Dear Hollywood movie directors,
As a lifelong fan of quality films, I am writing to respectfully request one small favor: Please, please stop with the 3D crap.
Yes, I know that Avatar made more wagonloads of money than most of you could even dream of. I know you think it made those wagonloads because it was in 3D. And I know you think you can cash in on the trend by making your films 3D, too.
But there’s something you seem to have forgotten: Avatar made wagonloads of money because it was a superlatively produced movie. James Cameron did not film a 2D movie and then make it into 3D in the editing room. He filmed a 3D movie from the outset, investing considerable amounts of money into making it look as clear, immersive and bright as it did. Avatar, for all of its storyboarding problems, was a beautiful viewing experience.
This crap you’re churning out in your shameless scramble to ride the cash cow is not beautiful. It’s not even watchable.
Last weekend, my wife and I took our kid to see Thor. We hated it. When the intermission came, we ripped off our 3D glasses with sighs of relief and rubbed our temples. The 3D was so bad that objects away from the center of the screen were frequently blurred, with multiple edges, giving viewers substantial headaches as our brains tried desperately to make some sense out of the distorted images. The whole theater murmured during intermission, not about how fun the film was, but about how we all had headaches. Trust me when I tell you that this is not what you want your viewers to remember about your film. Nor do you want their response, when the second half of the film starts up, to be “Oh shit, I’ve got to put these glasses back on again.”
The 3D process — even if the director had invested enough money to make it work properly — did not add much to the film. Instead, it made it look dark and murky, a common complaint about 3D. No up side and two major down sides — tell me again why you think this is such a great idea?
Oh, right, because you can charge more for the tickets. Well, here’s the result of our last 3D experience: we have agreed to avoid seeing any other 3D films unless James Cameron directs it. Our kid is old enough now to sit in a theater by himself, so the next time he wants to see a 3D movie, we’ll take him to the theater, buy him a ticket — and buy ourselves tickets to a decent 2D movie in the same complex. It will be a pleasure to walk into a film knowing that we won’t need to take a bottle of aspirin with us.