3D Movies: Fad or Catastrophe?

I can remember my first 3D movie experience. You see, it was just that: an experience. I was seven years old and it was a ride in Disneyworld: “Honey I Shrunk the Audience.” I was blown away by the reality of the production: the dog licking my face or the sensation of “shrinking” as everything around me grew bigger. As I look back with a sentimental nostalgia, I become increasingly disappointed with my most recent trip to the movie theater.

This past weekend, a few friends and I saw Coraline 3D. Prior to the movie, I really didn’t have a preference one way or the other about 3D movies. However, after two hours of head-splintering, eye-tearing pain, I have come to the conclusion that the only advantage of a 3D movie is the hip plastic glasses that I stole as a souvenir. Indeed, my real disappointment with the movie wasn’t the 3D that I know and love. Unlike their Disneyworld counterparts, the 3D movies in theaters don’t engage the audience.

Yes, there are instances where objects “come out” of the screen, but there is never the experience that the viewer has been poked, slapped, licked or involved in any way. What’s more, the movie stretches on for two hours, depleting my attention span for mediocre effects and patience for dizzying (though still stylish) glasses. With advertisements for two more movies that will be released in 3D and a 3D Jonas Brothers concert, I cannot help but believe that this rising phenomenon is a travesty to the art of three-dimensionality.

To be fair, 3D entertainment didn’t start in the amusement parks. The technology has been around since 1922, and it created a huge fad in the 1950’s in movie theaters (not unlike the one in Syracuse). Although there were many 3D movies released in the 1950s, it was simply a trend of the time. I am worried that our current development is much graver.

What are the signs? As if a 3D concert wasn’t bad enough, let’s consider the Monsters vs. Aliens advertisement during Superbowl XVIII: the first 3D televised commercial. How sad! The very exoticness of three-dimensionality is what gives it its appeal.

Now that we have commercials and movie after movie using this technology, 3D is no longer something special. Rather, it has become a catchy device for garnering ticket sales. Another ominous trend is our dependency on video games, such as Wii, that strive to induce a sense of reality.

As videogames, and now movies, attempt more and more to construct a virtual reality, I fear that we will let the real reality slip between our fingers. What’s nextz? 4D movies? Will we have to rebuild all of our movie theaters to install virtual reality chairs? Let’s add that to the next stimulus package! Okay, maybe I’m being a bit harsh.

All I ask is that the next time I go to see a children’s film, I’m going to see it in 2D, saving me a headache and the ideal of my childhood memories.