Via the BBC I see this delightful piece about which films should be made into 3D. James Cameron’s thesis is that movies should either be filmed in 3D or only classic movies should be converted. But newer movies which just missed out on the 3D band wagon shouldn’t. In particular this is directed at Harry Potter 7 which must be going through a particularly long and arduous post filming phase to have missed out on the popularity of 3D and requires this retro fitting.
3D film are an experience I’ve tried a number of times. Ultimately it’s one I’ve given up on – 3D just isn’t that exciting. It makes the films look darker and makes the cinema tickets more expensive. My final realisation came from Mark Kermode who elegantly argues that Toy Story 3 is the best 3D film he has seen and there I have to agree with him. However, he goes on to talk about how Toy Story 3 is the best because he forgot it was in 3D. He’s absolutely right. Toy Story 3 worked because it complimented the film rather than shouting “I’m in 3D, poking out the screen at you!” Quite simply, if 3D films works best when they’re not even noticeable – they aren’t worth it.
Since retro fitted 3D films are not subtle in any way, we can agree they should be for the scrap heap. I don’t think the fault lies simply with rushing for release date either. It’s a limitation of the technology that what wasn’t originally 3D can’t be refilmed in a convincing manner. Animated films like Up! are a different matter, since they can be “reshot” with the original footage at a different angle. Making a case that only brilliant classic films, well loved in their time, should be made into 3D hits a sore point with me. I’d love to see some of these classics in the cinema. But in the way they were originally intended not in a butchered shoddily done 3D. If anything these are precisely the films we should save from 3D. Clash of the Titans you can have, but ET is ours!
Recently I went to see The Bridge on the River Kwai at the Odeon West End. It had been digitalised. This is a process where they cleaned the film, restored it to it’s original ratio, restored the credit listing of the black listed screenplay writers and then saved to a digital format. Never again will the film get dirty – it’ll be like that, forever. I hadn’t actually seen the film before and save for some of the company in the cinema it was absolutely brilliant. Slightly longer than my usual taste in films it looked fantastic, had superb acting and an ending which I’ve seen spoofed a 100 times but which still surprised me! Instead of wasting time 3D-converting classics they should digitalize them and then play them again at the cinemas. That I’d pay to see!