I was going to write about a Polish film by Krzysztof Kieslowski called “A Short Film About Love” but I can’t stop thinking about other things related to Cinema i.e. 3D movies. I feel that discussing this “new” technology that is becoming ever so popular (expect a 3D television as soon as 2011 hits) tramples a look back in time (which is what I wanted to do with “A Short Film About Love”). If you haven’t experienced a 3D movie yet, you will soon enough. 3D, I expect, will be everywhere as we move further into the technological age; even if this “new” technology is nothing new (the first 3D movie came out in 1922 titled “The Power of Love”). What is different from then and now is the amount of money being poured into this way of experiencing cinema and soon television. Cineplex Odeon signed an agreement with RealD to bring 3D capacity theaters to over 5,500 theater screens across Canada. Samsung, Panasonic and Sony are all spewing plans on developing a 3D television. And what of it? We all love technology! Technology makes our lives easier and let’s face it, cooler. Skeptical of most things, I need to slow down and think about the effects this technology is having on me, you, us.
Anyone that knows me knows that I hold cinema among the Gods. Film to me is a way for me to explore many aspects of our own humanity. Film gives me a chance to explore countless stories, reflect on human experiences, celebrate the advent of new technology and (yes) it is a great way to escape my surroundings. But it is with the escapist element that I find myself struggling with nowadays. I’m not the biggest fan of Blockbuster hits; since their foundation is tainted with entertainment rather than reflection. I do find myself consuming many of their titles (I do live in a city with ONE Big-Wig theater and ONE small independent theater). As of late, I’ve been hitting the theater much more frequently and 20% of those outings have involved a 3D movie. Each of those experiences has, I’m sorry to report, been extremely negative. Yes, I was disappointed in “Avatar” and “Alice and Wonderland”.
Both of these films are Mega-Blockbuster hits. “Avatar” was nominated for 9 Oscars and winning 3 (Cinematography, Visual Effects and Art Direction) and grossing $1.843 billion, breaking “Titanic’s” $600 million box-office record. While “Alice in Wonderland” opened with $210.3 million globally over opening weekend. The numbers speak for themselves – we are swarming to see a 3D movie. I wouldn’t have a problem with this if we were swarming to see something worth seeing but it just isn’t so. A great film critic, Robin Wood, once said “…I view the culture in which I live and the mainstream cinema that is at once its product and support. As in the culture, so in the cinema: there are hostile and dissonant rumblings, but they are seldom allowed to enter the mainstream.” Although I find that statement devastating and depressing, I do esteem it to hold nothing but the truth. I feel that this statement speaks to both of these movies, even if “Avatar” had an underlying message of colonialism and the effects of overindulging in limited natural resources, and wish to discuss both of these movies with Robin Wood’s words becoming a foundation for my future thoughts. But for now I must end here for life is calling (making dinner, cleaning house and getting to the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery’s Student Curated Show opening!).