The 3D Invasion

October 13, 2012 11:30 pm

Everyone loves television, that’s virtually a fact. For over fifty years this little box of technology has sat in people’s houses, entertaining and captivating audiences with an endlessly diverse array of shows. Television is a portal, offering an escape from everyday life into a fantasy world in which anything is possible. It has the power to make us laugh, cry or even dive behind the furniture in fear. And for years, television has managed all this without feeling the need to hurl visual effects out from the screen at us, whilst we sit there in a pair of silly glasses.

I’m referring of course to 3D, the technology that is apparently the future of not only cinema, but also television. This technology has been around for a while, but has been stuck drifting on the periphery of public awareness, never quite making it into mainstream cinema. But this began to change in the early 2000s, with an increasing number of new films being offered in 3D as well as the usual 2D. The extra dimension obviously made a difference, as these 3D screenings found a great deal of initial success, and the industry grew, with more and more films being offered up in this ‘exciting new format’.

One offshoot of this popularity was the ‘made for 3D movie’: the kind of film in which barely present plots and wooden characters are used simply as an excuse to throw things towards the audience (anything from a hungry dinosaur to Kelly Brook’s bikini-clad chest). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely opposed to these films; they can often be a lot of fun, especially when they don’t take themselves too seriously. And if they aren’t to your taste, you don’t have to watch them – you have a choice. The problem arises when that choice is taken away.

Cinemas are removing the choice for movies goers

This year seems to have seen the emergence of a new trend in film distribution, in which new, often eagerly awaited films have been released predominantly in 3D, with very few 2D screenings available. This seems to be the distributors’ way of ensuring that 3D remains successful, by making it difficult for fans to see a movie in 2D, even if that is their preference.

One shining example is the recent sci-fi release Dredd, the comic book adaptation about an enigmatic lawman with the power of judge, jury and executioner. With the film’s extensive marketing campaign, and the army of fans eager to see one of their favourite comic book heroes on the big screen, the film was set to draw huge audiences – and it did, becoming the UK’s number one film on its opening weekend. But for all its success, a lot of fans were left disappointed, unable to see the film in 2D. My local cinema didn’t have a single 2D screening. Whilst many cinema goers were obviously unconcerned by this, happy to watch the film in 3D, it left a number of would-be patrons unable to see a film they had been eagerly anticipating all summer.

The popularity of 3D has fallen in recent years, with the initial excitement of this new innovation wearing thin. 3D cinema has been criticised by actors, directors, critics and, most importantly, the public. Distributors may still believe that 3D is the future of cinema, and many members of the public may agree with them, but the only way to find out what people really want is to give them the choice.

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