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Coming Soon in 3-D: Everything, Whether It’s Good or Not

March 11, 2010

With the massive success of James Cameron’s Avatar, we as a technological society find ourselves at an interesting point in the history of entertainment. What Cameron has accomplished, for all intents and purposes, should herald a new horizon breached by the film industry that ideally should bring us closer to a beautiful dream of movies in holograms or projected right into your eyeballs. From here on out, three-dimensional filmmaking should grow by leaps and bounds, becoming more and more beautiful, growing into a revolution of how we watch films.

I am sorry to report to you that it likely will not work that way.

I don’t mean to crush your hopes and dreams. Maybe someday geek fanboys everywhere will get their in-your-face, jiggling Tomb Raider 3-D (because in the future, you’re going to see a lot of sequels combining the number three and the term 3-D), and perhaps one day the Twilight sequels-to-come will make young ladies and creepy 45 year-old ladies swoon together in ecstasy as Edward seems to be closer to them than ever. And it will appear that Robert Pattinson’s hair is jutting out in eighty-five intrusive directions right into your face.

Hang onto those dreams, for one day they may come true for you. Unfortunately, everyone, the truth of the matter is that what James Cameron did was light a fire of the magic of three-dimensional films that cannot possibly be kept burning, because there are barely any other directors in existence who have the massive bank vault of cash at their disposal that Cameron uses to fund his movie magic. Instead, what you’re going to see are a growing trend in “3-D” movies that bears a remarkable similarity to the fad of gee-whiz 3-D gimmickry seen in the 1950’s, all flash and no substance.

Better yet, you’re going to have the option of seeing 3-D versions of movies that weren’t made in 3-D to begin with. This is already happening, and we saw it often in 2009, from Final Destination to Monsters Versus Aliens to My Bloody Valentine to Space Chimps (because let’s face it, if you’re going to spend money to see Space Chimps, you are goddamn well going to spend the extra four dollars to see that masterpiece in 3-D). This trick, turning “regular” movies into “3-D” movies is going to increasingly hoodwink an unsuspecting public.

Basically, 3-D has gotten so good that it has no option at this point to get worse. This doesn’t mean that 3-D won’t get better at some point, because it will. But it’s not going to happen soon. The next big 3-D film you’ll see is the Steven Spielberg/Peter Jackson action film  The Adventures of Tintin, which is being filmed in 3-D and has the benefit of two directors who, like James Cameron, have more money than they even know how to spend. Until then, and even for a few years afterward, we’ll all be assaulted by a stream of awful, digitally-animated children’s movies like The Land Before Time 11 and Ferngully 5: Race for the Rainforest, all in rudimentary 3-D that only looks mildly impressive compared to what a true auteur could create. And you will hear, at every turn, that the movie you’re looking forward to will also be in 3-D, and you should go see it in 3-D! And you’ll pay the extra four or five dollars because the plate Will Smith is holding will look just slightly like it’s jutting out of the screen. But it won’t be what it can be.

Don’t believe me? Check out the slate of 3-D movies actually projected to come out in the next two years:

Step Up 3D (a sequel to a movie about underground dance competitions — clearly the way it was meant to be seen).

Friday the Thirteenth Part 2 in 3D (even though Friday the Thirteenth Part 3 was already made in 3-D…in 1982).

The Legend of Spyro (yes, the same Spyro who was invented to be a brand mascot for the original Playstation).

Shady Talez (An Eminem-starring horror film, because Snoop’s Tales from the Hood really took off).

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (because apparently Hollywood thinks we want to watch this movie every day)

Smurfs 3D (What would Peyo do?)

Street Dance 3D (Apparently early predictions for Step Up 3D are strong)

Oh yeah. This 3-D fad’s gonna be great. Every movie is going to be exactly like Avatar. Dancers will be poppin’ and lockin’ all up in our grills, the  the three-apple high Smurfs will be right up on our shoulders, and Jason Voorhees will be sticking a machete into our face (or perhaps at least low-budgetly, slightly to the left of the screen).

This will be the 3-D revolution, friends, but sadly not the one we’ve been waiting for. You might as well just take your cash, roll it up, and poke yourself in the face a few times. That way, at least you’ll get some sort of amazing ocular trickery out of your hard-earned money before you toss it away on the upcoming and unavoidable spate of multi-dimensional awfulness.

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