Finding Nemo 3-D, and Why 3-D Filmmaking Is Not the Future
Of course, indie film hasn't completely stayed away from 3-D, either. Two of the most successful indie releases in the last year and a half have been Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams and Wim Wenders Pina. Both have been heralded as some of the best use of 3-D ever -- adding information and definition to their works without distracting from the narrative journey of the films. Both are undoubtedly stunning works. Still, Wenders and Herzog are giant figures of independent film; the thought that many other 3-D films in the vein of their work might be forthcoming is hopeful at best.
We've lived this story before. 3-D arrives and makes a big splash. Audiences are delighted by the look of giant ants marching in front of their faces or explosions that seem to happen right inside the theater. But soon, the allure and novelty of the form passes, and the cost versus profit no longer warrants the effort. All those funny glasses get put back on the shelf, waiting for their next day in the sun. This year will see nearly 40 releases in 3-D, with both the number of films in the format and the overall revenue from it down considerably from previous years. I'm looking forward to a select few 3-D films (The Hobbit for one), but most of the time I choose to skip it and save the extra dollars for the overpriced popcorn at the Regal instead.
The plain truth about 3-D is this: It is mostly used to make up where a film's story falls short. Perhaps you won't notice that the dialogue and plot points are crummy if it looks like things are flying at your face for two hours. If that's the case, why not just use it for porn? I'm talking BangBus 3-D, people. I guarantee there's a huge audience who won't mind dishing out the $16 for that kind of, ahem, experience. But you might need to give them raincoats to go with the glasses, and you definitely won't want cute clownfish or Ellen Degeneres' voice anywhere within ear shot.
Kareem Tabsch is the co-founder and co-director of O Cinema.
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