Contemplating on the Future of 3D Cinema

Me modelling my first pair of RealD Glasses

I read an interesting article in today’s Toronto Star suggesting that fans are beginning to turn away from the latest 3D fad – the case in point being the poor 3D gross for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

The two biggest arguments against 3D right now are the premium price that theatres charge ($15.75 at Cineplex) and the fact that polarization greatly dims the action on the screen to point where it can get annoying.

I will start by saying that I have no argument about the price.  It is definitely ridiculous to charge service fees for 3D films, especially since more and more films are being released in the format.  I often try to find a way around paying the premium price.  For instance, when I saw Thor in UltraAVX 3D (which is an extra $2 BTW), I redeemed a gift card which I received for my birthday.  Similarly, when I saw Pirates 4 last week in IMAX 3D ($1 more than UltraAVX), I redeemed the free movie I earned through the Scene rewards program (in fact the bulk of my Scene redemptions are for IMAX films).

I’m both for and against the dimness argument.  I believe that some films looked better than others.  I thought that some of the early scenes in Thor were quite dim, however I thought that Pirates 4 looked okay (though the fact that I was watching the film on a six story screen probably helped).

Personally, my biggest issue with 3D films comes from whether or not they look 3D enough.  I think, after the success of Avatar, a lot of films were being made in 3D for 3D’s sake.  Like it or not, the best types of 3D films are the ones that are specifically made for 3D, complete with many gimmicky pop-out effects.  Take, Pirates 4 for instance; the best 3D effect in the entire film was when a sword pops out of a door right beside Jack Sparrow’s head.  Other than that, I didn’t really notice it too much.  I also still think that animated films are able to do 3D effects better than live action, since they are made entirely on computers.

James Cameron may have had some euphoric vision of 3D becoming more than a gimmick in cinema, however it doesn’t seem that the public is agreeing.  I have long considered myself to be a supporter of 3D films, but I do agree that it is starting to get out of hand, since the majority of the films I saw in the last month were in the format.

I think that I am going to start being a bit more picky choosy about which films I see in 3D, since I obviously can’t afford to keep paying those ridiculous premium prices.  I still might see films like Green Lantern and Transformers: Dark of the Moon in 3D, but I may see other films (like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 2) at more conventional cinemas.

And, of course, I will still see the odd gimmicky 3D horror film. 😛

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).