Is 3-D a fad? I think so. There is one thing that will keep it going past its sell-by date: money. Not only are the studios loving every extra penny they charge for 3-D, but now the electronics companies are getting in the game with 3-D TVs. What happened to the idea that 3-D was what made a film special enough to get people to go to the theaters?
There are some very basic reasons why 3-D won’t last. For me, the biggest reason is that movies were already in 3-D. Through little visual tricks, focus, depth, dollies, things like that, we pretty much know where everyone is standing in relation to everything else. Would a Coen Brothers film be any better in 3-D?
The other thing is that, with 3-D, after a couple minutes, you forget it’s 3-D and just start watching the movie. In that way, it’s like subtitles; you just get into a sort of mental state and you don’t even realize you’re reading them. The difference with 3-D is that around half way through a movie, your eyes get tired and you take off the glasses for a second to watch the blur and try to figure out the technology before this gets boring and you put them back on.
There really is no need for 3-D, no need to have those glasses. It’s fun, but we’ll be craving something else next year when there will be a flood of these films. And it’s certainly no replacement for artistry, although one advantage is that it forces filmmakers to think about their shots in a visual sense. They should have been doing this anyway.
What I’m saying is, 3-D isn’t adding anything to the language of film because, if it was, it wouldn’t have been the recurring fad it’s always been.