An article in the New York Times this morning suggests that the abundance of 3-D movies being released is ruining the lives of massive movie studios. That is, unless you’re the studio raking in billions from Avatar, which is is clogging up the few available American 3-D screens and still selling out the Imax 3-D and many other theatres in Toronto after 6 weeks.
Disney is afraid that they won’t be able to get Alice in Wonderland into pricier Imax and 3-D theatres if Avatar continues to perform as well as it has.
Warner “has just decided to convert” Clash of the Titans to 3-D to cash in on the mania. So despite their lame logic, they have good reason to be scared.
Avatar aside, there are 60 movies that are set to be released in 3-D over the next three years.
But I have to wonder, is all this 3-D is necessary?
I have seen four 3-D movies in my life (not counting Amity Ville Horror 3D that I rented sans the glasses in high school): Harry Potter (for 20 minutes at the end) Coraline, Up, and Avatar. In all four cases it was neat, but certainly not necessary.
I barely noticed the 3-D in Coraline (and at times it was disorienting). The images floating off the screen were neat in Up, but the dialogue and plot are what made the movie great. The brief addition of 3-D for the final battle in Harry Potter scared the crap out of me (dragons and bad guys up in my face) and was definitely worth the extra cash, but wouldn’t have been nearly as effective had it been for the whole film. And then there is Avatar.
Avatar was a terrible screenplay covered up by a breathtaking film. The jungle of Pandora, with it’s glowing foliage and jellyfish-like trees, is the setting of one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen. 3D made it cool, but the motion capturing technology that made a digital Sigourney Weaver so very realistic was the awesome part.
3-D technology used to be special. Now it’s everywhere. It costs more, in many cases it doesn’t make that much of a difference, and theatres can’t handle it. People like it – but I don’t think they’d notice if it weren’t available.
Audiences aren’t exactly known for their discerning tastes, and what sells is what drives decision making. But maybe some of this wasted money could be spent on something better — whether it be other new forms of technology to keep movies evolving, or good movies that could use some mainstream attention. Afterall, audiences will bite on anything if enough money is thrown behind it.