I can still remember my first encounter with the realm of 3D film. Disneyland, 1998: “Honey I Shrunk the Audience”. I left the theatre awestruck. However, I was 8 years old – my view of what makes a good film has changed a little since then. Looking back at what I remember of the film, the most appropriate word to describe it would be “gimmicky”. The events revolved entirely around projecting stuff into the audience, so without the 3D effects the film would’ve been vacant and unsatisfying.

A fact which rings true for all the 3D films I’ve seen. The producers become entirely focused on showing off the full extent of their 3D capabilities and forget to pay any attention to any other aspects of the film. Like the plot, for example.

Still, 3D films are back in fashion now and this time they’re serious (…ish). Proper feature-lengthers are being produced in “wondrous” 3D vision. To date however, I have seen none of these 3D films. Why? Simple – I’m not that fussed and it costs more. Money I would rather spend on a pint or some over-priced popcorn. I saw Up and enjoyed it immensely. I’m not convinced that had I shelled out for the 3D version my enjoyment would’ve been significantly greater.

So far all these 3D films have been fairly genre restricted – animations and the odd no-brainer horror film. But, like a man in a suit turning up to a children’s tea party, “Avatar” is approaching. Promising to “take us to a world beyond imagination in the most spectacular 3D film yet”, is this going be the next milestone in cinematic history? Will it finally release 3D films from the “gimmick” tag and give them that serious edge they’re gagging for. Perhaps. We’ll have to wait and see…

If not maybe they’ll bring back smell-o-vision.

Stephen Lovejoy

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