Depth Perception – An Unnecessary Evil

I can’t for the life of me see how 3D can be made a necessary part of a movie.

I understand special effects – allowing a film maker to make manifest impossible things is important.  From the models of Blade Runner and puppetry of Alien to the CG of Jurassic Park or The Matrix, the special effects are part of the storytelling process.  Without special effects would be no future city, no fearsome alien, no pissed of dinosaurs, and no…well, no Matrix.

But 3D, so far, doesn’t impact the ability to tell a story at all.  Does it matter if that one plant really seems closer to you than that other plant?  Or that shrapnel looks like it just flew over your head?  The mere fact that the recent spate of 3D movies have all also been shown in 2D clearly indicates that the 3D is a bonus, an extra – the characters, the story, plot, themes, tension, and emotion, none of these things are created by a special camera and a pair of funny glasses.

Would you have cared more about Guido in Life is Beautiful if he’d ridden that bike right at you before crashing into Dora?  Would the opening scene of Inglorius Basterds have been any more tense had that glass of milk been popping out of the screen?

So how on Earth (or Pandora) do you go about making depth perception important to a story?  Maybe a movie about a guy who loves the person who’s nearest to him and hates any person who’s a little farther away?

My biggest problem right now is the savagery with which 3D is being proliferated.  I don’t have any interest in spending extra for a movie or new TV, just so I can partake in what is so far nothing more than a gimmick.  And if that market grows large enough, the pressure to include 3D in works where it’s totally inapplicable will increase.  There’s already enough unnecessary special effects in movies without adding 3D to the mix.

I’ll hold out for eXistenZ, thank you very much.

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2 Responses to “Depth Perception – An Unnecessary Evil”

  1. Allan Hough Says:

    It’s like widescreen. You can tell the story without it. You can watch a panned-and-scanned Ghostbusters on an old TV and get the gist of Ghostbusters. But it’s soooo much better if you can see everything.

    • Aaron Says:

      That’s hardly fair. A movie is SHOT in widescreen, and has to be heavily edited to make it fit on a tv screen. Many shots require the widescreen to best tell the story, and splitting it to fit on your tv disrupts that. Nothing is lost between 3D and 2D: no tension, no connection between characters, no specific ambiance; nothing but wow factor. And all those things listed ARE lost in the transfer to tv.

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