Here’s the deal. Our movie theaters are overrun with 3D films. Of course, we have James Cameron to thank for this. I thought Avatar was good…just not biggest box office of all time good. Since then, filmmakers everywhere decided that if they stuck a big 3D label on their movie that they too could make over two and a half billion dollars. They were wrong.
Let’s look at the numbers. There have been more 3D movies released since 2005 than in the preceding fifty years. And, as most of us already know, those 3D movie tickets are a lot more expensive (an average of eleven to twelve dollars across the nation…at my local theater a single 3D ticket costs $15.50).
Is the extra dimension worth the extra money? No. Look, my everyday life is in three dimensions, I look forward to relaxing with some nice two dimensional entertainment. Call me old fashioned, but I’m much more interested in seeing a good story with characters I can care about than being able to put on a pair of cheap sunglasses and have it appear as though one of the characters is…oh my goodness…standing behind another character!
It’s just not that much different. It’s not like we all got confused before the movies were shot in 3D.
“Wait, what’s going on here? On that flat movie screen it appears as though that man and that tree are in the same space. Hmmm, matter, by definition, occupies space…and it is a basic tenet of physics that no two pieces of matter may occupy the same space at the same time. What is this madness? Is the man supposed to be in front of the tree? It’s so hard to figure out when we’re vexingly limited to only two dimensions. If only there were a better way.”
As one of my favorite filmmakers, Christopher Nolan put it, “I think it’s a misnomer to call it 3D versus 2D. The whole point of cinematic imagery is it’s three dimensional…You know 95% of our depth cues come from occlusion, resolution, color and so forth, so the idea of calling a 2D movie a ‘2D movie’ is a little misleading.” Sure, I don’t really understand what he’s talking about, but I think it’s a point well made nonetheless (especially if you say it with a British accent, like he does).
The bottom line is this – does Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked really need to be made in 3D? Of course not. There’s a solid argument that it doesn’t need to be made at all, but that’s another topic. And the fact that every other movie is in 3D is making it increasingly difficult to make these movies seem special. I know because people pay me to try to sell these movies. And there’s only so many times you can tell people that they’re seeing something “like nothing they’ve ever seen before” before they realize that they’ve seen things like this many times before.
Some movies have resorted to sticking the 3D right into the title in the hope that it’ll boost ticket sales. Take, for example, My Bloody Valentine Jonas Brothers Saw Piranha Jackass Step Up 3D – now that was one heck of a movie. But it doesn’t matter if it’s 3D, Real D, Triple D, Vitamin D or Maitre D…I just want good movies. I’d be willing to go down to 1D (whatever that would look like) if it meant valuing the screenplay over the eyewear.
So, how am I going to do it? How will I keep the extra D’s out of our theaters? I think I’ll start a club for people who love two dimensional movies. Maybe I’ll call it Rooty 2D Fresh and Fruity…or something that makes more sense. Regardless of what we call it, it’ll be dedicated to preserving the lost art of non 3D filmmaking. And I think each and every one of you should join – trust me, it will be like nothing you’ve ever seen before.