Friday, April 2, 2010


This weekend marks the release of "Clash Of The Titans" in 3D (And 2D). While it boasts an impressive cast list, and certainly a timeless storyline of ancient gods and goddesses, along with fantastical mythological creatures, there's an overriding issue that has cast a pall over the movie: it really wasn't meant to be in 3D.
The film was originally shot in standard 2D, then, wait for it, retrofitted to 3D in the hopes of raking in more dough from moviegoers. So, here's the deal, it was converted into a 3D movie at the last minute, following the success of, you guessed it, that money making machine known as "Avatar."
Now, "Avatar" is a completely different story. It was always meant to be in 3D, was shot specifically with those stereoscopic effects in mind, and meant to be released that way.
Unfortunately, the trend now is, if it isn't in 3D yet, let's do it after the fact. Personally, I think this is a mistake that will ultimately lead to lower film quality. Let's face it, not everything was made to be viewed in 3D. Thankfully, moviegoers will have an option to see these "conversions" in standard form.
Recently, "Alice In Wonderland" proved to be another 3D cash cow. But, again, the movie was not originally produced for 3D. Still, it made a ton of money. And that's obviously the key for studios. If it looks like 3D will pull in the crowds, then let's have more, please.
And that's exactly what you'll get. This year, there are more than a dozen movies scheduled to be released in the 3D format. Some, like "Toy Story 3," (which I'm really looking forward to) were shot for 3D. Others, like Ridley Scott's "Robin Hood," with Russell Crowe, were given the 3D treatment after production had already ended. Check out this article from The New York Times about the proliferation of 3D conversions. So, watch out--don't be fooled into thinking that every movie thrown at you with a nice "3D" marketing campaign is the real deal. And they definitely won't be marketed like this: "Come see the big blockbuster action movie converted to 3D in postproduction!" No. They'll be pushed at you just like a regular 3D movie. Clever, eh? Deceptive, methinks.
To be honest, I think despite the controversy, "Clash Of The Titans" will do well at the weekend box office. I think people will be curious, and that most of them will see it in the retrofitted 3D format. It's the "novelty effect." It's still up against that 3D juggernaut, "How To Train Your Dragon," though.
So, what's next for the 3D bandwagon? Television manufacturers have already released 3D TVs, and certain programming outlets, notably DirecTV, have said they'll begin providing 3D channels starting this summer.
In my opinion, this will go down as one of the biggest blunders in the history of home entertainment. People are just now turning loose of the cash for nice flatscreen LCD televisions. Why on earth would they want to spend money on an unproven electronic device with, for now, an extremely limited amount of programming??
We are, however, witnessing an important shift in the direction of home entertainment. And, even though we may scoff at the idea of 3D televisions in our living rooms, someday in the not too distant future, all of this will be pretty standard stuff. We'll be tuning into holograms for sports coverage, and immersing ourselves in the action of our favorite drama series or sitcom by "living the experience."
I have no doubt that will happen. The technology already exists. And you can bet somewhere in those research and development labs, manufacturers are hard at work to deliver this form of entertainment for your home.
So, while 3D TV may not immediately be a huge hit (even if it crashes and burns, it's still an important step), it will probably eventually take off--maybe not right away, though. I predict that we'll see it become more mainstream in around 5 years. That timeframe will also allow prices to drop, and manufacturers to develop competing technologies.
Kinda fun to think about what comes next, hm?

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