The 3-D-ification of Hollywood 

That 1950s Hollywood gimmick known as 3-D made an unfortunate return about three years ago as "Real D" 3-D, which looked a lot like "Old D" 3-D, but it caught on this time like it never did in the '50s. And studios and theater chains love it because they can charge anywhere from three to five bucks extra for the tickets. Since then we've been bombarded with an endless stream of 3-D movies. Some of these have been good, but few have actually benefitted from this bewhiskered gimmick that's touted as "cutting-edge technology." Quite a few were "flat" movies that had been retrofitted with ersatz 3-D, which adds a kind of depth illusion but fails in the "comin' at you" aspect.

Personally, I've had enough. I've got the 3-D blues and the stereoscopic collywobbles. The glasses are uncomfortable, dim the image, and make you look like a Roy Orbison impersonator. I find none of this desirable.

The sad thing is that the most creative use I've seen of 3-D — and, yes, I am including Avatar in this — was the schlock horror movie My Bloody Valentine 3-D. This was obviously designed, lit, and shot with 3-D in mind. Yeah, the end result was a cheesy, sleazy, and rather lame slasher picture, but it's the bee's knees of 3-D.

Even so, I've yet to see anything to equal the 3-D effect of Udo Kier's liver dangling on the end of a spear in 1974's Andy Warhol's Frankenstein. Now that was 3-D at its finest! —


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