A Late Response to the 3-D Movie Trend

Found on Google images.

I wouldn’t call myself crotchety or mistrustful of new technologies and ideas. But sometimes it takes me a while to come around to such things and decide that they are relevant to me as a consumer and not just simply a way to get gullible people to drop dollars on unnecessary or ridiculous items that will soon be obsolete. Take the E-reader for instance, I didn’t jump on that bandwagon until Christmas 2011. You can read about an experience with my Kindle Fire™ here.

My view of the 3-D movie or TV trend began in the same fashion. Previously, I saw little to no value in 3-D movies and had pegged them as a fad that would fade into technological history along with other “great” ideas that never caught on. Those ideas were so “great” in fact that I am failing to come up with a legitimate example at the moment.

The 3-D movie trend started way back in 2003, but I never wanted to pay extra for the ticket. The first movie that I saw in 3-D was Clash of the Titans in 2010. This may not have been the best choice to be my first experience with the 3-D thing because the 3-D experience was tacked on in post-production. But it is what it is. I saw Clash of the Titans in 3-D at the request of a friend and was not very impressed with the results. You can read a review of the film released in 3-D by Den of Geek! here. I didn’t really feel like it added anything to the experience and, to be honest, felt a little fleeced when the credits rolled. After this disappointment, I continued my boycott of the 3-D venture.

Last weekend, I went with a couple of friends to see Life of Pi. I had read the book a couple of years ago and was really excited to see the film. My friends wanted to go 3-D. I agreed, though I didn’t anticipate anything spectacular. I expected the movie to be good, of course. But I didn’t expect that the 3-D would add anything to the experience.

In all honesty, I was severely mistaken. The movie was awesome. I think that the movie would have been spectacular had I seen it only in 2-D because the filmmakers did an excellent job converting the story from the book. But viewing it in 3-D was an extraordinary experience that really rocketed this film to the top of my list. The concept behind 3-D film fit the movie well because the story is so vivid and sensual to begin with. The experiences of the narrator are dream-like and his story is fantastical, so much so that people don’t believe him. The 3-D technology brought those components to life in a way that enhanced the sensuousness and images of the exotic that are often associated with India. It made the viewing experience more real.

Following Life of Pi, I also saw The Hobbit in 3-D (as well as at the faster frame-rate). My experience in this movie was also very positive overall. The only time the film was difficult to follow was if the camera panned too quickly or if a character was only partially in view in the corner. It was weird when they stuck out in 3-D. It was very much like standing behind a person in real life. It only felt weird because I had not experienced such a sensation before while watching a movie.

My favorite thing though from my 3-D viewing of The Hobbit has nothing to do with the story. There is a scene with the sun high in the sky and the rays and the glare from the sun are amplified by the 3-D. It made me feel like I was standing there alongside the characters with the sun glaring in my eyes. It was a truly novel sensation and worth every penny.

In the words of Disney's Toy Story aliens: ooooooo! (Found on Google Images)
In the words of Disney’s Toy Story aliens: ooooooo!
(Found on Google Images)

My recent epiphanous experiences with 3-D films is comparable to the first time I watched something in HD on television. The clarity was amazing and made me feel like I was right there in the middle of the action. Even as an avid proponent of books who often looks down her nose at television, I was mesmerized.

I know that my initial dislike of the 3-D concept came about because I was watching movies that weren’t filmed with the idea of being made into 3-D. It was merely an afterthought for showing off and a way to make more money. In those movies, the 3-D images are not necessarily chosen to enhance the story or the viewing experience.

But, when a film is crafted with the initial idea of showing it in 3-D, the viewer is certainly in for a real treat. They experience the excitement that I felt as I sat through them. The fourth wall is made pliable and the viewer is virtually in the midst of the action.

After these two very positive 3-D film experiences, I must retract all former statements concerning my initial dislike of the 3-D film concept and I can say with all certainty that I will be seeing more 3-D movies.

2 thoughts on “A Late Response to the 3-D Movie Trend

  1. Ages ago when. at Seaworld they had a 3D exhibit that was enhanced. For instance, not only did bees come flying out from the screen but seats buzzed giving the sensation of being stung. Definitely memorable!

    1. Sounds really fun! The interactive theaters are fascinating. I remember going to one at Disney World as a kid too. That may be an example of 3D I experienced that I forgot about when writing.

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