To 3D Or Not To 3D, That Is The Question…


In a Twitter/Facebook post today, I ruminated (fancy word) about whether 3D in the 21st Century is just a repeat of the 50’s fad. My reason for asking is because while there are a lot of 3D films in theaters, and Panasonic and Sony are pushing home 3D monitors, there are still a lot of questions.

I am not a huge proponent of 3D. To me, it is a tech advance that is being put ahead of quality content much of the time. However, while that is my opinion, I still have interest in it.

You have true 3D films, planned for 3D, and with the format as part of the scripting process. A film like AVATAR uses it to enhance the world, to immerse you in it, and to make you forget that you are wearing oversized glasses.

Then there are the retrofitted films, and these are the part of the fad IMHO. A film is shot and planned in 2D and then is reformatted to make things jump out at you. Since it was never a part of the creative process, it simply is a gimmick, not much better than colorization, because it is not natural to the original creative processes, it is an after-thought.

A good example is the new HARRY POTTER film. While a 3D retrofit was attempted, Warners eventually decided to only release it now in 2D. That means two things to me. One, that the film worked without it, and two, that the “wow factor” was not essential to the success of the film.

Warners has announced that “Deathly Hallows Part 2” will have a 3D release.

Studios have embraced the 3D conversion process because they see it as a way to charge a premium price. This in turn inflates box-office totals and makes for a higher gross. I still have to research it, but has it increased actual butts in the theater seats enough to truly say that Hollywood is back?

In addition, are there now consumers who will only choose a 3D film? Was “Clash Of The Titans” or “The Last Airbender” a better film in 3D than in the original form? For the theaters themselves, did it create incremental snack bar sales? Conversely, are there films that were less enjoyable and involving in 2D?

At home, in the last 15 years, consumers have had to absorb the advent and decline of DVD, as well as the War between to DVD off-shoots (Blu-ray and HD-DVD), the push to make the consumer change from DVD to Blu-ray, to convince them that what was once such a great medium is now inferior, to upgrade to HD-TV, with two separate choices, 720P (not fully utilizing true Blu-ray) and 1080P displays (Blu-ray ready).

In the meantime, analog broadcasting went away and digital required modifications of its own.

All of these changes are now joined by the wonderful need to have home 3D-TV. Again, it is flash over creative content. Was there a hue and cry that the general public wanted 3D TV badly, or do they see it as a cool choice, but not essential.

Is AVATAR  a worse film in 2D? That is your decision, but how many films can utilize 3D effectively, and what type of films really need it?

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