Friday, December 31, 2010

Rafa says WHAT? The 3D Movement

Oh man, “Avatar” in 3D! I want to get an even more in-depth glimpse of the awesome 7-foot-tall blue people acting like hippies on the big screen. This is pretty much all that I was getting for the whole time that the movie was out in theaters. Apart from it being incredibly annoying and turning me off to an already immensely hyped-up movie, there was also another thing that was grinding my gears about that statement: 3D. The whole 3D movement is one of the things that has been upsetting me for a long time. It seems to have started out as something that was uniquely for certain movies and has now turned into a fad. I will now proceed to spew out my annoyances with the idea of 3D movies and destroy what it stands on, but I will offer hope in the final bit of this blog, so never fear.

Everyone seems to hold the false belief that 3D is something modern and high-tech; that it somehow oozes amazingness from its blue and red blurs (or lack of such if it’s realD 3D). The interesting thing is that 3D has been done before. Before you say or even think it, no it was not in the 1990s. Or in the 80s. We’re talking way back in the day. And by way back in the day, I mean the days when pants were worn up to the chest, top hats were still “in”, and flappers were beginning to act like women deserved to drive automobiles. Yes, you guessed it, the 1920s. If you thought 3D was old before, now you have an actual date. The movie was called “The Power of Love”. It was the first movie to actually require the funky glasses we use now-a-days, but with a 1920s flare. Too bad the movie wasn’t powerful enough to remain in theaters. A couple of more movies came out in the 20s that were also 3D, but the idea slowly died and then revived a little in the 30s and died again because the Japanese had to bomb the United States and distract people from the theater screens.

Thank goodness that the 50s came around, though! In that time, there was a rebirth of the 3D with the first color feature to not include any black people that were not dying or railroad workers: “Bwana Devil”. After it, many more movies came out that were also in 3D, but, quite frankly, they all sucked. Maybe it was the acting. Or the 3D. Maybe it was the directing. Or the 3D. Maybe it was the 3D. Or the 3D. Not pointing any fingers, but whatever it was, 3D was attempted on many mediums including cartoons, but this golden age wasn’t to last very long. It died for a couple of years, but then it came back! In the 60s, they began using a single strip of film for the 3D—a marvel! This revival lasted until the early 80s. Again, it died. Do not fret, for a year later, there was a slight resurgence because IMAX thought it would be cool to see stars in 3D. A few movies a year were made between that time and the early 2000s. Here, we arrive to the present day-ish. It began in 2003 with He of the Inflated Ego, James Cameron. No one remembers this, but I know that what I remember was “Spy Kids 3D: Game Over”. After that, movies in 3D came out frequently, leading to the mass media driven shift to 3D that failed miserably following “Avatar”. For some reason, people thought that 3D was the end of 2D cinema as we knew it. In reality, all that it showed was that if people throw away enough money on fancy cameras that cost more than your left leg, you can make a mediocre movie and purposefully make an actor or object reach for the camera in the hope that you will attain some “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd. If I’m going to give up my pinky finger for a ticket to a 3D movie, I better get plugged into some virtual world. I don’t want to have something pop out and then have half of it disappear because of the camera angle. Besides...I can’t stand the people that put the glasses on and look at themselves and say “wow...3D.” It’s what we call reality, my friend...unless you live on a piece of paper.

Yes, I did make this graph myself. Click to enlarge.

Apart from the fact that it has been around for as long as movies in general and isn’t modern in any specific way, they also charge an exuberant amount for the tickets. If I have to pay around 10 dollars for a ticket (15-ish if you are watching it in IMAX), I better be getting a free 5 course meal and a massage from a Taiwanese princess (or prostitute...even though they are probably the same thing). It’s absolutely insane to charge such a crazy amount of money for a ticket where the movie is blurry and you need special glasses to watch it! If you think about it, you are paying around 3 dollars (or 5 in IMAX) for some glasses that you have to give back. And if you are in one of those movie theaters where you don’t have to give it back, don’t count yourself so lucky. You can’t say that you are spending those 3 dollars wisely since, if you take all the glasses, you won’t be able to use them again (since they don’t work on 3D televisions) until you go to the movies again, where you will get another pair. Sooner or later, either you will end up with a pile of glasses, or you will deny the glasses at the door to reuse your old ones and be out 3 dollars every time. You lose either way. You are the biggest loser...except you are still a fat lard.

3D is now moving from the big screen to where it had never been before: your television. With companies like Sony and Panasonic (among others) deciding to cash in on the 3D crazy, a new type of television has arisen—3DTV. In my opinion this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. From the big screen to the small screen, now you can see all your movies in all their blurry beauty. What’s more, not only do you have to spend hundreds of extra dollars on the 3DTV as opposed to a normal one, but you also have to hand over a piece of your soul to get extra 3D glasses (since each company makes their own for their products only). By buying the whole set, you will spend yourself into debt just to be disappointed because of the quality. But hey, at least you people that bought it will be content as you watch ESPN 3D and sob because you just sold your house to pay for the television.

Example of what you will look like after you buy all the wonderful accessories.

As I said in the beginning, though, I will now offer hope as I close the blog. Businesses and companies have been pouring money into this 3D movement and, as far as I can see, only James Cameron has come out winning. When everyone decided to jump on the 3D bandwagon, postproduction 3D conversion came into being. Movies were turned into 3D just to make an extra buck. It failed. Here comes the good news. Not only are 3DTV’s not making much money, but ESPN3D isn’t making any money at all! They are waiting to see what will happen next year, but as of now, it isn’t making anything. Also, the recent movies in 3D are making less and less money each year. Soon, it won’t be commercially viable to make bad movies into bad 3D movies. Probably one of the greatest days this year was when Warner Bros announced that “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I” would no longer be made in 3D. Harry Potter in 3D sounded like nails on a chalkboard to many and, honestly, it takes a lot for a company to say, “Hey, you know what I just realized? If we make this movie into 3D, it will end up being a steaming pile of triceratops poo.” But, against all odds, this is what was done with Harry Potter. Hopefully, Hollywood will follow suit with denying 3D in cinema quickly. Even if they don’t, though, I wouldn’t give the 3D rollercoaster till more than 2015 before it plummets again. Until then, though, we have a barrage of new movies in 3D that will coat the movie screens with processed fecal matter and ugly glasses.