It’s been eight years since the digital 3D “Revolution” hit, with the little known and equally forgotten Scar 3D (2007) having the honour of being one of the first digital 3D films, along with Disney’s Meet The Robinsons (2007), to be released. IMAX had dominated a limited revival for some time before that with one of the most notable releases and certainly for me, as it was the my first 3D film to be seen at the cinema, was James Cameron’s Ghost Of The Abyss (2003), a documentary “follow up” to his hit 1997 epic, Titanic (1997).
But this was analogue 3D, which in simple terms, means that there were two IMAX 70mm projectors running in tandem, synchronizing the images as they hit the massive screen. But with the rise of Real D 3D, along with IMAX bursting into the mainstream thanks to the corporations move from 70mm film to digital, kind of defeating the purpose but, anyway, 3D became the latest in a long line of pop culture bubbles, but like all bubbles, it needs to burst eventually and it pretty much just has.
3-D had been around since 1915, yes that is true, though the most famous eras are the 1950’s with movies such as House Of Wax (1953), Dial M For Murder (1954) and Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954) and the 1980’s, where Jaws 3D (1983) springs to mind!
But at least the 1950’s took a real stab at it, with Dial M For Murder making up part the Hitchcock legacy and Creature From The Black Lagoon being considered as a classic in its own right, but the 1980’s didn’t quite make it. But now, with the digital bubble trying to push the format into our lives with everything from Cinema, TV and even games consoles such a the Nintendo 3DS, 3D has triumphed a much as it has fallen.
Avatar (2009) was the game changer, a massive box office success and in no small part due to the must see nature of the 3D and this would lead to almost all the major blockbusters adopting the format with variable success. My first bad experience of 3D was just a few months later with Clash Of The Titans (2010), a post converted 3D movie which was bad enough in 2D but the 3D was a total disaster.
But then we have movies such as Martin Scorsese’s Hugo (2011), a masterpiece of 3D photography, an exercise in restraint and subtly. Pixar’s 3D is the same, creating beautifully layered images, rather than out of the screen 3D. Tron Legacy (2010) tried to take it to more immersive level by paying homage to the principles used in The Wizard Of Oz (1939), with the classic film beginning in Black & White and bursting to glorious Technicolor when we arrive the Land of Oz. In this case, Director Joseph Kosinski’s Tron sequel begins his film in 2D and opens up in to 3D when we arrive in the CGI world of the computer.
But talking about The Wizard Of Oz, this is one of so many classics which have been “Upgraded” to 3D, joining films such as The Lion King (1994), Titanic (1997) and the all but buried Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999/2011). This is a cynical attempt to make money, not much different than posting junk all over a Facebook in order to get hits or colorising old films, as was controversially done with movies such as The Night Of The Living Dead and It’s A Wonderful Life (1946).
Having said that, the worse example of this are conversions of i,Robot (2004) and Jumper (2007), both converted solely for Blu-ray 3D, neither receiving a theatrical 3D release and both being, well rubbish for want of a better word. Well, maybe that is a bit harsh, as they are watchable but in no way worthy of this kind of treatment unless the studio thinks that by upgrading these films that they can try to squeeze a few more Cents of them. And let’s face it, with these two who can blame them?
So, after eight years of argument of over headaches, expensive equipment, inflated cinema tickets and rubbish post conversions of major blockbusters, the audiences seems to have had enough. 2D is coming back. But the truth behind 3D is self-evident…
CHECK BACK TOMORROW FOR THE “THE TRUTH BEHIND 3D”