Future of 3D films

The wave of 3D films continues to crash relentlessly onto the shores of cinemas around the globe. With The Green Hornet kicking off 2011’s 3D film releases, another 13 confirmed 3D titles await us this year, including Sucker Punch, Drive Angry, Cowboys & Aliens and The Green Lantern, and it’s growing all the time.

The jury is still out as to whether a ‘good’ 3D film has been made. Avatar divides opinion. Most of the successful 3D releases have been action films, which whilst satisfying our need to see something punched, kicked, shot or blown up, aren’t going to feature in any Oscar nominations any time soon. Post-production 3D creations have largely been a gimmick filled mess. Personally, I believe that How to Train your Dragon has been the best all-round 3D release to date, with gags, characters and a really engaging story – if you’re yet to see it, ensure that you ogle it at some point; even in old skool 2D it’s one of the most satisfying animated films of recent times.

But is 3D set to flood our lives forever more, or dry up like the old Red/Green technology of ye olden days of Jaws 3D? For the answer to this MASSIVELY important question, Best for Film are here to offer a helpful forecast for the future of your film consumption. The answer to this question has begun to emerge from the fog of speculation:

Big Directors Like 3D

One of the early fears of the new 3D craze was whether big film studios were interested in investing time and money in an unproven market. Well, thanks to the success of pretty much one film alone, the waters became pretty settled pretty quickly; James Cameron’s Avatar. Say what you like about the lack of depth in its plot, or it’s shoddy acting, or that it only succeeded because it was a 3D spectacle, Cameron doesn’t have to care. To date, Avatar has made more than $2 billion world wide. If anything, the arguments that Avatar was awful only ensures the value of 3D – if a bad film made more than $2 billion just because it was 3D, imagine how much a good film would make! But never fear my film loving friends, we’re not going to have to wait much longer before some heavy weight directors release their 3D d├ębuts.

Heading up the field is Steven Spielberg, who’s bringing us the first instalment of the Tintin series this October with The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. Peter Jackson isn’t exactly small fry, and he’s serving up the Tintin sequel, The Adventures of Tintin: Red Rackham’s Treasure in 3D, and all signs are pointing to The Hobbit getting the full 3D treatment as well. Pixar have made their bed with it, with all future titles to be released in 3D – in fact, it’s hard to find an animated feature film which isn’t going to be released in 3D any more, with the exception of Disney’s new Winnie the Pooh. George Lucas is busy fumbling away to get all 6 Star Wars films re-released in 3D (the man loves to flog a dead horse), and it goes without saying that James Cameron has sold his soul to 3D, stating that all his future projects will be filmed in 3D.

3D releases are set to continue then, and the flag of the third dimension is being waved by some pretty big contenders. But is that enough to ensure it matures as a fully fledged facet of entertainment?

The Entertainment Industry Likes 3D

It’s not just the film makers who’ve gone all gooey over 3D. In the last few years, more tech expos have shouted the promises of new 3D gadgets and wizardry. As the new decade dawns, 3D technology is becoming ever more available. LG, Sony, Samsung and Panasonic are already beginning to push out some high end 3D TVs, and whilst it’s true that they’re quite expensive at the moment, as more groups enter the market prices will begin to fall with the new competition.

The interest in purchasing a 3D TV is only set to rise in the coming year, with Sky having rolled out their new 3D home package. If you’re a sceptic of the added entertainment that 3D can bring to TV viewing, I strongly recommend you try and catch a Football or Rugby game in 3D – I wanted it to be a gimmick, thinking it was just a new avenue for cash, but was genuinely blown away.

From TV to the Games industry, things are going all deep and perspective-y. Nintendo are about to release their 3DS, the hand-held upgrade on the DS which includes a 3D screen that doesn’t require glasses to use, whilst the console market are slowly dribbling in new 3D games. So with movie makers commiting to 3D, and the wider entertainment industry keen to chip in on things too, where does any uncertainty lie?!

Do we like 3D?

This, I would say, is the only question which remains concerning the future of 3D, be it films, games or TV; how much do we, the great big grubby public, really want 3D? Whilst you might like the idea of seeing Transformers 3 in 3D, watching big old robots jump around and rip each other to pieces, do you want to see a slow building romantic drama in 3D? Do we gain anything from seeing Colin Firth flirt his way through another British rom-com if it’s in 3D, or should we just settle for seeing him do it in good old flat 2D? In the same way, do you care if the 10 O’Clock News is in 2D or 3D? Will Bowls ever become a more interesting sport in 3D? Probably not. Is there any need for 3D EastEnders? Is there any need for EastEnders…

3D isn’t going to dry up this year. Or next year. Nor indeed for the rest of this decade. Until HD is beamed everywhere and anywhere, and until we feel that our phone needs to be in 3D (remember when a colour screen seemed pointless? Generations ago, people thought that adding sound to films was excessive, and that colour film too expensive. Just sayin’…), the world will still balance out its needs for 2D and 3D entertainment. But some day, and I wouldn’t dare guess as to when that day will come, 3D could become the norm. It just needs to get rid of the glasses, avoid the motion sickness and bring the price down – all of which are slowly happening.

Oh, and stop releasing films with ‘3D’ in the title. It’s horrible. We don’t like it.

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