3D: The latest entertainment innovation that’s already decades old! I fall into that vehemently loud subset that really dislikes 3D movies. Was there a point beyond anti-piracy measures, I would be more sympathetic. But the case for the prosecution mounts very quickly. As flawed as AVATAR was, it was at least designed with 3D projection in mind. Its very purpose was to showcase the marvels of the extra dimension, and so it gets a pass. But anything converted from 2D into 3D (CLASH OF THE TITANS and ALICE IN WONDERLAND being the most noted egregious examples) does not hold this merit; they are simply cash-grabs. It’s a sell-out tactic which has the knock-on effect of taking up twice the number of screens (since the movie will still be shown in 2D) and as a result ousts anything that is lower scale and likely to take in less money.

So then: 3D is going to start killing independent cinema. All those quirky, odd and amazing movies made by new talent for thruppence is going to fall by the wayside even moreso than before. The omniplex has already taken a major toll on independent film makers (quick summary of theory: omniplexes have more screens, so they will offer a greater selection of movies, allowing smaller scale films to get an audience they might not otherwise receive; quick summary of reality: omniplexes will use multiple screens to show the same movies, leading to a reduction of choice); this will increase the problem. If your local cinema didn’t show gems like MOON or BRICK for long, they definitely won’t have them now. I had to go to Dublin to watch FOUR LIONS because my local cinema was busy showing SEX AND THE CITY 2 on multiple screens. The best new directors may have to hope for is discovery by DVD.

I could live with the clear and blatant tastelessness of the cash grab to an extent. It’s a business, 3D is the latest gimmick, much the same as colour and sound were, back in the day. But colourised black & white movies were an abomination unto the world of cinema and man, and no one can argue otherwise. While colourisation then was usually garish and over-saturated, 3D conversion as it stands now actually reduces the colour palette, leading to darker, murkier films. Even ignoring that the mise-en-scene was designed with a very different motion and aesthetic in mind, the loss of colour is a further desecration of the work in question.

A desecration which they have the temerity to charge extra money for. When someone produces something inferior or damaged in any other field, the price is reduced – the suppliers don’t demand that you subsidise their sloppy product. If 3D is the future, then why exactly am I paying extra for something that is a built-in cost of doing business? Particularly given that once paid for, the projector remains a constant that I will continue to pay for thereafter. How much piracy is enabled by the fact that people can’t afford to go to the cinema? How is bumping the price beyond standard inflation going to help your cause, aside from having a diminishing population cover the cost of those who stop going?

We then fall into a more mired area. 3D, when used properly, should immerse you in the narrative. It should make a more cohesive film-going experience. It should enable you to lose yourself in the world of the story to an extent incapable by 2D means. If 3D serves the movie, as opposed to the movie serving 3D, your thoughts must be “Wow! What a great movie!” and not “Wow, what a great 3D spear projecting out of the screen in a wearily phallic fashion.” If it takes you out of the movie, what good is it? It’s simply reducing your involvement with the film. Watching UP in 3D, I was distracted by the 3D moreso than involved, consciously thinking about the the enhancement it provided, rather than the moment it affected. What scenes moved me weren’t based around the added scope, they were based around a man losing his wife, and that man later reading a book.

WHOO! 3D page turning! The cinematic experience Just! Got! Crazy!

It’s little wonder then that I have gone to the cinema twice in as many months. 3D has thus far added nothing but a lot of errata and junk to an experience already fraying in importance for me. I used to go to the cinema every few days; now, I am being alienated by a trend that has put the cart so far in front of the horse that the equine fellow has gotten lost looking for it, fallen off a cliff and is now in desperate need of medical attention. Will the trend continue on its current course? Is there a way to blend my cranky, this ain’t how it were in my day attitude with the modern sensibilities of wrong-headed champions of alleged depth? Can 3D legitimately add something to the filmic language? Are these questions truly rhetorical?

But I digress. Do you know what the biggest problem with 3D is? The bloody 3D glasses. I already wear glasses, dislike contacts and have no intention of getting laser eye surgery. Instead, I have lump the stupid, clunky goggles in front of my required spectacles in order to uncomfortably reap the benefits of 30% colour loss, a higher ticket cost, an often obnoxious crowd and an effect that, if it is successful, I will not actively notice.