A Waste of a Perfectly Good Dimension

If you have been following any entertainment news or flipping through the ‘Movies’ section of the New York Times, then you have likely heard about Hugo. It’s the first family film ever done by the famous director Martin Scorcese and was extremely well received; some even classified it as his greatest work ever.

After deciding to see for myself what all the hype was about, I walked out of the theater utterly confused and disappointed – confused about why it was such a topic of conversation and disappointed in the anticlimactic plot. I was completely convinced that either I was too mature for this kids’ film or that its meaning had gone right over my head.

Still lost for words and slightly angered that I had wasted $13, I decided to search online to see if mine was a minority opinion. After sifting through the websites that called it a “masterpiece” and “a must-see for anyone who loves cinema,” I finally found some blogs and articles expressing the same empty feelings that I had.

As more and more people asked me why I disliked it so much, I began to realize what it was that created this gap between my review and the review of professionals. It’s the fact that the movie was in 3D. The cinematography, the thrilling visuals, and all of the big mechanical clocks were successfully distracting people from the story line. People walked out of the theater thinking, “wow that was amazing film-making” without giving a second thought to the fact that most young adults in the audience were bored out of their minds.

Even renowned Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert thinks that the cinema’s new use of 3D is self-destructive and defended his point of view in a Newsweek article: “3-D is a waste of a perfectly good dimension,” he said. “Hollywood’s current crazy stampede toward it is suicidal. It adds nothing essential to the movie going experience. For some, it is an annoying distraction. For others, it creates nausea and headaches.”

Audiences now have more ability to evaluate whether 3D enhances or distracts from the experience now that old and familiar films from Titanic to The Lion King are being reproduced for a 3D screen. But even if these films do well at the box office in their re-release, one is left to wonder “Is it the 3D visuals and the fun glasses that are selling tickets or is it the movie?”

This new fad not only distracts viewers from the real content of the movie in front of them, but maybe from even choosing to see other, better movies that are not so blessed as to be shown in 3D. For instance, the recently released The Descendents, a dramedy about a family living in Hawaii, is being called by some the best film of the year.

But will it sell as many tickets or get as much attention? Of course not – it’s only 2-dimensional.