    I worry now about the upcoming Godzilla in two years time (which is a dream come true for a 20+ year fan) being forced on me in 3D.

  • Comment number 24.

    "Dredd 3D..."

    Let's watch them **** it up again.....

    The clue is in the title.

    Yep, that's right 3D.

    ......Why should I pay an extra four quid on the price of a normal ticket (which are themselves outrageously bloody priced if you go to The Odeon at Liverpool One) to watch a movie in a format I don't particularly like and then pay another quid on top for the pleasure of paying for a stupid pair of 3D glasses I'm (hopefully) never going to use again.
    By the end of the evening I'll also have a headache through eyestrain and my viewing experience will have been diminshed because of the significantly different 3D lighting and contrast conditions they have to show the film under (I am completely with Mark on this issue).

    And it's not as if I have a choice of 3D or 2D showings either.

    There are just 29 cinemas in the UK which are showing the 2D version, the nearest of which to me is Bolton, 38 miles away, so I have the choice of either staying in Liverpool and paying way over the odds to sit through the 3D version or making a 70 mile, hour each way trip to go and see it over in Bolton.
    As a life long 2000AD reader I'm really torn between boycotting it and supporting it however given the **** up they made the first time with Stallone and what looks from the trailer to be a fairly decent attempt to get Dredd right for the big screen I'm facing a real dilemma...

  • Comment number 25.

    It's simple. The studio's are demanding their movies be shot or converted into 3D is simply that they know they can make more money from it. Yes, it's true that a 3D conversion will cost extra money for them to do, but weigh this up against the 3 or 4 quid difference in ticket price and for a big blockbuster like The Avengers this will add millions onto profit margins. If people were given the chance to vote with their bums on seats then it would be a landslide for 2D but as we're not being given the choice it's become a fascist regime of pay up or shut up! rant over.

  • Comment number 26.

    Rather than is 3D dying the question could be are the days of the multiplex (cinema release) numbered?

    Legal subscription based download & watch (on widescreen TVs) and DVD rental services are likely to eat into the studios profits giving less and less reason to visit the cinema.

    3D is at least attempting to give such a reason, but a 3D movie also has to work well in 2D as popular movies probably are seen by more people on 2D TV than at the cinema.

    3D needs another really big hit to justify its existence, The Hobbit might provide one. (Though how Jackson can justify The Hobbit being spread over three movies, without extensively rewriting a story many people like more than LOTR, we’ll have to wait and see?)

    As for Del toro and Pacific Rim, at a guess he’s having to do what sounds like a Battleship / Transformers mashup in order to curry favour with the studios so he can finance better movies in the future. Aliens vs giant robots doesn’t sound like a likely Del Toro personal project to me.

    Finally: "In the name of commerce rather than art." Dr K. When has Hollywood ever been just about the art?

  • Comment number 27.

    On the whole, I agree with the good Doctor about the 3D formet, but I have to say I saw Dredd in 3D and thought it was one of the better 3D films that have been released recently.

    As for Del Toro and the 3D conversion of Pacific Rim, it does make me wonder if he left The Hobbit for this reason.

  • Comment number 28.

    Mmmm... Have I heard this before...?

  • Comment number 29.

    i was really looking forward to watching dredd, but closest cinima showing it in 2D was 60 miles away and did not want watch it in 3D.
    i will wait for the dvd realease.

  • Comment number 30.

    Like anybody with aleast 2 brain cells to rub together I not a fan of 3D, but having been forced to watch Dreed in 3D (my local had no 2D Option unless sat in a dark room and watched the poster for Dreed for 90 mins) i must say that Dreed is the only 3D film i ve seen where the 3D fits the story and some how makes sence in the comtext of the film.

    Thats not sayng that the film was better because it was in 3D, its just it flet like someone had aleast put some effort to make 3D fit into the film and not feel like it was tacked on to make extra money.

    3D is dieing but its judst dieing like the Monty Pyton's Black Knight

  • Comment number 31.

    I honestly could not give a stuff if films are released in 3D.
    Let them.
    What annoys me is when releasing a Popcorn Blockbuster in 3D and 2D means great new movies like Cockneys Vs Zombies or Tower Block are unable to get any type of screening, at all, anywhere.
    15 screen multiplex. 3 blockbusters, being shown accross 9 screens (3 each) in 3D. Then shown across a further 6 screens (2 each) in 2D. Result? Naff all else gets a look in! Let the Big stupid blockbusters have their 3Ds at the expense of not being released in 2D if it means I get to see, just maybe see, Berberian Sound Studio on at least one of them.

  • Comment number 32.

    "Dredd 3D"? Shouldn't that be "Dreddd"?

  • Comment number 33.

    I'm tempted to see Dredd (always loved the judicial system in those comics: "Sentence: BLAM! BLAM!" - I've seen comments say that the 3D is good in this movie during the slo-mo? Actually that's where 3D surely can shine: Slow moments with effects. So I think there IS a place for it, but most of the tripe using it, only managed to convert it into 3D tripe. :) Also the extent of 3D should not be a flat-fee mark-up, but perhaps a discrete: It's got x amount of 3D at 20p per unit of 3D eg Avatar might weigh in at 10 units so be worth the full mark-up ie 10/10? etc. Reminds me of the the whole Euro Conversion rip-off opportunity, to boost prices by "rounding-up".

    The problem for Hollywood is devaluing itself: Pumping out more movies with more special effects and where the experience at home is becoming better for videos and for video-games. So why go to watch "Comic Action Hero IV" when you can probably BE the hero at home already?

    I was thinking of movies adapted from plays recently, in particular: "Glengarry Glen Ross" and "The Triumph Of Love" - those are much more pulsating movies than the usual sequel-cgi-franchise drek dressed in 3D on offer for higher price points.

    Perhaps cinema is between theatre and video-games atm, with Hollywood closer to video-games just without the controller. I'm not sure if that's the problem of capitalism or something about the culture tending towards the lowest common denominator: To stimulate people's reptile brains to bring in the cash; as if the viewers are the zombies let alone the 3D!

  • Comment number 34.

    3D is to cinema to what pop-up books are to children's literature. They won't die, but they'll rarely do anything significant either.

    Good writing brings depth.

  • Comment number 35.

    Your hair's looking a bit Lynch there Dr K. I really wish 3D was dead, but the studios are just not letting it die it seems.

  • Comment number 36.

    Premium Rush. As interested bikers and as keepers of aging children we were intrigued by a cycle based film. We took our 13 year old son and in an attempt to watch something other than an animated production for a change. We were surprised and delighted with the formula and enjoyed the staging of a chase movie having no expectation of the storyline and outcome. The leading figures were understated and action believable (to a point). Even my 13 year old was excitied. My wife even clapped at one stage! We are both easily pleased but ended wanting more - would make a good TV series given the current appetite for cycling.

  • Comment number 37.

    I wanted to see Avengers in 2D, but my local Multiplex only showed it in 3D. So I had to pay 13,50€,wear the Buddy Holly glasses, the picture was dark and the special effects looked cheap.(the final fight reminded me of the 80s/Lundgren He-Man movie)

    3D may not be dead in general, but it`s dead to me.

  • Comment number 38.

    The only thing that appals me more than 3D is the screaming fraud of milking books into 2 and now 3 films. Are they now going to remake The Lord of the Rings in 9 parts? Going by Spiderman standards, it's over ripe for a new adaptation.

  • Comment number 39.

    I am just so sick and tired of you bringing this 3D issue up Mark... Seriously, what do you think is the best that can happen with you constantly blabbing on about this stupid topic that you have exactly ZERO influence over? You don't have any control over what the studios do. Money is the bottom line. One word... Avengers. Look at all the money it took thanks in part to 3D. I hate to say it but CLEARLY there are more people who are willing to see it than you think (other than the total SHEEP on this blog who just want to agree with what you say) Not to mention the fact that most films other than blockbusters are still all in 2D. What is wrong with a different experience for a different kind of film? Anyway, you don't like 3D? Tough. Until the Avatar series is over 3D is here to stay. You know this Mark. Why dont you find something else to talk about? What I find more interesting and very worrying is that people on this blog are saying that they are not going to see films that they WANT to see just because it is in 3D... How UTTERLY pointless is that? Denying yourself the pleasure of a film you WANT to see just because it's in 3D. It is just a film! If this is the case, in my opinion you are not a film fan. This blog is just filled with über stuck up wanna be film critics who seem to forget they are watching a piece of make believe fiction made for our pleasure. It is a film. It is fantasy. Nothing is real. The sound is not real. The colour is not real. The actors are not real... The 3D is not real. Just get over it and go to the cinema and enjoy and support the medium that you like.

  • Comment number 40.

    And by medium in meant films in general.

  • Comment number 41.

    Not in meant but I meant!!! Damn iPad type pad!!!

  • Comment number 42.

    I wonder if we might not see some kind of two tier system developing where directors who want their work to reek of artistic credibility avoid 3D like the mindless gimmick it is whilst popcorn blockbusters continue to trumpet the wonders of the 3rd dimension. It's hard to argue that something like We Need to Talk About Kevin would be anything other than diminished by adding 3D.

    A possible effect of this would be the reduction of the money making potential of what might facetiously be called serious movies and a concomitant loss of visibility. This narrows the demographic that goes to the cinema. In order to make up the shortfall popcorn movies have to aim for an ever broader demographic which is not good news for originality. As Avatar aptly demonstrated, when you spend half a billion dollars on a movie there's a strong pressure to be conservative in the script, even if it didn't start out that way and even, as your book argues, if there's no real need to be conservative.

    I note that Dredd, one of the best action movies of the year, had a comparatively modest 45 million dollar budget, you don't need to spend the vast sums of Avatar and Transformers to make good, entertaining popcorn movies. Dredd also has niche appeal, something which I worry may be the biggest casualty of a 3D ghetto developing.

    The ideal solution would be for everyone to stop using 3D, or for it to be confined to its natural milieu of kids movies and kitsch horror movies. I'd cheerfully go and see one 3D horror film a year and enjoy the gimmick. That doesn't seem likely at the moment and I fear that serious directors by abandoning the format entirely may ironically end up prolonging its life.

  • Comment number 43.

    Anyone else remember when Kermode wrote about the content of films rather than their means of delivery?

  • Comment number 44.

    After I heard Mark say "Pants Labyrinth" my imagination went into overdrive and the rest of his story was lost on me.

    To be honest, the whole discussion about 2D vs. 3D is lost on me as, with the exception of Cave of Forgotten Dreams, I'm not interested in the type of films that see a 3D release. So seeing that a film is being released in 3D has become a convenient shorthand that I can ignore the film altogether, even the 2D version.

  • Comment number 45.

    One thing I noticed when I went to see Dredd in 3D was the fact that 3D films cannot be shot in the same way as 2D. There are moments in that film in which a blurry wall sits in the foreground eating up a quarter or the screen with dead space. In 2D, this is less noticeable and can be useful for emphasizing the focal point of the frame, but in 3D it just feels like you have a wall shoved in your face.

    Another oddity has to do with light coming through narrow spaces, such as bars in a window. In real life, your right eye will see more through the left of the gap, and your left eye will see through the right (light the pinpoint camera experiment). This makes the light seem to bend, and that feels natural to us. Currently in 3D films the light does not bend, and it feels as though you are watching separate 2D planes. Also, fast movement in 3D seems jumpy because of the framerate. Maybe the increase due for The Hobbit will improve that.

    In a nutshell, the technology for 3D has a long way to go, but don't lose hope yet. This is the logical next step for cinema. One day, a film will come out in 3D that doesn't tumble down the pitfalls of the new medium, and is as beautiful as classics like 2001, The Shining, and other Stanley Kubrick films (man was the boss).

  • Comment number 46.

    Like you dear Doctor I have a problem with 3D, and it is not just a small, insignificant problem, it is a major problem I can't stand. I strongly belive that 3D is just plain and simple garbage, usless in every sense, I simply never felt the idea that should be behind 3D, the idea that things should pop out of the screen and that you should be fully immersed in it. That is not true and every time I have walked out of a 3D screening I always had a headache. Other than being useless 3D also makes the movie loose image quality and that is another reason to hate it.

    When I went to see prometheus I really wanted to see it in 2D: both because of what Ridley Scott has said about the 2D print and because I hate 3D. Guess what? There was no 2D screening! I am absolutely furiously angered by this situation continiously happening, I am sick of spending more money to see a movie and ending up seeing it in lesser quality and going out with a headache, it will just ruin my opinion on the film!

    I want 3D to END!

  • Comment number 47.

    I just want to add my entry to the list of people who wanted to see Dredd 3D in 2D. I prefer to watch 2D anyway, but the added problem is my girlfriend can't see 3D because of her vision. I have looked around and one website provided a list of cinemas supposedly showing Dredd in 2D, but I rang the nearest, Bradford Cineworld, and they weren't. Drokk! Will just have to wait for the DVD.

  • Comment number 48.

    Hmmmmm I certainly don't like the idea of only being able to go to the cinema and watch a film in 3D. Having said that, I did enjoy Avengers 3D because it worked the appropriate balance between content and explosions. It was visually spectacular, AND the story was good. To me, 3D seems like a filter that distracts the film goer from the plot, if indeed there is one at all. Avatar was visually spectacular, but the film itself was seriously underwhelming. The point I am making is that if 3D wants to survive in cinema it has to be worked into a balance, and not forced upon people who simply don't want it.

  • Comment number 49.

    Possibly an eg of 3D used well: Flight Of The Butterflies 3D

  • Comment number 50.

    I have watch a lot of 3D films,because on a small island there is no choice. The cinemas only show the 3D version. The problem with 3D is that its the opposite of an immersive process. When whatever it is flys at me,my mind stops following the story, goes oh look at that , then has to adjust back to whats going on.I also find at times half the screen is blurred and thats a big distraction. Tin Tin was a horrible example of both these effects, and was much better in 2D when I saw it on DVD.
    Who would choose to watch Prometheus in 3D if given a choice to either watch Alien or Aliens on the big screen. There is no contest, because compared to plot,casting,acting,direction,editing and sound , 3D is nothing. I went to see the reissue of Jaws. Theres a great scene the power of which I forgot. A mother goes up to Chief Brodie and blames him, for her childs death. That actress punched me in the face and left me in pain, the silence afterwards was deafening. Now THAT was a 3D experience.

  • Comment number 51.

    If we really want to kill off this 3D fad - or at least get an equal billing for 2D - then the only solution is to vote with your feet. Don't watch 3D films in the cinema!

    It is not true to say that you have "no choice" but to watch in 3D. The DVD / BluRay releases only trail the cinema release by a few months and these are always available primarily in 2D. This is a money driven business where sales figures rule... if you watch a 3D film in the cinema, even under sufferance, then you are part of the problem. You only have yourself to blame.

  • Comment number 52.

    Hi Mark this is my first post ever.Scorsese's new film The Wolf of Wall Street is said to be filmed entirely on digital do you think he has had to succumb for he was always a big advocate of film.Also do you think this is a trend in the movie business now for filmmakers having to go with 3D or Digital? I just feel sorry for the new filmmakers in the future not getting the chance to make and see there movie made on film.

  • Comment number 53.

    I had watched a 3D film until the release of Dredd, a film that I was really looking forward to. My local cinema only offered it in 3D, which did make me consider not seeing it at all. I did however. I didn't find it a particularly enjoyable experience, more for having to wear something on my face. I kept removing the glasses through out. I didn't mind the actual 3D itself, though I would have found the film more enjoyable with the discomfort.
    The only reason I can fathom for cinema's continuing to push the 3D experience is to combat piracy. A viewing experience that requires additional equipment to view, which without doesn't look to good.

  • Comment number 54.

    I had been waiting for the release of Dredd for some time and living in London I thought I would have a fairly good chance of finding a 2D showing. I didn't, in the first week the only place I could find my consumer choice was a cinema in Peckham.

    So I mosey along and sit there looking like a crap Roy Orbison because I have to balance those stupid glasses on the end of my nose over my prescription glasses. Half way through, a very enjoyable film by the way, I took the 3D specs off and was amazed at the amount of colour loss I had paid extra to get.

    Moreover, most of the story takes place in tight spaces in a tower block. Leaving no effective use of 3D as there's no perspective in the vast majority of shots. If I had sat there wearing sunglasses I would have got the same effect.

    How do you kill 3D, with a headshot!

  • Comment number 55.

    Want to see something that looks really 3D without *any* of the problems associated with 3D cinema systems.

    Wear an eye patch over one eye... and watch the film with the other eye. It looks very 3D indeed and is completely free for anybody who wants the experience - *and* nobody is forced to watch the film in 3D or wearing silly glasses if they do not wish to ;o)

  • Comment number 56.

    The thing about zombies is...they can shuffle around for *ages* before finally dying. And the thing about fashions and technologies forced on a public that doesn't want them is...they can last for as long as the industry has the will to force them on us.

    3D may never become the audience's flavour of choice, but the industry can keep ensuring it's the only flavour on the menu for *years*, in the hope that eventually we'll start to like it.

    In the meantime, I kind of want Lars von Trier to do a 3D movie.

    Actually no. I want Dr K to *review* a Lars von Trier 3D movie.

  • Comment number 57.

    I think there are currently more shows of ParaNorman in 2-D than 3-D at my local Cineworld, where there were more screenings of Brave in 2-D than the stereoscopic format.

    The audience clearly doesn't want 3-D yet studios seem determined to force it down their throats (there were no 2-D showings of Dredd 3D), probably due to no prints). If they are now forcing filmmakers to use 3-D against their will, that's just appalling bullying.

  • Comment number 58.

    As I see it, 3D happened when it did due to three factors:
    - Home cinema experience becomes cheaper, Blu-Ray improves its quality.
    - Faster home download speeds bring illegal downloading into the mainstream.
    - Those same internet speed increases make online streaming of films viable (although perhaps this is one for the near-future than right now).

    So the film industry looked at these models and realised that they wouldnt make any more money from the first, none at all from the second and maybe had not enough confidence in the third. Their response? Sell the cinema-goer a worse experience for more money.

    What is the solution? Make us want to visit the cinema, enhance the product (or the art, if you like). The reason why cinemas mostly dont have projectionists or ushers and charge motorway service-station prices for food and drink is because they are being strangled by the film distributors. If those crazed accountant-driven money-fiends can take their foot off the throttle a little and cut their margins in exchange for a guaranteed improvement in the quality of our experience, movies in cinemas will be enjoyed for years to come.

    If not, we'll all be watching from our homes within 10 years.

    Oh and they are few and far between on this comment page, but I disagree with those who say 'Mark, get over it' and 'Haven't we heard this before?'. Its your blog sir, please continue to get het up over whatever you choose. Other opinions are available! (On a side note: if you and him were to stop your weekly show right now, I'd vote for Al Murray and James King to take over).

  • Comment number 59.

    I did manage to see DREDD in 2D. I had to travel to Cineworld Stevenage, a cinema constantly thinking up new ways to foul up the cinematic presentation (this time they projected it out of focus then lied to my face about it). In the end I spent more on petrol driving up and down the A1 than I saved on the shameful and shameless 3D premium, but there's a principle here, and ultimately it's that I care less about the environment than I do about seeing a film properly. I know DREDD was actually shot in 3D rather than a conversion, but given that much of the movie takes place in badly lit corridors I wanted to be able to see what was going on rather than losing the image in the double-filtered murk of the 3D projection process. CW Stevenage showing the film out of focus isn't the distributor's fault, obviously, but providing so few 2D prints is surely their call.

    In the event, focus notwithstanding, DREDD 2D sadly turned out to be a monotonous and miserable bore, and I seriously doubt that having to wear the Jake & Elwood shades throughout is going to change that. Heresy, perhaps, but the Stallone film is far, far superior.

  • Comment number 60.

    I'm not fussed at all on the current use of 3D but I wonder will the advance of technology bring 3D to a place where it really does add to the experience of watching a film. When films moved out of the silent era I'm sure there were plenty of filmmakers that misused the use of sound, just like plenty of filmmakers are misusing 3D. Surely the point of the advance is to bring an added dimension of realism to the film - to feel like you're not just watching a screen of moving pictures but that you're actually in the film alongside the characters. I think the current era of 3D - as in previous times - will die out because technology still hasn't advanced enough, it's still feels gimmicky, but I think it will be back, and one of these times I think it'll actually be to the benefit of filmmakers.

  • Comment number 61.

    From someone who thought Avatars 3d effects were just "alright", and like many who've already posted I was really hoping to see a 2d print of Dredd aswell, however, having read online the sheer volume of glowing discussion and reviews from fans of the comics and action movie fans alike I begrudgingly forced myself to go see it in 3d. And frankly I was hugely impressed by how well it was used and also to say that im maybe coming round to how the format can be used to the benefit of a films art style.

    I can say with hindsight that this time the 3d wasn't the tacked on extra its usually presented as and Dredds creators quite obviously preferred the 3d version over the 2d print and actively pushed for that to be the defacto, definitive version and for possibly the first time I just have to agree.

    Dredd looked and felt like a living breathing comic book and the skewed and over exaggerated depth of the 3d effects further exemplified this. It was perhaps the most enjoyable 3d experience ive been too, so much so that I went to see it again for a second time yesterday.

    On another note, why hasn't Dredd been reviewed by Mark? Yes it did well in the UK but it could have done alot better. Both times on seeing it I was practically in an empty cinema. Has his dislike for 3d and the difficulty to find a cinema showing the 2d version caused him to just skip it?

    Its one film versus the huge multitudes that don't do it right, that all it amounts to is an overly dark and soft picture but it can be used right if the effort is there, and in Dredds case it really does warrant further discussion.

  • Comment number 62.

    OK so there's a couple of points I'd like to make on this topic:

    1) There needs to be a clear distinction in peoples' minds between what is a film-making issue and what is a presentation issue. When discussing a film, of course you can't help but allow your perception to be tainted by aspects of the presentation (screen size, volume, quality etc), your mood or even how comfortable the chairs were but, in order to be as objective as possible, they must be ignored.

    2) 3D is as relevant to audiences as Surround Sound. It should be a subtle addition to the presentation. Sure, Surround Sound doesn't really add anything to....say Schindler's list, but would I have preffered it if Spielberg had mastered it in Mono? No, not really because I didn't notice that it was in Surround Sound.

    3) The consumer should always have the choice of how they want to see their film presented. That means yes, more 2D screens but ALSO, NO SURCHARGE for 3D.

    4) Mark's stance on 3D has changed slightly. Firstly his emphasis was that a film should be designed for 3D in order for it to work, as he expressed when reviewing Meet The Robinson's: "need to see it in 3D" -

    However, since the few live action films designed for 3D, Mark's stance has shifted to a distinct opinion that it's retro-fitting that is bad.

    However, nowadays almost every film is a hybrid between live action and (computer generated) animation so even if a film is natively shot in 3D there will be large elements that are retro-fitted (Hugo won the Oscar for best visual effects - So we end up with the situation the other day when Mark was unsure if Dredd was designed in 3D or retro-fitted into 3D - he couldn't tell and basically shifted his stance, which was always really the case, that he just doesn't like 3D. However, I believe that a lot of Mark's arguments against 3D are related to the presentation (light loss and wearing the glasses) not how he thinks the technology affected the film - probably because it doesn't affect the film very much (see point 2).

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

    The question is, will we now see Dr K 'doing a Romney' in response?

  • Comment number 63.

    will this economic focus on 3D at the cinema move the favour of those who prefer 2D towards the home cinema experience???

  • Comment number 64.

    Oh Mark is rumbling about his favourite subject again. He completely forgot that there are still two big Stereoscopic movies coming out this year

    The Great Gatsby and The Hobbit

    I think it is too early to give a verdict. And it is actually likely that 3D will stay around for much longer than Mark has anticipated and that's what he is really angry about because it turns out he was wrong all along.

  • Comment number 65.

    Just noticed this in the BBC News story about The Hobbit premiere: "The film will have its UK release in 3D and 2D in selected cinemas and Imax two days after the royal premiere on 14 December."

    I don't like the "selected cinemas" bit — does this mean it's Dredd 2D all over again?

  • Comment number 66.

    So Dr. K is very much about denouncing the 3D format and while he's made plenty of good points in favour of his argument; I'd like to make a point that seems to be missing is his argument...

    I say 3D is NOT dead - and I'm glad it isn't because:

    In an age of double-dipped recessions and Internet-leveraged cinema piracy set to sky rocket; we have seen little panic in the way of the multiplex cinemas having to struggle to survive and the saving factor is:

    The increased price of a cinema ticket (by way of it being shown in 3D).

    I have no doubt in my mind that one of the reasons we still have as many mutliplex-cinemas to actually see movies in is down to the high profits made from 3D film gross.

    It's these great profits from Avengers and Avatar that allow studios to be able to take such gambles with films like Inception (that our Dr.K famously loves so much).

    Even Dr.K would have to agree that the places where he will see most films is inside the great multiplexes of Leicester square etc just like the rest of us.

    And so I would actually go on to say 3D is now a necessary requirement because:

    "We don't make movies to make money, we make money so that we can make more movies!"

    3D makes the money so the bigger, more artistic films have the means to exist.

    And in response to Dr. K's comments about Dredd 3D - well the simple reason that it was so remotely available in 2D is because - it's a turkey!

    It's awful and the studio knows it (the release of the far superior The Raid didn't help either).

    So they made a smart move by spreading the 3D love to box clever at the box office and make enough cash back (to make more movies).

    There will always be 2D movie versions, it's not the great battle between the two formats that I feel Dr.K seems to be pushing.

    But 3D will remain alive so long as Internet piracy increases and I'd rather have less 2D releases on bad big budget movies than less cinemas to go to.

  • Comment number 67.

    I think it's kind of irrelevant to ask whether it is dead or not, the fact is the studios will not let it fail, they can't, they have too much invested in it. They have already figured out that when given the choice between 3D or 2D prints of films, a significant number of people will choose to see the 2D version, so they are now not giving us a choice, or severely limiting the choice available. They will continue to insist that 3D is a success, because the numbers will say so. And 3D will continue to roll on and on, and we will have less and less choice. The fact that Del Toro is having to release his new film in 3D only goes to show how much pressure there is on film makers, never mind on audiences, to fit in. And I also found out recently that the Glasgow Film Theatre, my favourite independent cinema, is showing films in 3D. That, truly, is a sign of the times.

    Unless people just stop going to see these films altogether, I just don't see how this will die. There is too much money, too much power and influence behind it, pushing the agenda, and I'm afraid, very often, art loses out to corporate interests.

  • Comment number 68.

    Hopefully you're right and this is the death knell of the format; not for all the reasons you've mentioned but because having glasses means that I have to perch the 3D specs on top of my own, which both makes me look ridiculous and hampers my viewing of the film. It sounds small but it is incredibly annoying and I don't like wearing contacts whereas I am perfectly capable of perceiving depth under the previous system where objects in the distance just appear smaller.

  • Comment number 69.


    To answer whether 3-D is dead or not it must be ascertained what form 3-D took when it was 'alive'.

    I am sure there is many who will argue that 3-D has always been a dead endeavour but I argue otherwise. For me, the format can only be considered 'alive' if it acts as a genuine pull factor for people to pay up and watch a film at the cinema.

    I believe that 3-D was able to live up to that criteria in the earliest period of its 21st century incarnation, i.e with Cameron's Avatar. You can argue till the cows come home over the merits or pitfalls of the 3-D elements in the film but it simply cannot be denied that the premise of the then new technology played a sizeable part in its box office success.

    Fast forward to the present day and it can be seen that the fervour surrounding 3-D has halted. The film going public, now very familiar with the technology, have replaced their enthusiasm with apathy and often down right disdain. From my own experiences, it seems that now the vast majority of people attend the screening most convenient to them and do not go out of their way to see 3-D any more.

    If 3-D isn't dead it must be getting very close. In its current state, if 3-D was to completely disappear tomorrow the cries of its apologists will be drowned out by the rejoicing rest who long ago lost patient with it.

  • Comment number 70.

    If 3D is dying then I'm afraid it will be a slow death, the format makes too much money to go away instantly.

    However, if this continues, could there be a small positive repercussion... surely some film makers simply can't afford to shoot in 3D and if there remains a strong audience demand for 2D could this eventually force wider screenings of lower budget, British films like Submarine; Tyrannosaur or Cockneys vs Zombies?

  • Comment number 71.

    I had the exact same problem with Dredd 3D, I cannot see movies in 3D thanks to my eye sight (have to wear glasses and it gives me headaches) so despite the fact I wanted to see Dredd (a movie I have been anticipating) I cannot and the same problem as arisen with other movies put into 3D. It just annoys me that studios and cinemas think everyone wants to see something in 3D and therefore shuns 2D either completely or into one screening per day at an inconvenient times. I hope 3D goes away very quickly.

  • Comment number 72.

    Mark. You are always spot on about your grievances with the so-called beauty of 3-D. If it's any consolation: I refused to watch "Dredd" due to the mere fact it was shown in three-dimentional syrup - with no choice. The more you bemoan this gimmick, the more us true movie-goers can sit back and watch it's decline. I'm counting on you. As for Guillermo: You have to please the suits if you want your "Mountains Of Madness".

  • Comment number 73.

    I've seen several films in 3D, each time, I've come out with some sort of headache or another, something I never get with 2D. I had to bail out from seeing Brave in 3D with my 3 year old and wife because I didn't want to have another headache.
    For me the best 3D film I've seen was Prometheus, but still, there were times when perspectives were forced and gimmicky, but for the most the 3D was subtle and enhancing, not forced, subsequently I came out with only a small headache which soon faded.
    Personally, we should as paying customers, have the choice, be that for personal reasons because 3D gives a headache or doesn't work for you, and financial reasons, especially in a recession where paying £10-13 (the price of some new blu-rays) seems rather at odds with reality.
    I don't go much to the cinema, ( I used to go atleast once a week several years ago) and if we continue to have 3D rammed down our throats, I will venture there less and less and just wait 6 months to pick up the Blu-ray.....

  • Comment number 74.

    I absolutely agree that it is not fair when people don't have the option of seeing a film in 2D as the 3D version is the only one being shown. Equally though it is just a selfish to demand 3D die when there are those who do enjoy a 3D viewing like myself. That said I'm not a slave to 3D many movies I chose to watch in the 2D version rather than 3D. But I still enjoy the 3D experience on some films as well. Just as 3D haters should not be denied the 2D experience it is incredibly selfish (and somewhat ignorant considering you have a better understanding of what it feels like to be denied a choice) to deny those who like 3D the same right.

  • Comment number 75.

    Very interesting area of cinema, however, I've seen some pretty good movies in 2D... Let's not continue to turn the highest form of art into a business.. 3D is a gimmick, a business. Not art. Let's make movies again. Don't fund the 3D crap, that's what keeps them going...

  • Comment number 76.

    On the subject of 3D and the 3D effect while watching a 2D moving image, I was watching someone play a video game called BORDERLANDS 2, and there was a moment in it in which the player said "I actually ducked when that happened", as he was being shot at by aliens on a strange world. He was just playing it on a Xbox 360 on an ordinary big-screen TV. The 3D effect without the 3D...ness.

    Cinemas really are taking us for a ride, and it's time it stopped.

  • Comment number 77.

    I think that 3D works alot better on a 3D TV than at the cinema. For a start, your using battery operatated Active Shutter glasses instead of the regular non-battery ones. At home you can turn up the brightness to make up for the darkness that wearing the glasses gives you.

    It helps alot though if the film is made in 3D from the ground up like Dredd was, post conversions will never do 3D justice. I also have some PS3 games which work incredibly well in 3D, so I do think that it can be good, when done right.

    As far cinemas go though, they should offer every film in 2D and not try to force 3D on people who don't want it.

  • Comment number 78.

    i have only ever watch 1 film in 3d and that was saw 3d it was awful, i hate the fact they have to throw things out of the screen to remind you that you are watching a 3d film and that is pathetic. 3d has no purpose except to empty you wallet.
    3D is the worst thing to happen to cinema, since the birth of Kevin costner.
    it needs to go and go now.


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