Tuesday, April 6, 2010

3D Gimmicks and A-Hole Grifters

So this weekend Clash of the Titans made an estimated $61.2 million across North America. For genre fans like us, this should be a good thing - so why am I so apprehensive?  I haven't seen the film yet, but the consensus from the majority of the critics is that while its a decent enough movie, the 3D is fucking atrocious. Here's what the New York Times Mahnola Dargis had to say:

"The 3D in the Clash of the Titans remake, which was added after it was shot, has none of the immersive quality of Avatar and instead segments the image into discrete planes, bringing to mind the unintegrated levels of a pop-up book.

A pop-up book.  For an extra five fucking bucks per ticket.  Now that Clash and Alice in Wonderland, both using the "post" 3D conversion, have made millions, the fear is that every film will now be pushed through a crappy conversion just to con you from your hard-earned cash.  Could we be seeing crap like "Sex in the City 3D" soon? Jesus horse-fucking christ, imagine the thought of Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Catrall's old asses in IMAX 3D - that's one scary flick.

Despite the impressive tech wizardry of Avatar, 3D is ultimately a gimmick.  If Hollywood wants to keep people in theatres, it needs to go William Castle and embrace the gimmickry. Why was 3D so successful in the 1950s? Because it was used by real showmen to give their audiences a new experience.  And why did it die out?  Because Hollywood over-saturated the market with cheap-ass 3D films.  Same with the 3D resurgence of the 1980's.  And with Alice and Titans, it's happening again - studio execs taking a great idea and running the fucker into the ground.

Thankfully, a few horror filmmakers are still embracing the roots of the technology.  Patrick Lussier, director of last year's wicked My Bloody Valentine, knows the purpose of 3D - to THROW SHIT AT THE AUDIENCE.  As great as an immersive three dimensional environment can be, at the end of the day we go to 3D flicks to duck, bob, and scream as shit flies at our heads.  Lussier is following up MBV with a new Nic Cage flick called Drive Angry, a violent, supernatural car chase thriller.  While the prospect of Cage's hair in 3D is frightening, Lussier is shooting the film in 3D, not post converting.  Chatting with MTV, Lussier said:

"No, none of that post-conversion crap. This is totally shot in 3-D. We have 3-D cameras out from Paradise FX, which are working brilliantly. We're shooting 3-D every day. We're watching all our 3-D effects on every single shot as we shoot."

So what can you, the horror fan do?  Like any good consumer, just keep yourself informed.  Sites like Ain't It Cool News, Shock Till You Drop. Dread Central, etc. will give you the straight-up on whether a film is worth that extra fiver or not.  And while this new 3D trend may just be another fad, just like in the 50's and 80's, let's hope that guys like Lussier can still crank out eye-popping films that do exactly what 3D should do - make us shit our pants.

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