Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Roundtable Roundup: 3D Double Take?

A Look At What's Making News Today

3D movies have been with us for decades, but if you look at what's playing in cinemas these days, you might think 3D offerings are overtaking their 2D counterparts. You'd be right. And the 3D phenomenon doesn't end at the theater. YouTube and other sites are starting to offer 3D on the computer screen, tech companies are working on 3D phones, NASA's on board, and TVs and consumer cameras with 3D capability are available in droves.

But not everyone is sold on 3D. In fact, there's a growing sentiment that 3D will never really explode because our brains simply aren't wired for it.

Roger Ebert has an interesting piece on his blog, which springs from a letter he received from film editor Walter Murch. Murch, who won an Academy Award for "Apocalypse Now," lays out many of the technical shortcomings of 3D, and concludes with Ebert, "3D films remind the audience that they are in a certain "perspective" relationship to the image. It is almost a Brechtian trick. Whereas if the film story has really gripped an audience they are "in" the picture in a kind of dreamlike "spaceless" space. So a good story will give you more dimensionality than you can ever cope with. So: dark, small, stroby, headache inducing, alienating. And expensive. The question is: how long will it take people to realize and get fed up?"

Murch's argument against 3D is well reasoned, and Ebert goes so far as to say it "ends, as far as I am concerned, the discussion about 3D. It doesn't work with our brains and it never will." Read the whole piece here.

Studios aren't balking at the cost of producing or even converting films to 3D, but will it last?

The latest wave owes a lot to James Cameron's "Avatar." Here's what Roundtable Pictures' Lars Trodson had to say about "Avatar's" contribution to cinema.

-- Mike Gillis