Why 3D is rubbish

Last updated 10:26 05/11/2012

I've had a bit of a crap Sunday, so what you unfortunate readers are going to get today is a whinge that only a ginger-haired pom like myself can muster.

In fact, on sitting down to create this tantrum in words (wordtrum?), I have two choices of subject matter - two petty things that have annoyed me about movies in recent days that feel about ripe for a whinge. One will be selected, while the other will be tucked in my whinge pocket for a rainy day.

Right, deep breath everybody, let's go.

Why is it that 3D movies make big things look like itty bitty tiny models?

I blogged a few months back about how 3D is a fading novelty. It's a pointless distraction that pulls you out of the gloriously immersive cinematic experience.

I've sort of made my mind up about 3D by now and moved on - as have most people, in my opinion - but still the movies come. The trailers in front of the last film I saw informed me of coming 3D attractions like The Hobbit and an absurd action movie starring Hansel and Gretel, of all people. It was called Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. To which the only rational response is: "Oh, feck off."

It feels as though this pointless format is being foisted on us.

I've seen two 3D movies recently, only because I didn't have the choice to see them in 2D. One was Dredd, which, as I've blogged before, was a valiant take on a tough anti-hero to capture on film. But one thing bothered me. The huge and beautifully realised shots of Judge Dredd's dystopian future setting, Mega City One, looked like tiny models through the 3D glasses. It was a beautiful cinematic rendering of the Dredd universe, but the 3D ruined everthing by making it look like miniature cottages arrayed around a model train set. The majesty and grandeur of these city-sized housing blocks was utterly diminished.

I went to see the second 3D film this afternoon, which may account for my rather foul mood. It was a film I will have the pleasure of reviewing in The Press newspaper next week. It's an Australian shark movie called Bait, and boy did it suck. This is not giving anything away here, but there is a sequence where a giant tsunami washes away an Australian coastal city. In 3D, the giant wave swallowing up apartment blocks looked like a spilt cup of coffee knocking over a matchbox.

I'm not the only one to notice this. Guillermo del Toro, who is a cinematic genius, worried that his giant monsters and robots movie, Pacific Rim, would be ruined by the miniaturising effect of 3D.

"I didn't want to make the movie 3D because when you have things that big, the thing that happens naturally is you're looking at two buildings at 300 feet," he said.

"They're so big that you barely notice anything no matter how fast you're moving, so to force the 3D effect on robots and monsters that are supposed to be that high, you're making them miniaturised, you're making them human-scale.''

These statements were later suspiciously recanted by del Toro, but the concern remains.

The 3D effect takes away so much from the cinematic experience and returns so little. You are offered the fairground novelty of the illusion of depth, but robbed of the hypnotic beauty that has served film so well for more than a century.

So, there you go, not the most original whinge in the world - 3D films are too dark, too expensive, miniaturise everything and spoil the very thing that makes going to the movies great.

What I suggest we do is ignore 3D and hope it will just go away. Agreed?

But, what do you think of 3D movies? Have you noticed the miniaturisation effect? Do you think 3D is a fading novelty? Do you think it will go away soon once audiences tire of its crapulence? Let me know.

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