“Don’t be such a Square!” or should that be cube…

First blog post I have done in a while, I’ll try and make it a little bit different.

There’s been a story recently revolving around where the Star Wars franchise is heading and what is to be done with it. If you pay attention to news of the film industry a lot like I do then you’ll have heard that they have secured a director for the new Star Wars in the form of J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Cloverfield etc.). I have no doubts about Abrams being director, I loved what he has done to Star Trek and I think he could work his magic and really do something great with the franchise, and show audiences that not all modern Star Wars films are rubbish. Yes that was an option. No I won’t elaborate. For the time being it’ll suffice to say I think the older Star Wars films were master pieces, the new ones (prequels) were a big let down. Enough said. For now.

Anyway the latest news was whether or not the other Star Wars films were going to be re-released in 3D, which thankfully they’ve confirmed won’t be happening (much to our favour) but it did have me thinking about what is so appealing about 3D. Now I’ve only seen two films in 3D; Avatar and Toy Story 3. Avatar wasn’t as good as everybody made it out to be and Toy Story 3 was an absolutely amazing work of art, but in Toy Story’s case it wasn’t because of the 3D. I enjoyed Toy Story 3 because of the messages it had behind it and because of the sheer entertainment value it has. Avatar was in 3D but it didn’t make me enjoy the film any more than if it were 2D. The idea of 3D is to make you feel more involved with the film so you have a better connection with it, which was absolutely not the case. If anything it made more withdrawn from the film, I was distracted, I felt dizzy, it was not an enjoyable film experience. So why then, did I have to pay near enough double the usual admission fee? Food for thought.

And thanks to craze from Avatar the idea of 3D has picked up massively in two different ways; films being made specifically for 3D, and films being re-released in 3D. Both of which I feel very strongly about.

The first is the idea of films being made specifically for 3D, which makes me angry because it shows how far our expectations for modern films have declined. It’s not only encouraging film makers to make awful actions films with lots of explosions, wooden acting and no substance, it’s allowing them to make such films with the knowledge secured that it will make money because people will still pay to see them. A specific example I can give is Piranha 3DD (yes double D) for which I saw the trailer and a couple of reviews, it appears to be as terrible as the title suggests and yet it still took money. How? People should have seen the title and avoided it like the plague, instead of risking it and sitting through such rubbish. It just goes to show what film makers will do nowadays to get money, and it shows what we really do with 3D. Some film makers need to take advice off of Christopher Nolan, he’s made some of the best films of our generation such as Inception and The Dark Knight Rises. Were they in 3D? No, of course they weren’t, Christopher Nolan proved that you can make a big and bold film that is a huge success without it being in 3D and he has my up most respect.

On a side note, in the news towards the end of last year Skyfall made it is the highest earning film at the British Box Office of all time. It beat the combined total of Avatar in 2D and 3D. I thought this was brilliant, not only because it was a Bond film, but because it proved yet again you can make an amazing film that is entertaining and with depth without being 3D. Complete and utter genius.

The second is the one that really gets on my nerves, taking a film that was perfectly alright in the first place and re-releasing it in 3D. Some examples? Lion King, Titanic and the latest one Monsters Inc. Titanic I’m not too fussed about, I can appreciate that it’s a very well made film and James Cameron did a stunning job with it, it’s just not my cup of tea and we all know how James Cameron feels about 3D. The one that really annoyed me to the point of me swearing at the cinema website when I saw it; Lion King 3D. I know some of you will be questioning how I can be so passionate over a film. Easily. The Lion King is one of my favourite films, it is a big part of my childhood and I think it is beautiful and a complete master piece. So to see it fitted to 3D just to squeeze money out of cinema audiences is near enough a crime for me. They attempted to reel us in to something we already loved and cherished in the first place. If a youngster who missed out on the Lion King first time around wants to see it they should do what I did; dig out the VHS.

It’s only going to get worse from here, we’ve already seen the release and rising interest in 3D televisions. Which is a completely ludicrous idea that is aimed at the people stupid enough to buy them. Honestly now what is the appeal of owning a 3D television? Who is so bored with their lives that the only way to feel satisfied is to have everyday television like The News at 10 or Countdown in their living room with them? The idea of Saturday Kitchen is that it’s in the studio, not in your actual kitchen. It’s just a way of squeezing money out of the public for an experience that is scarcely worth it. It is like having the choice to buy a regular car, or pay extra to have the exact same car but with a fifth wheel fitted. You don’t need the fifth wheel, so why would you pay extra for it? To anyone that feels like they need a 3D television to feel entertained or satisfied I have one piece of advice: switch off the box and read a bloody good book!

I’ll leave you with a quote from Mark Kermode, the famous film critic who feels just as strongly about 3D as I do. In his round up of 2011’s worst films, Lion King 3D made it as number ten for many reasons and I love the quote because of how spot on it is and it’s raw honesty. Feel free to leave comments about what you make of 3D, I’d love to read what others have to say. Until the next time all I can say is au revoir, and choose carefully the next time you visit the big screen.

“Did it need to be in 3D? Did the circle of life need to become the sphere of life? No, we didn’t need to be drawn in to those wonderful landscapes, we were drawn in already” – Mark Kermode, 2011.