3-D: You’re Doing it Wrong (that’s what she said)

Lately there has been a lot of talk about the inflated price of 3-D movies and the poor picture quality of the films themselves. Tertiary to that, there have also been conversations about how most of the films released in the format are kids’ films and cheesy films that have been retrofitted with the technology. And, in all honesty, this conversation is valid and absolutely true. 3-D as a process has consistently been degraded since Avatar came out 2 years ago. Also, almost every other film released in the format has not been shot on the 3-D camera.

Now, coming out in the winter of next year is a film being shot in 3-D. Director Baz Luhrman is directing an adaptation of The Great Gatsby in 3-D. I know this will come as a surprise to you, but people find this a folly and laughable. I, however, think this is the true evolution that 3-D must take to truly become the technology as it was touted by James Cameron. Until theaters are equipped with truly “glasses free” immersive 3-D, the glasses will still be used. But, even with the glasses the idea of an immersive world can be constructed. Using Avatar as the standard bearer, director Cameron very rarely used the technology to “poke” at the audience. Most of the 3-D was to create a tactile and living environment for the viewer. Since that film, most 3-D has been used to push things at the audience for shocks. But, in doing a film like The Great Gatsby in 3-D, Luhrman is using Avatar as his model and moving it even further into 3-D as Cameron intended.

The Hamptons in the 1920’s seem like as just a foreign land as the planet of Pandora. Both can become real to the viewer. 3-D should move to make the real more real, not pull the curtain away from the fantasy. With the movie theater competing with so many other forms of entertainment, 3-D can be a useful tool to draw people into the theater. But, you need a good story before you ever even shoot in 3-D and you need to stop putting on the 3-D in post. It looks like crap.

Hollywood, remember the adage of Big Business, you have to spend money to make money.

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