Gimmick, trend, fad…new storytelling standard? It’s hard to tell exactly where the recent resurgence in 3D will fall. Is it anything more than what it’s been in the past, which is mere spectacle? In my opinion, no. Granted, people enjoy seeing things in new and exciting ways. In terms of storytelling, however, it’s hard to argue with anything more than the standards that were established in film by pioneers like D.W. Griffith, and also with the basics of storytelling that were set forth by the ancient Greeks.
Storytelling at its purest will do more to pull us in and grip us than any new (or in the case of 3D, “refined”) technological advancement ever can. If there’s anyone who truly enjoys the element of 3D in movies I won’t begrudge them of it, but for me, the extra dimension provided does not equal extra depth in the story or emotional connection to the audience.
Hollywood will relentlessly pursue more and more 3D films in hopes of recapturing the magic (and money) of ‘Avatar’ from 2009, but don’t let the overwhelming majority of 3D films lead you to believe that 3D is now the only way to see a movie. Not only will you still have to where those large, goofy over-sized glasses (and in my case, over my regular glasses) and pay a higher ticket price, but there’s a large chance that the 3D movie you’re seeing could give you a headache simply because we as humans can’t properly handle the forced perspective being shown in front of us. All of these things could prove more of a hindrance to your investment in the story rather than enhancing it.
Don’t just take my opinion on the matter, here’s a great article from prolific movie critic Roger Ebert and Academy-Award winning editor and sound designer Walter Murch, two legends in their field who make the case that we the audience may never quite be ready for the onslaught of 3D: