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Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Decline of Cinema: Part I -- 3D

Since I'm so pressed for time these days, what with my summer job heating up and my need to see enough of my friends before they head back to school, I didn't have enough time to actually write this review in 3D. But fret not, with the power of technology on my side, I will be able to convert my words into shockingly disappointing 3 dimensions- the only thing is... its going to cost an extra 5 dollars to read this post. Sorry (I'm not sorry).

3D is the newest trend in Hollywood these days, replacing both botox and Zach Galifianakis' hot streak. But the jury is already out on how these big, expensive, 3D films will affect cinema: negatively.

Really the effects driven films that we see today are a result of two main forces: technology and piracy (or really people's adaptation to technology). Both of these factors contribute mightily into what gets put on screen and how people will react to it.

Remind me again why I'm watching Jonas Brothers: A 3D concert experience?
With each passing day, month, year, technology improves and things that were once cutting edge are now garbage. Literally. Go Green! But this new technology offers, to those of us who are lucky enough to enjoy it, fantastically advanced sense capabilities: seeing, hearing, and even smelling (they are working on smell-o-vision... look it up!) to the point where going to the movies has become more of an experience than a social gathering spot. For the average person, and by no means do I mean the devoted cinema goer, what is the point of spending 10 dollars a month for AMC (the television network) just to watch Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Killing, or Walking Dead- shows that NO ONE watches but are quality- when they could spend their hard earned cash on 15 dollar tickets to see, in no particular order, Cats and Dogs: the Revenge of Kitty Galore, Step Up 3D, Legend of the Guardians, Yogi Bear, Sucker Punch, Priest... you get the picture. Right?

It is one thing to say that these movies are bad (which they are), but it is a different thing entirely to say that 3D adds little to nothing to a film. I saw Toy Story 3 last summer, in 3D, and I just felt dirty leaving the theater knowing that nothing about the film was special because it was in 3D. I loved the film, it made me cry and hurt so good at the same time, but it ripped me off. Of 3D films that I can remember, only a select few were actually WORTH it. Avatar for one: say what you want about the film but it was awesome seeing it like that, it definitely made it better. Another classic had to be Spy Kids 3... wait, no, that can't be right.

Hollywood has turned into a 5 year old: simply doing things because they can and not necessarily because they are good ideas. I ask any executive at Legendary Pictures or Warner Brothers to look at me with a straight face and tell me that it was in the best interest of the public for Clash of the Titans (2010) to be converted into 3D. I say it can't be done... but the challenge is out there. I guess it figures into the money side of it (shame on me for taking THIS long to bring it up) and how only movies with explosions, cliched plots, and even cheesey one-liners, make any money- not only make money... but open big! You (my reader) can shake your head all you want at that last sentence but the sad part is, well, that it's true. Even if you don't want to believe it.

Obviously with the inflated ticket prices it had to be the case- 3D's make more money. 5 years ago you might say that making money off a behemoth, like Green Lantern let's say, was quite like fishing with dynamite, in that it was so successful ALL the time.

Like most red-blooded Americans, I too enjoy watching previews for movies before I actually watch the movie I paid to see. Something about it is just so enjoyable. The best part is that different movies have different previews- and different previews mean's more excitement. DVD's are the same, except those previews are like a time machine back to whatever year the movie came out. I watched Dodgeball recently and laughed so hard when the preview for Pauley Shore is Dead came on. It's funny because his career died and that was his last hope, saved forever in my DVD collection. But, as with all DVD's, there is a preview that everyone has come to know (and skip ASAP) as soon as it comes on. The one about piracy, right? It's different depending on how old the film is, but the message is always the same: Privacy is stealing- you wouldn't steal a car would ya?

But it is a real problem- people do it. And they do it often. It drains money out of the Hollywood system and really ruins Independently financed films, and often the careers of their shephards. By a show of hands, who when to go and see Everything Must Go? Midnight in Paris? 13 Assassins? I can go on... The Tree of Life? The Trip? Beginners? Or Submarine? All critically acclaimed, next to none widely seen.

But the system can't be blamed here. In fact, Hollywood is doing everything they can to solve this problem- it just consists (or consisted) of running out special effects laden shit-shows (read: films) hoping that the audience would show just because the film looks so dadgumm awesome. Well, the results don't lie: it worked. Or at least it was working until people started to realize how bad the movies they were paying to see were. That's when Hollywood's version of the Great Depression set in. All these shitty films had been green-lighted but no one wanted to see them. They wanted to see something quality. Remember those Fantastic 4 movies? Me either...

It seems as if there has been a severe changing of the guard in Hollywood. Quality over spectacle, just as long as they are mixed. The summer season this year, a season usually reserved for bad films that somehow manage to take 15 dollars from your wallet, has been good. Above average probably, if only because Green Lantern and Hangover 2 stunk up the joint, but surprisingly quality nonetheless.

So, yes, 3D has done nothing good for our beloved movies thus far. And one can easily argue that 3D is a terrible trend in Hollywood (in that it adds little to nothing to the movie going experience), and that it pushes out other, smaller, talented individuals. But what it does do, and what it can do, is expand the possibilities of what film can be. It's a whole new world.

But until then I wait with bated breath for Green Lantern 2: The First Wasn't Good But We Made a Sequel Anyway in 3D and IMAX.

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