3D or not 3D?
I don’t recall the first movie that I saw in 3-D back in the late 1950s or early 1960s. I am quite certain, however, that it was either a sci-fi flick or a monster movie. What I do recall is the white cardboard “glasses” that had one blue lens and one red lens. For whatever reason, 3-D didn’t stay around all that long.
Then came “Avatar,” in 2009, which can only be described as a sci-fi, special effects, 3-D masterpiece. Like “Star Wars” decades before it, “Avatar” set a whole new standard for special effects and, now, for the 3-D experience. Unfortunately, many subsequent 3-D movies have not lived up to the expectations — at least to my expectations.
Having seen the original “Tron,” which wowed audiences in 1982 and spawned a generation of action figures and video games, I looked with eagerness to “Tron: Legacy” in 2010. I could not have been more disappointed. The movie was dark and the 3-D images (which were not present during the first portion of the film) could not hold a candle to “Avatar.”
Some movies fared a bit better, such as “Thor,” and “Despicable Me,” but these still were not up to the expectations set by “Avatar.”
There were several more films that were true 3-D disappointments but the clincher was the latest manifestation of Captain Jack Sparrow’s adventures in “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” After struggling with the 3-D glasses and trying to make out details of the movie, I finally just took them off. A few moments later, I looked around the theater and discovered that, in addition to my wife, several patrons had removed their 3-D glasses as well.
When 3-D is done well, there is birthed a classic like “Avatar.” When it is not done so well, the result is a disappointing experience at the box office. After the latest “Pirates” movie, my wife and I discussed whether we would continue paying the extra money and acquiring the glasses to watch additional 3-D movies. After all, “Green Lantern,” “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2,” and a host of other movies are all on the horizon in 3-D, including some little gem entitled: “3-D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy.”
For now, anyway, we have decided to spend less money and see the coming attractions in 2-D, which is movie talk for “normal movies.” Unless, of course, we hear from reliable sources that a 3-D film that meets or exceeds “Avatar” standards has been released.
As I think back on it, the old 3-D movies with the cardboard red and blue glasses weren’t really all that good. They were — well, they were different, which is why they made such an impact, albeit short-lived.
I suspect that 3-D movies will get better with time and, if so, will remain in the mainstream and popular. If not, there is always the regular film that is less expensive and doesn’t require special specs.
So, 3-D or not 3-D? Well, for now, not 3-D. It’s summer time. Enjoy the popcorn.
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]