Ever since James Cameron's 3D blockbuster Avatar smashed box office records over the winter, Hollywood filmmakers have been scrabbling to capitalize on the new trend - not least because tickets to 3D films sell for more money. But critics are savaging Clash of the Titans, released over the Easter weekend, as a slip-shod postproduction conversion of a 2D film. But it's unclear that moviegoers agree — the title still took in $61.4 million over the weekend. Is Clash of the Titans second rate — and what does it mean for the future of the medium?
We need to call out this fake 3D: No wonder Cameron is angry about this, says Mary Ann Johanson at Film.com. "The time and money and effort" he took to develop 3D technology for Avatar is all up there on screen, in pictures so "beautifully immersive that you feel like you're walking on Pandora." But this "fake 3D" is a cheap trick, "retrofitted" so that you can see "Kraken tentacles flying out at you" but not much else. The studio is just trying to rip you off.
"Should 3-D in postproduction be called something else?"
Audiences don't mind: Ok, so the "back-engineered" 3D in Clash of the Titans is an "inferior process" to that which created Avatar, says Kevin Carr at Film School Rejects. "But your average moviegoer probably won't even notice the difference." This whole row is just the latest example of "anti-3D sentiment" from old-fashioned film critics who "dismiss it as a gimmick." Meanwhile, the actual moviegoing public is "gobbling up" every 3D movie it can find — including Clash of the Titans, if the early box office figures are any indication.
"In defense of 3D"
But someday they will — so we need official standards : Hollywood needs to be wary of a 3D backlash, says Daniel Engber at Slate. If the "ugly, pointless stereo effects" in Clash of the Titans become standard, consumers might "abandon the format altogether, as they did in the 1950s and the 1980s." We need industry standards to be set for the medium, or a "bunch of poorly-made B-movies" could leave Hollywood's "golden goose... strangled in its nest."
"Why is the 3-D so bad in Clash of the Titans?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Alien conspiracy theorists think the government is on the verge of spilling big secrets
- In defense of Gwyneth Paltrow
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Chuck Hagel wasn't the problem. It's America's addiction to endless war.
- Republicans love this new health care plan. Too bad it's basically a tax cut for the rich.
Subscribe to the Week