Roger Ebert not bullish on 3-D

posted by CSWalczak on May 7, 2010 at 12:35 am

In a recent opinion piece written for Newsweek magazine, critic Roger Ebert offers nine reasons why he is less than enthusiastic about the current resurgence of 3-D. While not opposed to 3-D as an option for presenting certain films, he feels 3-D will add nothing to certain kinds of films. Among other minuses, he cites the added admission cost and the pressure on exhibitors to install and present 3-D; he also laments the seemingly imminent demise of analog projection. If Hollywood really is interested in using technology to improve picture quality and audience involvement, he would like to see, instead of universal 3-D, further development of processes such as Showscan and MaxiVision48.

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.

Read the whole article in Newsweek.

Comments (3)

John Fink
John Fink on May 9, 2010 at 5:22 am

I agree and I disagree: considering the analogy to language – if film is a language than 3-D is a new grammar, one that is redeveloping but is over all not used as effectively as it needs to be to justify the ticket price. I’m with Ebert on that, but I perhaps one day 3-D will be perfected, IMAX did it very well (haven’t seen a digital IMAX show yet).

I agree there is a premium arms race going on right now with the chains that could lead to their distraction again if they aren’t careful, 3-D isn’t 100% ready for prime time, some use it brilliantly but studio greed and bad filmmaking (I’m thinking Clash of the Titians and Alice in Wonderland) will lead to a backlash. Ebert, I should note is a reviewer I’ve always respected but has given positive reviews to several 3-D features including Avatar and A Christmas Carol.

moviebuff82 on May 30, 2010 at 6:58 am

I haven’t seen Xmas Carol John, but if I do see it in 3-D, i will save money to buy a 3-D HDTV to replace my nearly 6 year old CRT HD model (a Trinitron) and update my ps3 to show 3D and get it in late November, just in time for the holidays. As for Avatar, I saw it only in scope 3-D, which I heard is not the best way to see it since it crops the matte image that the IMAX and bluray versions have. At the mansfield and Rockaway, the 3-D was very blurry. But on bluray, it’s sharper. In 2009 I saw 2 3-D films. Up and Avatar. the latter was better. In 2010 the only 3d films i’m looking forward to are Toy Story 3, Despicable me, and Tron Legacy.

flkfrek on October 24, 2011 at 6:52 am

I know this comment comes over a year after the article appeared, but I recently saw “Captain America” in 3-D and concluded that….I HATE 3D. I don’t mind it once in a while, but why does everything have to be 3D? I personally don’t see any difference from the 3D now compared to the 3D of the 1980s – there is still eye-strain and dark picture. But now beings I can get 3D at home with a 3D TV, and I can get digital at home, why not give me something I CAN’T get at home? That is why I’m VERY VERY Pro-Maxivision48. I’m willing to bet that this is the technology that saves the movie theater….but tell that to the studio execs who lavish millions on movies like “Wild Wild West” (which won a few Razzies by the way), while NOT giving wide releases to such films as “Duma”….who are they to make such decisions as to what a premium movie-going experience is like? Maxivision48 YEAH!!!

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