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Comment: Want to enjoy a 3D film? See it in 2D.


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Some things in life are just unnecessary. Jumpers for pet dogs. Warnings on milk cartons that the contents may contain dairy products. Wearing sunglasses indoors. And 3D films.

Now, I'm aware that there's a devoted audience who adore 3D films and who would love to have their wedding videos filmed in 'glorious' 3D. But I'm sorry to say that I'm not one of those people. 3D was, is, and always will be, a gimmick, pushed by studios not for artistic purposes, but to push profits and make up for the overall fall in UK cinema attendance. The effect adds little to films (even in the action/adventure genre) and, to be honest, is as boring to look at as a constantly-refreshed Facebook News Feed. I'm not saying that 3D should never be used but, in most cases, there is simply no need for it.

3D films are nothing new. Ever since the 1950s, audiences have been subjected to swords waggling in their faces and large lumps of space rock hurtling towards their bespectacled heads.

However, the craze soon died down until a resurgence of the technology in the early 1980s which saw the development of IMAX screens. But, once again, audiences seemed to lose interest and 3D receded into the depths of the projectionist's box.

And then came Avatar. There is little doubt that the fact that Avatar was in 3D aided its success and kick-started the new wave of 3D films which have been released in recent years. But since then, the novelty has worn off. Big time.

One of the most obvious problems with 3D films is the price. Not only do they carry a premium on ticket prices but, if it's your first 3D film or you've lost/forgotten your others, you have to buy a pair of glasses which, let's be honest, do nothing for your look. Furthermore, the rims of the glasses encroach on the screen and prevent you from being immersed in the film. What's wrong with good, old-fashioned 2D?

The glasses aside, my main beef with 3D is that it adds nothing artistically to a film. 3D all too often muddies the image and, by the nature of the technology, darkens the screen to such an extent that the 3D glasses should include a night-vision function.

Indeed, Star Trek's director J.J. Abrams noted that 'when you put the glasses on, everything gets dim'. Not the best advert for 3D. Some argue that in films such as The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, the use of 3D is justified and that it adds to the overall quality of the animation and immerses the viewer in the world which has been created. The one film which has succeeded in this is Martin Scorsese's Hugo, in which the 3D worked because it complemented the themes of the film. Hugo is about the magic, the mechanics and the technicalities of cinema and as you sit in the audience, looking like a member of a Where's Wally? convention, you become aware that the 3D is complementing these themes and so it is justifiably used.3D Glasses

The decision to call 3D the 'future' of cinema seems to have been made, not by directors, but by studio executives in boardrooms up and down Hollywood and has been pushed because it makes films harder to copy in the cinema. At the end of the day, 3D equates to money and, whilst profit is always the motivation behind films, it doesn't hurt to have a bit more artistic integrity than a wheelie bin.

Perhaps the most ironic thing about 3D is how it makes the visuals look flat, as if someone has come along, cut out a cardboard broomstick, a cardboard Daniel Radcliffe and a cardboard castle and stuck the whole thing together.

Add to this the loss of light and the fact that 3D necessitates a slower pace of cutting because of the rate at which the human brain has to process images which are totally unnatural, and you've got a medium which is totally redundant.

My problem is not the fact that 3D exists. It's the fact that it's used as an excuse to make more money from a film and, in most cases, is artistically redundant. In the future, I hope that the technology will develop to make the whole viewing experience much more pleasant and genuinely add value to film. But, in the meantime, 3D glasses are better used by students up and down the country for geek fancy dress.

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