I used to enjoy 3D movies, probably more than most people, when they were still relatively rare. My first encounter with 3D was actually on television, when Maine television station MPBN decided to have a Sunday afternoon broadcast of The Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3D; hearkening back to the last era when 3D was a common device at the theatre. Then, as now, it was pushed upon the public as a way to differentiate the moviegoing experience from staying at home and watching television. It is undoubtedly a more urgent need today, with some people creating home theatres that are equivalent to (if not more enjoyable than) their local cineplex.
3D also reared its head briefly in the 80s, propping up flagging horror franchises like Jaws and Friday the 13th. I used to enjoy the novelty of 3D films and comics, even though the old red/green glasses gave me headaches (and if they didn’t, the scripts of films like Spy Kids did). Now, of course, there is no novelty about 3D; it has become a drug of choice for movie studios and theatre chains to boost their bottom lines in a hell of their own making, where the box office of opening weekend is all that matters.
I was originally excited about the new 3D process that uses the sort-of-sunglasses instead of colour filters. One of my first dates with Nicole was to see My Bloody Valentine 3D, and it was a brilliant exploitation of the technology, never missing a chance to rub the audience’s nose in something gross. Most films, though, do not really leverage the 3D this way (thank god), and so the result is everyone paying an extra $3 to see any children’s film or summer blockbuster for no good reason. There are technological concerns as well which Roger Ebert has dicussed extensively.
I chuckled darkly to myself yesterday as Jack and I prepared to see Thor in 3D; after the screen instructing us to put on our glasses was another one reminding us to “keep 3D green- recycle your glasses after the show.” If you want to be green, movie overlords, don’t do 3D at all. And if you want to boost your revenue, start making films that (1) people want to see in the first place and (2) people want to see more than once. Inception and Bridesmaids spring to mind, unlike, say, Pirates of the Caribbean. The last PotC installment made me want to gouge my own eyes out, so what good would your 3D be then?