Thursday, June 17, 2010
The third dimension
Depth. This is definitely the dimension of the coming decade. Length was really a 1990's thing. People liked being tall. Wearing stripes was big. The aughts (2000's) was all about width. Women like Beyonce and Kim Kardashian were all about having curves and having some width to them. Well in the teens, the dimension we, as a society are focusing on, is depth. This is most evident in our cinema.
Movies are flashy, grand, exciting events. I never got out of a movie and thought it was too flat, thought it needed another dimension. I never finished watching a sporting event on television and felt I was not close enough to the action. I was at my home for god's sake. Well, apparently I was alone in these thoughts, for everyone else wanted to be closer. We graduated from side-scrolling video games, like the old Mario games, which I suppose are referred to as one dimensional even though one dimension is just a dot. You could not move off the one plane; there was simply up/down and left/right. We now have movies and games as we are used to, technically in three dimensions, but I guess just considered 2D. You can traverse the terrain or watch actors have width and depth. When Tom Cruise is jumping from speeding train to helicopter, he has depth to him, but he doesn't fly out of the theater canvas. Therefore, another dimension would apparently be ideal. (I don't know why old movies aren't also 3D. They really are, just 'less' three dimensional, if that's possible. Because How to Train your Dragon 3D is definitely just three dimensions. It is not four. If it was 4D, you would watch the movie through time and it would be over before it started. So I'll just refer to the new movies as 3D and the old movies as obsolete.)
To get a feeling for our new obsession with the third dimension just take a look at upcoming movie releases for later in 2010: Step Up 3D, Saw VII 3D, Jackass 3D. None of those are jokes. The funny thing is, if I was going to make a joke about how silly it is to make all these movies in 3D, the examples I would use are definitely Step Up, Saw, and Jackass. I guess that's irony. Along with the fact that every single children's movie being released is required to be in three dimensions so parents have to wear those glasses, movie companies are making just any movie they want pop out at you. Is there any reason a new Step Up movie needs to pop? (But, to be fair, is there any reason a new Step Up movie needs to be made at all?) What benefit am I gaining from viewing Jackass in another dimension?
I can't quite decide if this is a fad, or will just take a while to perfect. Still having to wear the glasses screams fad. However, it seems as though many companies are hoping the latter is true, since 3D televisions and 3D tv networks are in production. Soon, we will be able to see Scott Van Pelt's bald head in our living room when watching Sportscenter on ESPN 3D. This isn't a joke either. I kind of wish it was.
There is a part of this I don't understand though. Were people starting to feel like high definition channels and movies packed with special effects weren't real enough? What sparked this phenomenon? James Cameron decided to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to make Avatar, a movie I am told benefited greatly from the added dimension. (I did not see it, partly out of lack of desire and partly out of spite.) But most of the others don't come off any better. I actually feel like 3D often makes them worse. I saw Alice in Wonderland in 3D and it really was more distracting than anything. It didn't add anything to my viewing experience. To be honest, in hindsight, I would have rather seen it in 'normal' 2D. What was not real enough about regularly filmed movies and television? Watching a hockey game in HD wasn't beautiful enough? Now we want Evgeni Malkin's face coming right at us on a check? Lord of the Rings and Transformers weren't fancy enough in 2D? Now we want the New Zealand landscape or Shia LaBeouf constantly screaming "NO NO NO!" in our living room?
Call me old fashioned I guess, but when I was a lad, I could sit in front of a 25' tall movie theater screen, watching Alcatraz island get blown up during The Rock, and enjoy it. I was happy with the primitive film delivery. Kids these days are just getting spoiled.