Way back when Americans still idealized the future with promises of floating fast cars, robot butlers and conveyor belt trips to the market, they assumed cinema would change with the rest of the world. And it certainly has! Look at James Cameron’s recent award vacuum, ‘Avatar’ or the green screen testament ‘300.’ There is no doubt that filmmaking has technically evolved alongside the audience’s growing expectations. But are we pushing it with 3D? I say yes.
Several of the major blockbusters of the past few years have offered an optional 3D experience or even a mandatory one. I’ve managed to catch a few of these myself and I’m just not convinced. As impressive as the technology is, I feel it is distracting, if not masking, to the film itself. Are directors losing confidence in their work? Nah. I just think we’re moving in the wrong direction. Box office sales for the past year, in the wake of this bleak economy, are up – so somebody is doing something right. I still attest that this 3D movement is a phase.
The next step, of course, is bringing 3D home. Do you really want to put on glasses to watch Hulu or your latest iTunes download? I don’t. People are lazy! Why add an extra step – an extra obstacle – between the viewer and the play button? I don’t want to dig up my uncomfortable, headache-inducing glasses and set on my desk like a moron watching Toy Story. And according to my future meter, we won’t even be watching movies on computers anymore. No, we’ll be using iPads and smartphones. Imagine seeing somebody sitting on the subway watching “The Office” on their Blackberry with 3D glasses on!
3D is a gimmick. It may be bringing in the box office bucks now but I’m confident it is a passing phase. As a culture, we get so excited about new technology that it sometimes takes us a while to weed out the pointless and absurd. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe cinema should be focused on performance and artistic vision – not pretty shapes jumping out of the screen.