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Ebert: "Fucka 3D!" (more or less)

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Why I hate 3-D (and you should too)


3-D is a waste of a perfectly good dimension. Hollywood's current crazy stampede toward it is suicidal. It adds nothing essential to the moviegoing experience. For some, it is an annoying distraction. For others, it creates nausea and headaches. It is driven largely to sell expensive projection equipment and add a $5 to $7.50 surcharge on already expensive movie tickets. Its image is noticeably darker than standard 2-D. It is unsuitable for grown-up films of any seriousness. It limits the freedom of directors to make films as they choose. For moviegoers in the PG-13 and R ranges, it only rarely provides an experience worth paying a premium for.






When you look at a 2-D movie, it's already in 3-D as far as your mind is concerned. When you see Lawrence of Arabia growing from a speck as he rides toward you across the desert, are you thinking, "Look how slowly he grows against the horizon"? Our minds use the principle of perspective to provide the third dimension. Adding one artificially can make the illusion less convincing.




Recall the greatest moviegoing experiences of your lifetime. Did they "need" 3-D? A great film completely engages our imaginations. What would Fargo gain in 3-D? Precious? Casablanca?






Lenny Lipton is known as the father of the electronic stereoscopic-display industry. He knows how films made with his systems should look. Current digital projectors, he writes, are "intrinsically inefficient. Half the light goes to one eye and half to the other, which immediately results in a 50 percent reduction in illumination." Then the glasses themselves absorb light. The vast majority of theaters show 3-D at between three and six foot-lamberts (fLs). Film projection provides about 15fLs. The original IMAX format threw 22fLs at the screen. If you don't know what a foot-lambert is, join the crowd. (In short: it's the level of light thrown on the screen from a projector with no film in it.) And don't mistake a standard film for an IMAX film, or "fake IMAX" for original IMAX. What's the difference? IMAX is building new theaters that have larger screens, which are quite nice, but are not the huge IMAX screens and do not use IMAX film technology. But since all their theaters are called IMAX anyway, this is confusing.






Yet when you see a 2-D film in a 3-D-ready theater, the 3-D projectors are also outfitted for 2-D films: it uses the same projector but doesn't charge extra. See the Catch-22? Are surcharges here to stay, or will they be dropped after the projectors are paid off? What do you think? I think 3-D is a form of extortion for parents whose children are tutored by advertising and product placement to "want" 3-D. In my review of Clash of the Titans, I added a footnote: "Explain to your kids that the movie was not filmed in 3-D and is only being shown in 3-D in order to charge you an extra $5 a ticket. I saw it in 2-D, and let me tell you, it looked terrific." And it did. The "3-D" was hastily added in postproduction to ride on the coattails of Avatar. The fake-3-D Titans even got bad reviews from 3-D cheerleaders. Jeffrey Katzenberg, whose DreamWorks has moved wholeheartedly into 3-D, called it "cheeseball," adding: "You just snookered the movie audience." He told Variety he was afraid quickie, fake-3-D conversions would kill the goose that was being counted on for golden eggs.




Neither can directors. Having shot Dial M for Murder in 3-D, Alfred Hitchcock was so displeased by the result that he released it in 2-D at its New York opening. The medium seems suited for children's films, animation, and films such as James Cameron's Avatar, which are largely made on computers. Cameron's film is, of course, the elephant in the room: a splendid film, great-looking on a traditional IMAX screen, which is how I saw it, and the highest-grossing film in history. It's used as the poster child for 3-D, but might it have done as well in 2-D (not taking the surcharge into account)? The second-highest all-time grosser is Cameron's Titanic, which of course was in 2-D. Still, Avatar used 3-D very effectively. I loved it. Cameron is a technical genius who planned his film for 3-D from the ground up and spent $250 million getting it right. He is a master of cinematography and editing. Other directors are forced to use 3-D by marketing executives. The elephant in that room is the desire to add a surcharge.


click the link for full article, obviously. i dont necessarily agree with his views on games as art (kinda agree that they're not currently, completely disagree that they can't be), but i can see why he's hating here, moreso than just the obvious luddite criticism. still, trend or gimmick, i dont see it pushing out mainstream 2D flicks, but i dig the option to see stuff like Planet Earth in this format, and god knows im not sure how much idve dug Avatar without it.



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I would agree on all these points except that it adds nothing. Oh sure in Avatar it's so immersive that you don't even notice it in the latter half of the movie, and it makes Clash of the Titans look like a crude pop-up book. But some films are tailor made for 3D. Hell, in My Bloody Valentine that's half the experience and I expect Alexander Aja's Piranha will be much the same.


I think 3D needs to be used sparingly and not on movies that don't need it (see: most of them) the two horror movies I mentioned are the only ones I can think of and that's only because they were filmed with 3D in mind. I could give a fuck about Joss Whedon's Cabin in the Woods being in 3D and I could say that for most movies in general that have decided to use this. It's a gimmick and it deserves to be treated as such.

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And I'm jumping on the 'why is Logan back yet we still have no interview posted yet" bandwagon. :2T:


Because you guys threw 50+ questions at me. I'm not bitchin', but that's a lot of homework. I promise nothing, it's done when it's done.

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  • 3 months later...
Resistance Forms Against Hollywood’s 3-D Push

On Tuesday August 3, 2010, 5:52 pm EDT


LOS ANGELES — A joke making the rounds online involves a pair of red and green glasses and some blurry letters that say, “If you can’t make it good, make it 3-D.”


The fans of flat film have a motto. But do they have a movement?


While Hollywood rushes dozens of 3-D movies to the screen — nearly 60 are planned in the next two years, including “Saw VII” and “Mars Needs Moms!” — a rebellion among some filmmakers and viewers has been complicating the industry’s jump into the third dimension.


It’s hard to measure the audience resistance — online complaints don’t mean much when crowds are paying the premium 3-D prices. But filmmakers are another matter, and their attitudes may tell whether Hollywood’s 3-D leap is about to hit a wall.


Several influential directors took surprisingly public potshots at the 3-D boom during the recent Comic-Con International pop culture convention in San Diego.


“When you put the glasses on, everything gets dim,” said J. J. Abrams, whose two-dimensional “Star Trek” earned $385 million at the worldwide box office for Paramount Pictures last year.


Joss Whedon, who was onstage with Mr. Abrams, said that as a viewer, “I’m totally into it. I love it.” But Mr. Whedon then said he flatly opposed a plan by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to convert “The Cabin in the Woods,” a horror film he produced but that has not yet been released, into 3-D. “What we’re hoping to do,” Mr. Whedon said, “is to be the only horror movie coming out that is not in 3-D.”


A spokesman for MGM declined to discuss “The Cabin in the Woods.” But one person who was briefed on the situation — and spoke on the condition of anonymity because the studio was in the middle of a difficult financial restructuring — said conversion remained an option.


Meanwhile, a spokesman for Marvel Entertainment said that studio had not decided on two or three dimensions for “Avengers,” a superhero film Mr. Whedon is directing.


With the enormous 3-D success of “Avatar,” directed by James Cameron, followed in short order by “Alice in Wonderland,” by Tim Burton, film marketing and distribution executives have been clamoring for more digitally equipped theaters to keep 3-D movies from crowding one another off the screen.


By year’s end, there will be more than 5,000 digital screens in the United States, or 12.5 percent of the roughly 40,000 total, easing a traffic jam that has caused 3-D hits like “Clash of the Titans,” from Warner Brothers, to bump into “How to Train Your Dragon,” from DreamWorks Animation, to the disadvantage of both.


Tickets for 3-D films carry a $3 to $5 premium, and industry executives roughly estimate that 3-D pictures average an extra 20 percent at the box office. Home sales for 3-D hits like “Avatar” and “Monsters vs. Aliens” have been strong, showing they can more than hold their own when not in 3-D.


A 3-D movie can be somewhat more costly than a 2-D equivalent because it may require more elaborate cameras and shooting techniques or an additional process in the already lengthy postproduction period for effects-heavy films. But the added costs are a blip when weighed against higher ticket sales.


Behind the scenes, however, filmmakers have begun to resist production executives eager for 3-D sales. For reasons both aesthetic and practical, some directors often do not want to convert a film to 3-D or go to the trouble and expense of shooting with 3-D cameras, which are still relatively untested on big movies with complex stunts and locations.


Filmmakers like Mr. Whedon and Mr. Abrams argue that 3-D technology does little to enhance a cinematic story, while adding a lot of bother. “It hasn’t changed anything, except it’s going to make it harder to shoot,” Mr. Whedon said at Comic-Con.


In much the same spirit, Christopher Nolan recently warded off suggestions that his film “Inception,” from Warner — still No. 1 at the box office — might be converted to 3-D.


On the other hand, Michael Bay, who is shooting “Transformers 3,” appears to have agreed that his film will be at least partly in 3-D after insisting for months that the technology was not quite ready for his brand of action.


“We’ve always said it’s all about balance,” said Greg Foster, the president and chairman of Imax Filmed Entertainment, which has long counseled that some films are better in 2-D, even on giant Imax screens. “The world is catching up to that approach.”


A willingness to shoot in 3-D could persuade studio committees to approve an expensive film. But the disdain of some filmmakers for 3-D — at least in connection with their current projects — was on full display in San Diego.


Jon Favreau, speaking at Comic-Con about his coming “Cowboys & Aliens” for DreamWorks and Universal, said the idea of doing the movie in 3-D had come up, but he was not interested. Contemporary 3-D requires a digital camera, and “Westerns should only be shot on film,” Mr. Favreau said. He added: “Use the money you save to see it twice.”


Stacey Snider, the DreamWorks chief executive, said Mr. Favreau and the studios involved had mutually agreed that 3-D was not right for the film. But, she added, a discussion about 3-D was inevitable.


“It’s naïve to think we wouldn’t be having it on any movie that has effects, action or scale,” Ms. Snider said.


Earlier at Comic-Con, Edgar Wright, the director of “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” an action-filled comic-book extravaganza from Universal, similarly said that his film would arrive in two dimensions, at regular prices.


(People briefed on Universal’s approach to the film said 3-D had been considered very briefly. It was rejected, however, partly to avoid straining what promises to be a young audience with high ticket prices, partly because the already busy look of the movie might have become overwhelming in 3-D.)


The crowds cheered, as they had in an earlier Comic-Con briefing by Chris Pirrotta and other staff members of the fan site TheOneRing.net, who assured 300 listeners that a pair of planned “Hobbit” films will not be in 3-D, based on the site’s extensive reporting.


“Out of 450 people surveyed, 450 don’t want 3D for ‘The Hobbit,’ ” a later post on the Web site said.


But in Hollywood, an executive briefed on the matter — who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicate negotiations surrounding a plan to have Peter Jackson direct the “Hobbit” films — said the dimensional status of the movie remained unresolved.


Asked by phone recently whether die-hard fans would tolerate a 3-D Middle Earth, Mr. Pirrotta said, “I do believe so, as long as there was the standard version as well.”


In his own family, he said, the funny glasses can be a deal-breaker.


“My wife can’t stand 3-D.”


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3D adds nothing to the narrative, and the 3D "experience" can turn anything into Spy Kids 3D. The new Resident Evil movie already looks retarded just for the sheer number of "OH SHIT DANGEROUS STUFF FLYIN' ATCHA" scenes in the commercials alone.

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