Column: Welcome to the third dimension – Web Exclusive

Thom Carter | Staff Writer

As always, movies are changing. Special effects become exceedingly spectacular, monsters become more and more convincing, and disasters become startlingly real. But what if all these things and more came out you in eye-popping 3-D? More than ever, the third dimension has become the new avenue for filmmakers to venture down, and with good reason. There’s no denying the value found in 3-D films. Slap that tagline on any movie poster and people will flock to the theater with their layers of extra cash nestled nicely in their pockets.

Peaking in popularity with Avatar, James Cameron’s 3-D sci-fi epic, a plethora of films have made the leap in to the third dimension. Almost every animated feature this summer was in 3-D with the likes of Despicable Me and How To Train your Dragon showcasing the technology. While each of the family films did enjoy considerable box office success, parents are now despising an afternoon at the movies because of the dent it puts in their wallets. As if tickets and refreshments weren’t enough, parents now have to break out even more bills in order to cover the 3-D charge.

The integrity of regular film is also being lost in the 3-D frenzy as more and more filmmakers jump onto the bandwagon. Wes Craven, the horror mastermind behind A Nightmare on Elm Street released his first live action 3-D feature, My Soul to Take earlier this month. Martin Scorsese, Academy-Award winning director of groundbreaking films such as Taxi Driver and Good Fellas, is also taking the plunge and is currently directing his first 3-D film slated for a fall 2011 release. The director even commented that a film like Precious, a heart-wrenching drama with special effects that go as far as make-up, should be 3-D.

The enormous popularity of 3-D is evident, but when does it all become too much to handle? First of all, it’s milking us of every available dollar with the extra $3.50 it costs for the goofy glasses that do in fact have some fashionable qualities. Second, does the next idiotic stunt film pertaining to donkeys need to be in 3-D? Unless you get a kick out of seeing half-naked — or perhaps entirely-naked — men flung at you from catapults, it’s not the thing for you (but you’ll see me in line for that). Even the next Harold and Kumar, a series with oodles of lackadaisical humor, is rumored to be 3-D. Only time will tell whether the craze will become the norm for films in the future, but in the meantime, just rub your eyes and bow down to all that is 3-D.