Jamie on 3D films

Jamie on 3D films

By Jamie Ross 11/08/10

Our columnist tries to hold back the man-tears as he ponders the 3D takeover...

If there was one thing to be said about me, it would be that I’m very susceptible to advertising and hype. If there were two things to be said about me, they would be that I’m very susceptible to advertising and hype because I am a massive idiot.

It’s with some inevitability then that, after weeks of film critics playing Hyperbole Buckaroo with my mind, I finally snapped and went to see Toy Story 3 last weekend.

I was initially reluctant for two reasons. Firstly, because I was told that I would cry, which is a terribly dangerous possibility. As a 21-year-old man, I’ve spent the past 10 years specifically trying not to cry about anything whatsoever, so once the floodgates are opened, I am likely to cry so heavily about everything that’s ever happened to me that I’d take on the appearance of a desiccated scrotum. Secondly, I’ve never managed to watch anything in 3D without feeling incredibly ill, so these days going to the cinema is less of a fun treat than a furious battle of physical endurance.

The crying problem wasn’t too troublesome. I did well up towards the end of the film – which I won’t spoil just in case you haven’t been yet or couldn’t see through your emotional tsunami – but I had dark glasses to hide this small betrayal of masculine indifference. Although, given that it deals with the nature of transience and the horrors of leaving home, I’m glad that I saw it after I left for university, otherwise I imagine I would have had a nervous breakdown and spent the rest of my life in my parents’ attic wearing a nappy.

The 3D issue definitely was problematic, though. As soon as the animated Pom Bear advert appeared on screen during the trailers I experienced a feeling of violent nausea, mixed with a small amount of curiosity as to how a product which retails at 10p per packet can justify the expense of a 3D advertising campaign.

Toy Story 3 is great, but I ran into the same annoyances that I have with every 3D film. It was same for the sprawlingly pointless Avatar and Jim Carrey’s futile attempt to do a better version of A Christmas Carol than The Muppets; they’ve all either left me underwhelmed or with a headache so forceful that a small town could be powered exclusively by the intensity of my misery.

My main problem with it is the one-size-fits-all-except-me-because-I-have-a-massive-head glasses which have to be fastened on for two hours. Not only are they about as comfortable as wearing a farm on your head, they also make the screen much darker than normal. This either means that you have a dull film experience, or the studio combats this by making the colours so garish and intense that Buzz Lightyear’s face is now permanently seared onto my retinas.

My second problem with it is that the films made for 3D are rarely anything but terrible. Toy Story is an exception, but the fairground-sideshow nature of the 3D experience lends itself most freely to films that have a similar number of challenging complexities as a coconut shy. The next big releases are Piranha 3D, Step Up 3D and Jackass 3D; three films which look so irrevocably evil that I expect the next announcement will be The Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse 3D.

And, most terribly, it’s becoming unavoidable. The success of Avatar has made 3D releases more frequent than ever and, as of next month, its creeping omnipresence will finally stretch to our homes when Sky launch a 3D service to the collective delight of people who don’t deserve money. If the march of 3D continues at this rate, in five years I won’t be able to watch Gardener’s World without Toby Buckland waving a massive spade in my face.

But, with nearly all big releases being in 3D now, it’s grimly inevitable that I’ll soon be in the front row of the cinema nursing my pulsating skull yet again. As long as it makes money for the film industry I’m powerless to stop the 3D revolution and, like I said, I’m susceptible to advertising and hype because I’m a massive idiot.

On that note, I’m off to buy some Pom Bears.

More Jamie:

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...on computer games

Image courtesy of nvidia on Flickr.

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