Why isn’t 3-D the revolution it should be?

Real D 3D Glasses

Image by donbuciak via Flickr

I recently watched Thor in 3-D at the cinema, and despite the rave reviews it had one big flaw, 3-D. The effect added nothing to the film and in some cases it actually made the film almost unwatchable. This occurred in the opening battle of the film and the dimness of the 3-D glasses actually made the scene very difficult to see and showcased the growing disappointment the 3-D phenomenon is beginning to become.

The biggest exception would obviously be the mega-hit Avatar directed by James Cameron. The use of 3-D in Avatar created a hugely immersive environment, and heightened the cinema experience. The scenes on Pandora were beautifully constructed and the battle scenes were massively intensified by the 3-D effect. The clever use of 3-D even managed to win over critics and fans alike. Was it sign of things to come, or was it just a one hit wonder?

When the final chapter of the Saw franchise hit in 2010 in 3-D, fans of the genre were adamant the 3-D effect would slot in perfectly with the horror genre. I have to admit the prospect of having blades and rotating sharp wheels fly off the screen was appealing, but the film fell flat on every level. Critics argued the 3-D effect fell flat on the film, and did nothing to heighten the film’s experience. It seemed 3-D was beginning to stutter.

Clash of the Titans was tipped to be a box office smash in 2010. Fresh of his stint in the brilliant film Avatar, Sam Worthington starred as the son of Zeus set against the underworld. The previews looked great, and the film had the potential to rival the brilliance set by the film 300, yet critics poorly received the film. Clash of the Titans was panned for pointlessly being in 3-D as it added nothing to the film and made some scenes difficult to view.

It has however found a home in animation, which is where I believe 3-D should stay. Films such as How to Train Your Dragon, Toy Story 3 and Rio: The Movie have highlighted how brilliant the use of 3-D can be. Animation makes 3-D more pleasing to the eye, less nauseating and much more immersive. I think film makers shouldn’t attempt to film/ or convert their movies in 3-D, unless they can truly make it look special.

This applies to gaming as well, as the 3D Nintendo DS console has only received lukewarm reviews. Critics have criticised the ridiculous angles players need to watch the screen in order to get the 3-D experience. The 3-D effect has only been panned for killing the battery life of the console very quickly.

I’m not a fan of the 3-D trend. I find wearing tinted glasses ruins the experience unless the filmmakers can make it spectacular and immersive. In my opinion 3-D has become a cheap way for Hollywood to earn an extra buck or two, and to that I say

Make it as good as Avatar.

  1. I’ve seen several movies in 3D at the cinema. And I have to say, surprisingly, the film which was enhanced by 3D the most, was Jackass 3D.

    I found Tron: Legacy particularly disappointing. It barely had any noticeable immersive moments. It felt flat and both metaphorically and actually 2D.

    I do own a 3D television at home, and have to say that 3D television is great. Although the content is somewhat slim at the moment, it can only get better. Watching sport in 3D is a huge plus, football and Rugby look great. Sky are also showing films and brand new features created specifically for the channel, and with the constant additions of new content, owning a 3D TV can only become a greater investment.

    I reckon it’ll be outdated before long though, once glasses-less technology becomes commercial. But still, I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.


    • Thanks for commenting, you’re completely right about Jackass, I thought 3D worked well there too. I just wish film studios would think about what films suit 3-D better. When I watched Thor and Clash of the Titans the 3-D was unnecessary.
      I have to admit 3D TV does sound appealing and it has picked up a lot of steam over the past year or so, but as you say it won’t be too long until that’s outdated. I’m majorly disappointed about gaming as I thought that would have progressed further than it has.

      • I got chance to play on a 3DS when Nintendo hosted a tour around the UK. I was quite impressed, and am still debating making a purchase. But I don’t think I’ll come to a decision until Metal Gear Solid 3DS is released.

        I’ve played a number of 3D games on my PlayStation 3. Including the new Mortal Kombat. I think 2D fighting games work well with the 3D technology, as the depth and separation between characters and what’s occurring in the background is great. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing an MK fatality in three dimensions. I’ve also played Black Ops and WipEout HD. WipEout, with the colour and the splendour the game already has, is infinitely improved with 3D.

      • I found the 3DS disappointing. Because of the power needed to keep it running it has a pretty pathetic battery life. I’m a big fan of the MGS series so perhaps that will do well in terms of game play, but I don’t see 3-D adding much to the experience. I haven’t played much of the 3-D stuff on the PS3, as I have an X-Box, but that just shows how little 3-D has come. I haven’t heard any groundbreaking reviews about 3-D on PS3 though.

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