The in-your-face intensity of 3-D movies has caught America, and the rest of the world, by their eyes and their pockets.
The past few years have seen a huge increase in major 3-D movies being distributed and in the revenue they bring in. With James Cameron’s “Avatar” breaking the record for highest grossing film of all time, it’s clear that 3-D has made its mark on film culture and that it’s here to stay.
The idea of a 3-D cinematic experience has actually been around since 1890, but due to its complicated filming technique, it never took off. Since then, Hollywood has seen two eras of 3-D cinema, the first being the “Golden Era,” which took place between 1953 and 1955.
Seton Hall communication professor Christopher Sharrett said the reason for the appearance of 3-D movies in the 1950s was that “film faced a new competitor – television.”
This “Golden Era” was short lived, and, although a few 3-D movies were released afterwards, 3-D wouldn’t see its return into the public eye in force until 1985. The next era of 3-D cinema, known as the “Rebirth of 3-D,” occurred between 1985 and 2003. This era saw the release of over 20 movies in 3-D format due to the power of IMAX Theatres, Disney Theme Parks and Universal Studios use of 3-D to draw crowds.
From 2003 to the present day, 3-D is at its peak and is no longer restricted to movies. A whole range of different media devices have started to incorporate 3-D technology. Samsung, as of this past February, already has a 3-D ready TV on the market but the competition isn’t far behind: Toshiba, Sony, Panasonic and LG all have plans to sell 3-D capable television sets.
3-D Blu-ray players and DirecTV 3-D broadcasts are in the works as well. Sony has also announced, along with its 3-D TV sets, they will be introducing 3-D capable PlayStation 3 games. It seems inevitable that 3-D technology would move from the theater to the home in the form of television sets and video games.
“If they can do it, I see no reason why they shouldn’t,” junior Rob Granzen said.
Despite all the popularity and recent craze over 3-D movies, not everyone is a fan. There have been many complaints and criticisms about 3-D technology and Hollywood’s usage of it.
“Since the theatrical experience itself is threatened in the age of on-demand video, it’s no surprise that 3-D television has arrived,” Sharrett said. “But none of this silliness is about creating a rich, rewarding cinema.”
According to Hollywoodnews.com, in their article about Clash of the Titans use of 3-D, the film industry has been accused of using 3-D technology as a cheap gimmick just to increase sales and not to enhance the viewers’ experience. Some cite that the issue is making a movie 3-D without filming it in 3-D, but converting it from 2-D into 3-D after filming the movie.
A movie that is converted to 3-D from 2-D by the studio in post-production may not have been shot by the director with consideration for 3-D. Such was the case with the recent major 3-D motion picture “Clash of The Titans” when director Louis Leterrier said in an interview that it was not his intention or decision to do it in 3-D.
Others just flat out don’t like the effect.
“I saw ‘Alice In Wonderland’ in 3-D and it was completely unnecessary,” freshman Eric Ramirez said. “All it did was make me nauseous.”
With over 40 movies slated for release in 3-D over the next two years, the 3-D phenomenon looks to have gained a foothold in the movie business and a means to stay.
Ronan O’Brien can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.