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Roger Ebert Hates 3D. What About You?

The changing landscape of cinema seems to be at the footsteps of 3-D. Personally, I foresee in the next 10 years, a new golden age of cinema. A technology that expands the communal experience of movie watching. There has been a long debate over 3-D as a viable way to expand the medium and artform of film. With the advent of James Cameron’s “Avatar” as a successful model for Hollywood and why every movie should be in 3-D.

In this week’s issue of Newsweek, Roger Ebert has written a op-ed piece for the weekly publication. In this piece titled, “Why I Hate 3-D (And You Should Too)”, Ebert expresses his concern for the technology and why he feels it is going to waste in the Hollywood lifestyle. Furthermore he describes that he “Cannot imagine a serious drama, such as Up In The Air or The Hurt Locker, in 3-D.”

3-D is a waste of a perfectly good dimension. Hollywood’s current crazy stampede toward it is suicidal. It adds nothing essential to the moviegoing experience. For some, it is an annoying distraction. For others, it creates nausea and headaches. It is driven largely to sell expensive projection equipment and add a $5 to $7.50 surcharge on already expensive movie tickets. Its image is noticeably darker than standard 2-D. It is unsuitable for grown-up films of any seriousness. It limits the freedom of directors to make films as they choose. For moviegoers in the PG-13 and R ranges, it only rarely provides an experience worth paying a premium for.

Ebert makes a good point. Do movies need to be in 3-D to be successful? Hollywood seems to think so. Up converting “Clash of The Titans” last month was a perfect example of the big studios attempt for a money grab. People are going to see a movies such as “Clash of The Titans” and “The Last Airbender” anyway, why not squeeze a few more dollars out of them. Big studios can just deliver piss poor renditions of film images and the consumers will just eat it up. Has this nation and moviegoers simply been sold this sentiment?

Roger Ebert has, recently, been the target of the online movie community with his rather scathing one star review of Matthew Vaughn’s “Kick-Ass”. Ebert states “I know, I know. This is a satire. But a satire of what? The movie’s rated R, which means in this case that it’s doubly attractive to anyone under 17. I’m not too worried about 16-year-olds here. I’m thinking of 6-year-olds”. Online film critics like Harry Knowles expressed “I suppose you’ll never really just get KICK-ASS… You’re no square in my book. But you may be in danger of being a ‘grown up’.” I tend to agree with Roger Ebert, only that I feel Vaughn should have pushed the ideas of “Kick-Ass” further.

I do encourage our readers to read both Roger Ebert’s op-ed piece for Newsweek and his review for Matthew Vaughn’s “Kick-Ass”. Both are very well written and do have insight on what we are watching and why we are watching them. Highly recommended reads! The questions and ideas raised are fascinating and well worth your thinking.

Cinema has been long tied to money, profit and art. It is probably the only artform where money is the clear mark for success. Every week we play the box office game, which movie will make the most money over the weekend. In this way, cinema has become a sport. Movies, studios and moviegoers duking it out every week for a clear cut “winner”. “Transformers 2: The Revenge of The Fallen” was the highest grossing movie of 2009. Does that make it an important piece of art and will be heralded as such? Did studios see this film as a missed opportunity to make more money by converting it to 3-D?

Does Roger Ebert get the point of the changing face of cinema? Is he “in danger of being a grown up”? Is Ebert right about the future of 3-D and Hollywood?


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