3-D movies are a wonderful part of the history of cinema, from Bwana Beast to Avatar. They can add a little jump to the scares, a little height to the cliffs and a little immersion to the fantasy. They can sometimes be great films in their own right (Creature From The Black Lagoon, Dial M For Murder), but 3-D adds an extra theatricality. . . a certain je ne sais quoi.

There have recently been some people, both filmmakers and audience members, claiming that the newest wave of 3-D is the “future” of cinema; In essence, “going to the movies” will become synonymous with “going to the 3-D movies”. In much the same way that sound and color have become standard, children of the future won’t be watching any of those boring, pre-3D films (Pre-D?).

Personally, I don’t think it’s gonna turn out like that. And I really hope that it doesn’t, honestly.

Imagine if you could take a great work of art, like the Mona Lisa, and make it stand up and walk around. Neat trick, right? But there would be something lost in the transition from the two dimensional canvas to the holographic one; The colors, shading and dimensions all either subtly or greatly altered. Is it still a masterpiece, or merely a dynamic impression of one?

Would you have rather seen There Will Be Blood in 3-D when it came out? Would it have dramatically improved the film, or would it have turned an otherwise great movie into a distracting mess?

One bonus with the new 3-D fad is that directors will have to cool it with the shaky-cam for awhile; The Bourne Ultimatum is nauseating enough as it is. I couldn’t imagine the vomiting that it would induce in stereoscope. Michael Bay is very against the transition, and, given his directing style, right to be.

This has all happened before. Sure, there were some technical problems and inconsistencies with the presentation back in the 50’s, but the myth is that the 3-D was bad. It wasn’t; I’ve seen Vincent Price’s The House Of Wax in the theater, and it was the best 3-D I’ve ever seen. The fad died out in the 50’s for the same reason it died out in the 80’s; People just got tired of it.

People were calling the 3-D in Avatar a leap forward, and, y’know. . . maybe I was watching a different movie. It still looked like strange, ghostlike images walking around, to me. Kinda reminds me of the early days of CGI; People telling me how amazing the fx are, while I’m insisting that they look like lifeless, weightless things.

Maybe, like with CG, in a few years we’ll have the 3-D version of Gollum or Davy Jones. But until the next “game changer” comes along, I’ll mostly be seeking out the 2-D versions.