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13th September 2012

The future’s not 3D

3D is too often used lazily and without thought, writes Nihal Tharoor-Menon

Since Avatar brought about the revival of 3D films to our cinemas Hollywood has been an abusive dairy farmer, relentlessly squeezing every drop of milk from this cash cow until it keels over and dies, used and abused.

Before you cry foul I am not dismissing the entire medium as a whole, when it is truly the artistic intention of the directors and it is employed with reason 3D can definitely compliment or even make a film.

To take Cameron’s Avatar or Scorsese’s Hugo, they were real 3D films designed for that format. These directors were aware, from conception to completion, of the possibilities that a third dimension could bring to their storytelling, to their characters, their environments, and they brought this to the screen with its full potential.

However, the majority of 3D films of this 21st century do not employ such artistic vision. Hollywood executives see that if you stick the tag ‘3D’ on your movie poster your box office gross will likely increase. It’s a business investment not a creative one, and in these cases it adds nothing to a film.

What people fail to realize is that when we watch movies we are in a very strong sense naturally seeing it in 3D.

The human mind has the ability to gage field of depth, through occlusion, resolution, colour. In terms of understanding, our brains have a full grasp of the three dimensions of cinematic imagery in any ‘2D’ film, and so these makeshift 3D films really do not visually improve upon your viewing experience. Often you will completely forget you are watching it in said dimension.

What is a particularly shameless ploy that many film studios are undertaking is the re-releasing of classic films in converted 3D. Lion King, Titanic and now this week, the beloved Pixar film, Finding Nemo is being dragged into the third dimension.

So before this new medium becomes hated by real filmmakers, theatres flooded with tacky blockbusters and re-releases, the film industry should push for some creative discretion in the use of 3D, so hopefully some integrity can be brought to this future cinema.


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