The world within a window

Though he doesn’t say much that hasn’t already been said on the subject, at least the Badger Herald’s Tony Lewis bothered to point out a very real and surprisingly relevant phenomenon: the advent of 3D cinema. Lewis has no argument per se, and he frames the rise of 3D in purely economic terms (3D movies = more expensive tickets = balm for the achin’ film industry). Most of what he says in the article is quite true, though I wish he’d have elaborated on the only explicitly aesthetic point he makes:

Take “Avatar” for example. Never do you have robotic arms reaching out at you or arrows whizzing by your head. Instead, Cameron uses 3-D to make Pandora seem like more than just a mystical CGI wonderland.

Well, yes, I suppose that’s true. Cameron’s major achievement in “Avatar” is the way he and his technicians used 3D to create an intensely cinematic space (as distinct from a pictorial or a textual space) whose dimensions, while still unmistakably illusory, bear a much stronger resemblance to space as we encounter it outside the movie theater. This is where the whole “it feels like you’re inside the movie” thing stems from.

Lewis is right to say that 3D has likely moved beyond the gimmickry that made the sensation of having objects pop out of the screen at the audience more laughable than thrilling. Hopefully the technological legacy of “Avatar” will have more to do with creative manipulations of space and time than with the comparatively unpleasant economics that enable such monster-scale films to be made in the first place.

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One Response to “The world within a window”

  1. 3D everything « CineMadison Says:

    […] By Dan Sullivan Apropos of my post from the other day responding to Tony Lewis’ article about 3D filmmaking, Maureen Dowd’s column today […]

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