Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Why I Hate 3D

by Max Jewell

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'You’re a Luddite’ is the response I most often receive when I expound my vitriolic disdain for all things three dimensional. ‘No doubt people thought colour was destroying traditional black and white cinema. You need to move with the times’ is another example of the litany I am subjected to courtesy of exponents of 3D cinema.

This argument is stupid for two reasons.

Firstly, unlike 3D, colour genuinely improves the cinematic experience. It makes the film genuinely immersive, it allows for some genuinely beautiful cinemagraphic moments. I defy anyone to say the concluding moments of Fight Club, with the juxtaposition of the blackness and the explosion, would have been better in black and white. With 30% colour loss and the inevitable headache, caused by the unbecoming glasses 3D requires, the only people who would attest to the virtue of 3D are masochists.

The second flaw in the aforementioned argument is that it assumes, somewhat arrogantly, that 3D is a modern innovation. The first 3D film screened to a paying audience was the 1922 film The Power of Love. Even the pioneering 1895 film L’Arrivee D'un Train (see below) was retrofitted into 3D in 1934 --- and thus totally bastardised. In fact, a largely unknown ‘stat’ is that the most profitable 3D film ever made is not, in fact, Avatar (which, incidentally, is trite) but instead, the 1964 R-rated, misogynist drivel The Stewardess’ (tagline: ‘These lovely ladies leap into your lap’). What fine pedigree for 3D.

The third problem is the incredibly irritating decision by various Hollywood moguls to retrofit everything into 3D. Take Titanic 3D for instance. For me, watching the film, again, in 3D wasn’t quite the enveloping experience exponents of 3D claim it is. In fact, I was praying the film become truly 'immersive', eviscerating the ‘fourth wall’, thus allowing me to drown alongside the passengers, to stop myself having to endure anymore of this wearisome nonsense.

What is the point of Titanic 3D?

Firstly, it wasn’t any good the first time: the storyline is utterly emetic, the ‘iconic’ shot of Jack and Rose on the bow of the ship entirely sterile. James Cameron insists that the camera perform great swoops at every opportunity. In fact, most of the shots in that scene are very poorly composed; it seems that Cameron simply pointed the camera in the rough direction of the action and hoped that the ‘power’ of the vapid script and the 3D would carry the film. Unfortunately, the script is dreadful so the viewer is left with a film composed of badly framed, swooping shots and a script racked with clichés. The second problem with Titanic 3D is, as the name suggests, 3D. Not a single scene was re-filmed for the re-release. Instead, James Cameron altered a single shot, the image of the night sky at the start, and retro-fitted the existing film into 3D. Not only does this mean that all the previous problems with the film still exist but that viewers now have to watch the film with 30% light loss and those annoying glasses.

Interestingly, only 19% of cinema goers ‘enjoy’ 3D according to a recent YouGov poll. Why, therefore, is Hollywood ignoring consumer demand when they are prepared to countenance demand in other areas (the decision to make numerous Transformers films was hardly due to their artistic merit). The answer is simple: You can’t pirate a 3D film.

Whilst I don’t, of course, condone theft, I really hope ‘Knock-Off Nigel’ is able to find a way of pirating 3D films so Hollywood gives up on the idea and reverts to making excellent, 2D, films instead.

L'Arrivee d'un Train (1895)

It is alleged that, when the Lumiere brothers first showed their short (50 second!) film L'Arrivee d'un Train, some audience members were so convinced that the approaching train was going to plunge out of the screen at them that they fled the cinema in panic. 


  1. Oh I hate 3D, I think it's just me that constantly needs to remove the glasses and rub off the steam but it really ruins my cinema-going experiences

  2. yeah, my eyes go all blurry when i take my glasses off!


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