3-D Movies: Why, Though?

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

“Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.” “The Little Mermaid.” “Titanic.” Three blockbuster hits of the last generation are coming soon to a theater near you again, but with a twist: a pair of 3-D glasses. Only a few years removed from the HD television craze comes the new trend of 3-D movies. One does not need to look far to understand the reasoning behind the plan for movie studios to pump out more 3-D movies: the vision of profits.


Everyone has their own personal favorite film, whether it is a classic such as “The Godfather” or a relatively modern chick flick such as “Mean Girls.” Now, the question is, how would you feel if your favorite film were to be re-released, but in 3-D like the aforementioned movies? Would you feel offended, thinking that some things are best left the way it is? Or will you be excited to experience your favorite movie in another dimension?


Before you give an answer, you should keep in mind that converting an old movie into 3-D isn’t actually condoned by some prominent figures in the movie industry. For example, “Avatar” was such a successful and amazing movie because it was actually shot in 3-D instead of being converted.


In an interview with Deadline, renowned director James Cameron commented, “[Nowadays], you’ve got people quickly converting 2-D to 3-D, which is not what we did [with Avatar]. They’re expecting the same result, when in fact they will probably work against the adoption of 3-D because they’ll be putting out an inferior product.”


Now of course, many will disagree with Cameron (even if he is James Cameron), but I for one agree with him. In 2010, “Clash of the Titans” was supposed to be the next big 3-D movie after “Avatar” and was thus greatly anticipated. But after watching it, I was quite disappointed and lost a bit of hope for future 3-D movies.


The plot in itself was actually somewhat decent, and to a point, compelling. It was a movie that I would not have minded seeing it in 2-D. But throw in the seemingly rushed 3-D conversion, and the majority of the scenes (especially the ones that are supposed to be exciting and intense) are transformed into muddy and blurry images flicking across the big screen. It is very much like dimming your laptop’s display brightness to the lowest setting, and in a pitch-black theater wearing the tinted 3-D glasses, that requires quite a great deal of tedious straining for the eyes.


For someone who has not worn glasses for quite a long time, the unfamiliar feeling of a pair of plastic glasses paired with the aforementioned dim lighting is not exactly my idea of comfort.


You might be thinking, well, that’s just an action movie that just has too many things going on at once. If that’s the case, what about a simple movie, perhaps an animated film? Well, after watching “Beauty and the Beast 3-D,” I can honestly say that even in animated films without any large-scale action sequences, 3-D does not really improve the viewing experience. Sure, the first few seconds are just jaw-dropping, but after a few minutes, it just seems natural. I wasn’t even thinking about whether the movie was in 3-D or 2-D. It felt just like one and the same; it would just be good (or if you thought it was bad, than just as bad) even if it were in 1-D, if that’s even possible.


For a lot of future movies, such as the aforementioned “The Little Mermaid” or “Titanic,” we can assume that being in 3-D will also not be an improvement. Why does it matter if Ariel or Jack is in 3-D?


It doesn’t. They’re still going to say the same thing and go through with the same actions. The Titanic isn’t going to sink faster or better just because it’s in another dimension.


Quite frankly, it seems 3-D movies have become so popular simply because of the success of “Avatar.” It not only won numerous awards, but also shattered box office records, causing studios to jump on the bandwagon in hopes of making money. Moviegoers, after seeing the amazing graphics and scenery in “Avatar,” have just flocked to theaters thinking that all movies in 3-D will just be as stunning, but in reality, these converted movies are just not the same.


Ultimately, although 3-D is an intriguing attempt to enhance movies, it falls short of its goal. Why bother to spend the extra few bucks to watch a 3-D movie when you can wait for the DVD to come out and watch it anytime I want in the comfort of my own home?