Roger Ebert: “Ask yourself this question: Have you ever watched a 2-D movie and wished it were in 3-D? Remember that boulder rolling behind Indiana Jones in “Raiders of the Lost Ark?” Better in 3-D? No, it would have been worse. Would have been a tragedy. The 3-D process is like a zombie, a vampire, or a 17-year cicada: seemingly dead, but crawling out alive after a lapse of years. We need a wooden stake.”
Actually, yes. I’ve viewed many 2-D movies and wished they were in 3-D. Pretty much any Chinese kung fu and sword fighting movie comes to mind.
You can read Roger Ebert laying out his argument for why 3-D movies suck right here. He’s essentially saying that it goes contrary to our evolutionary instincts and that no movie can be better in 3-D than it is in 2-D. Of course, I wholeheartedly disagree with this reasoning. One easy criticsim of Ebert’s stance deals with his insistence that the 3-D effect is “distracting”. Well, isn’t it arguably just as distracting when you watch a film in 2-D that was originally designed for 3-D? Don’t all those yo-yo shots bouncing towards the camera hurt that very same film when not viewed within the context of their original intent? And if so, then how can you argue that the 2-D version of that same film is superior to the 3-D version?
Another Ebert quote: “The idea of a movie, even an animated one, is to convince us, halfway at least, that that we’re seeing on the screen is sort of really happening. Images leaping off the screen destroy that illusion.”
I don’t get this statement at all. It’s pretty silly on the face of it. Let’s put aside the fact that he hurts his own argument by using words and statements like “halfway at least” and “sort of” in his own statement, but I wonder how many people out there really believe that what they see on a movie screen is really happening? I understand the point of view that feels movies are rooted in a viewers understanding of real world events and actions and that that is how we access films as we view them. That’s a valid argument. But to say that 3-D “destroys the illusion” is no more valid than saying a CGI Transformer “destroys the illusion” of reality in a 2-D movie. I remember seeing the Terminator 3-D “ride” at Universal Theatres and was enthralled by it. It didn’t “destroy the illusion” of the film world for me just because I saw a T-800 shooting bullets that were whizzing by my head.
When 3-D is done effectively, it can be an incredible tool to enhance the movie experience. I don’t know about you guys, but when I instinctively duck my head when something flies towards my face, that means I’m pretty much inside that 3-D world. If Ebert is correct, that the technique “destroys the illusion” of reality, then why would I even react in that manner? Ebert’s article, to me at least, comes across as more “Grumpy old man who just doesn’t get it” than a well thought out argument. What do you guys think? Feel free to post your comments.
Oh, FYI to Roger Ebert in the event that he is reading this: I would have LOVED to see that boulder chasing Indy in 3-D!