Exploited like a goofy gimmick in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, 3D arguably has its entertainment value. Yet when it comes to everything else, many moviegoers think, to put it simply, 3D sucks. Including esteemed film critic Roger Ebert, who outlined his reasons in a Chicago Sun Times blog post last January titled “Why 3D doesn’t work and never will. Case closed”.
Citing a letter from Walter Murch, who he describes as “the most respected film editor and sound designer in the modern cinema”, Ebert sums up the biggest problem with 3D as one of focus. Specifically that 3D forces us to focus at one point and converge our eyes at another, while naturally we focus and converge at one point. The former is the equivalent of “tapping your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time”—which explains 3D headaches. All of which leads to the matter of immersion: Murch argues 3D prevents audiences from truly getting lost in the cinematic story, and end his letter to Ebert with a pointed question: “so: dark, small, stroby, headache inducing, alienating. And expensive… how long will it take people to realize and get fed up?”
We have no idea, but Murch's question started our mind wheels spinning on ways we might discourage 3D lovers with something besides the opinions of film experts and scientific jibber jabber about convergence and focus. What if we could simply convince them that 3D is, not cool? It worked with Justin Bieber fans, right...? All in good fun, of course, we pondered a few strategies.
Inky incentive – Taking a cue from school fire alarms, ink 3D glasses with a skin-safe dye so the tell-tale rings linger for days. Or do the same with a less conspicuous but still noticeable hand stamp, preferably with the words “3D rules” and the grinning blue face of an Avatar alien.
Call in the comedy calvary – Get South Park, SNL, 30 Rock and other popular comic venues to devote more skit and script time to the lameness of 3D.
Separate but equal theaters – If you want to see a 3D movie, you’ll have to go to the 3D only theater which will be just as nice but cost three times as much since they will all be run by Ticketmaster.
Sell t-shirts – With subtle anti-3D messages like “3D bites”.
Slang slam – Turn “3D” into a slang put down. For example, “Snooki’s spandex bodysuit is so 3D”!
Blind them with science – Release a study that claims people who like 3D movies have lower IQs.
Tweet it out – Set up a Twitter feed in the spirit of “sh*t my dad says” that tweets 3D addict quotes like “I live my life in 3D”.
Ads with attitude – Get TV's Parks and Recreation's dead-pan diva Aubrey Plaza to aim her sharp wit at 3D, like she does her nerdy boyfriend in her recent World of Warcraft commercial.
3D strike back?
Are you a 3D fan affronted by the nay saying of Ebert and others? Weigh in with the wonders of 3D and why you think it’s worth the extra cash.