Why I don't like 3D movies
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One of my webcomics on 3D movies.
3D movies look rubbish and hurt my eyes

Many people who know me will expect me to kick off when it is suggested a group of us go to see a movie and watch it with 3D glasses. I’ll complain about spending an extra £1.50, which could be spent on just over 100 grams of cola bottles in the pick and mix, on a pair of glasses which make my eyes hurt and present me with an effect of ‘three dimensions’ which, to be honest, I find to be pretty rubbish. The images don’t appear to be three dimensional so much as they do to be layered on top of each other. Also, the three dimensional appearance of an object doesn’t look so good if a part of that object is off-screen. I decided to follow the standard procedure for any computer scientist who has something trivial to complain about and bitch about this in my blog, but then I came to realise that these points are mostly down to opinion and so I should just calm down and shut up. I can accept that people do like watching movies in 3D, and for that reason, we should always have 3D movies. However…

One thing still bugs me, and that’s the fact that just because one or two 3D movies were successful, suddenly every film has to have three dimensions. You can’t watch a movie trailer nowadays without the narrator continuously reminding you to ‘see it this Summer… IN 3D!!!‘. Two dimensions just aren’t enough anymore. Regardless of whether or not people like the 3D effect, film producers shouldn’t feel it so necessary to market their production as a 3D one. 2D can be cool too, and I wish to remind people of that.

A return to classical animation.

A short story about classical animation

I’m now going to digress slightly. Please cast your minds back to when you and your mates would kick back and watch The Return of Jafar on VHS with a glass of Ribena on the side. Hand-drawn animation has produced some brilliant film. Disney is a perfect example. Classically animated movies were abundant before the new millennium, and satisfied cinema goers everywhere. Then in 1995 Pixar released the first fully CGI animated movie: Toy Story. When I was 7, you weren’t cool unless your dad had taken you to see this film. From then on we saw more and more CGI movies produced. I love CGI, especially the work of Pixar, but I was disappointed that the popularity of CGI eventually became so great that hand-drawn artwork was scarcely used to produce animated films. It was almost as though production companies felt as though they had to keep up with the times in order to survive. I remember that eventually people began to reminisce about the days before CGI, and that they missed classical animation. Recently, we saw the release of The Princess And The Frog, and there was a lot of hype about the fact that it was created using a classical style of animation.Though CGI seems to have become the preferred method of animation, people can still enjoy the classical approach but film-makers fail to notice it.

James Cameron's Avatar - A 3D movie with lots of blue people.

The life and death of the 2D movie

How does this all related to the issue of 3D movies? I would like to quote the following:

After Toy Story, there were 10 really bad CG movies because everybody thought the success of that film was CG and not great characters that were beautifully designed and heartwarming. Now, you’ve got people quickly converting movies from 2D to 3D, which is not what we did. They’re expecting the same result, when in fact they will probably work against the adoption of 3D because they’ll be putting out an inferior product.

- James Cameron

In the same way that CGI became so popular that the classically animated movie faded into oblivion, 3D movies have become so popular that it just isn’t cool to stick to two dimensions anymore. Movies are being shot in 3D for the sake of it. James Cameron’s concern is the effect it will have on what 3D movies could be, and that’s fair enough. I have no problems with a 3D movie when its producers choose to use 3D technology so they can be creative with it, rather than to just jump on the latest bandwagon. However, my concern is that the classical approach of watching a movie in two dimensions will die at the hands of a pair of 3D glasses, just as hand-drawn animation died at the hands of CGI. I know we will always have the option of watching a movie in 2D, but the way films are being marketed lately, it’s as though I’m being told that I’m behind the times if I choose to watch movies in this way.

It doesn't matter that it stars Brendan Fraser, we can watch it in 3D. It's okay!

Three dimenstions should not be the selling point of a movie

When a film has ’3D’ in its title, I immediately know that I do not want to watch it. A good film should be enjoyable whether you watch it in 2D or 3D. Including the number of dimensions in the title of the picture is telling me that if I’m not wearing special glasses, I can’t enjoy it. It can also make the most interesting, exciting or inspiring title look pretty lame. “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest 3D” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Whether or not ’3D’ is in the title, a movie’s marketing should not put more emphasis on the 3D feature than it does on other aspects of the production. This gives the implication that paying extra for a pair of glasses makes the film more enjoyable, and it shouldn’t do. Just because I can watch the film in an extra dimension doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an awful script.

2D pictures can ‘jump out at you’ too.

One final point before I conclude: though I can ‘see it come alive in eye-popping digital 3D’, I can also ‘see it come alive’ in 2D with my eyes remaining comfortably in their sockets, thank you very much. The illusion of depth can be presented on a 2D canvas too, but without having to wear special glasses. Painters and photographers have shown us this, and it’s also very true of cinematography. I like seeing a three dimensional world represented on a 2D screen. Putting on a pair of 3D glasses is only translating it back and causing some of the cinematographer’s skill to go unnoticed.

How to make a good movie

I’d like to reiterate that I do not think 3D movies should go completely. Some people like them, and there should always be something for those people at the movie theatres. What I don’t like is how every movie just has to have three dimensions. If you’re going to use 3D technology to produce a film, use it well. Use it because you have ideas of how to use it artistically. Don’t just include it because it looks cool and all the other films are using it lately. 2D movies have their advantages too. Stop telling me your film will be better if I wear polarising spectacles. It won’t.

Date uploaded: 03/08/10 Oldest Older Newer Newest