Friday Night Knife Fights – Round 2 – 2D VS. 3D MOVIES
FRIDAY NIGHT KNIFE FIGHTS: 3D MOVIES VS. 2D MOVIES – Part 2
With Michael Arruda, L.L. Soares, and Dan Keohane
MA: Welcome to Part 2 of FRIDAY NIGHT KNIFE FIGHTS. Tonight, L.L. and I are once again joined by Dan Keohane, and we’re continuing our discussion of 3D MOVIES vs. 2D MOVIES, or as we’ve been calling it, the great 3D debate.
Dan, thanks again for joining us.
DK: No problem.
LS: It took you long enough. I was wondering when you were going to show up for one of these panels.
DK: I was waiting for the right topic to come along.
MA: So, last time, we were talking about AVATAR (2009) and we all agreed that of the recent 3D movies, AVATAR had the best 3D effects.
The 3D in AVATAR was so good, as I watched the movie, I definitely thought “This is how I want to see all movies, in 3D.” Which brings me to my next question, and the answer is probably AVATAR, but I’ll ask the question anyway: does anyone have a favorite recent 3D movie? And was it your favorite because of the 3D effects?
For me, my favorite is AVATAR, and it’s my favorite by far. I’d never seen anything like it on the big screen before. Depth, clarity, it was the next best thing to virtual reality. I felt in such close proximity with the characters that I felt I could reach out and touch them.
But, as much as I liked it, without the 3D effects, it wouldn’t have been as good a movie. I mean, the story it tells is average at best, and it certainly isn’t original. So, yeah, without the 3D effects, it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good.
LS: Yeah, AVATAR is obviously the best of the bunch.
DK: Great movie.
LS: It succeeded beyond its wildest dreams. Usually, 3D effects are just tacked on, and the story is the main thing (you hope). In AVATAR’s case, the story was kind of weak and I think that without its visual splendor, AVATAR would have actually been a worse movie. It’s one of the rare cases of a gimmick IMPROVING a movie.
MA: I agree.
LS: It’s the benchmark against which all future 3D movies will be compared. But it’s not a fair playing field. Few filmmakers will get the budget and the technical experts James Cameron has access to. So it’s a waste of time in most cases.
DK: AVATAR is a clear case where the 3D is so integral to the film that watching it in that way is a must. Not too many films have been this way. In fact, AVATAR is the only example I can think of right now—that was truly filmed in 3D and was a great movie.
LS: As for other 3D movies I liked, the best ones have been those that don’t take themselves too seriously and use 3D in fun ways. Like PIRANHA 3D (2010), which I thought was a boatload of fun, using 3D for both the monster fish and nude women swimming underwater. The 3D remake of MY BLOODY VALENTINE (2009) wasn’t too bad, either. Then you have something like RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE (2010), which is such a simplistic plot – the plot was never the point anyway – that 3D just helps a movie like that become more like the live-action video game it wants to be.
DK: The recent SANCTUM (2011) was also filmed in 3D, but the story itself, though not bad, wasn’t worth the premium we paid for the tickets.
I was happy that the producers of the final HARRY POTTER film, Part 1 at least, decided going 3D was just dumb. The plot, the story, was too important to somehow work in a yo-yo flying towards the screen to justify viewers hacking up a few extra bucks. Besides, everyone was going to pay to see the film, why make it any more expensive? Of course, PART 2 is going to be in 3D supposedly. That’s too bad.
MA: Speaking of bad, how about the worst 3D movie you’ve seen recently?
DK: If you remember my THE LAST AIRBENDER (2010) review, the 3D looked good in parts, but overall it didn’t help the movie, and I’d heard that the 2D version had much clearer, brighter imaging. The 3D seemed to actually darken the movie.
LS: The worst examples of 3D movies are the ones where the technology has been added after the fact. Movies like CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010). It results in a muddy, crappy looking 3D that doesn’t really work (except for one or two scenes then made specifically for 3D).
Another example of this is maybe the worst of the bunch, Wes Craven’s MY SOUL TO TAKE (2010). Which I didn’t realize was in 3D until AFTER I LEFT THE THEATER. It added absolutely nothing to the movie. And it just pissed me off to know I’d just spent $15 on a complete turd of a film.
MA: MY SOUL TO TAKE was so bad I’d forgotten it was in 3D!
For me, CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010) probably had the worst 3D effects. They were the most underwhelming, that’s for sure. Truth is, as most of the world knows by now, it was shot as a 2D movie, and the 3D effects were added later, and it shows.
So, would any of these 3D movies have been just as good in 2D? Would any have been better in 2D?
LS: Just about every 3D movie would be just as good – if not better – in 2D, except for AVATAR. Unless 3D is part of the movie’s DNA from beginning to end, it’s just a dumb gimmick. And a way to rob us out of more money for ticket prices!
As far back as HOUSE OF WAX (1953), if you cut out the scenes that were specifically made for 3D, it would not affect the movie at all.
DK: 2D movies are just as good. Like I said, unless the effects are so integral to the film that it would be less without it, almost every case I’ve seen could have stayed 2D with no issues. I mean, making THE KING’S SPEECH (2010) as 3D wouldn’t have made it any more brilliant. In fact it would have been stupid.
One exception, on a purely marketing basis: kids movies, especially CG-animated films, would do well as 3D for some time, mostly BECAUSE it’s a gimmicky fad, and children love gimmicky fads. Besides, CG-animated films look GREAT in 3D by virtue of how they’re “filmed.” it
MA: I would agree. I thought TOY STORY 3D (2010) looked terrific.
DK: The question is, which force is stronger, children’s insistence on seeing the next great 3D animated film, or parents’ reluctance to pay the price for tickets? I’m a parent, so I can tell you the answer. I’m not paying.
MA: I agree with both you guys, that these movies would have been just as good in 2D as they were in 3D, with the exception of AVATAR. In the case of CLASH OF THE TITANS, which was not that good of a movie to begin with, the lack of unimpressive 3D effects would actually have made the film better, so there’s a movie that probably would have been better in 2D.
All right, that about wraps things up for Part 2. Once more, it looks like 2D is faring better than 3D. We’ll conclude this debate next Friday, and see if perhaps 3D can make a comeback, but the way things are going, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
DK: 3D is just too expensive, and it doesn’t make a movie better.
LS: It’s a scam and a rip-off!
MA: Like I said, it’s not looking too good for 3D. That’s it for this week’s FRIDAY NIGHT KNIFE FIGHTS. See you next Friday. Good night everybody!
—END PART 2