Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Third Time Lucky

For a world that exists in three dimensions (and for physicists, a few more), it was probably inevitable that 3D movies, which had fallen out of favour, would make a return to the mainstream. We’re a long way from Creature from the Black Lagoon, but in essence the desire is the same. Creative types everywhere are in a battle with themselves to show our life back to us on the big screen. John Lennon probably said it best: “My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.”

What better reflection than life that looks just like it is supposed to. But 3D isn’t just for fiction any more, it’s spreading around the world, and popping up at football events, and even where there are natural disasters.

3D has had a troubled relationship with the public – we’ve wavered, but it seems like the immediacy of the illusion of 3D (because really, it’s still 2D!) is exciting us again. We want to see the ball whooshing towards us from out of the screen. We want to experience and understand what the words in the newspaper can’t convey – instant emotional reaction with assisted imagination.

Recent hits like Avatar and Alice in Wonderland have stretched us further into the realms of our imagination. That these stories carry universal themes and that we enjoy them so much is not only because of the added dimension. It’s because James Cameron and Tim Burton, in their vastly different ways, have taken the best of new technology, and told stories that we want to be a part of. Where there is 3D non-fiction, 3D fiction has to be even more true to our beliefs, our feelings. Next time you slip on the glasses, look for yourself on, or coming out of, the screen.