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  1. #1
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    Default The Vandalism of 3-D

    http://www.reelviews.net/reelthought...identifier=716

    Excerpt:

    Lately, however, in a new campaign to oversaturate the market, Hollywood has begun the process of converting various older films into 3-D. I have no problem with James Cameron or George Lucas going back and tinkering with their own properties. If Cameron wants to make a 3-D Titanic, more power to him. With Jurassic Park, Spielberg was consulted and enthusiastically supported the conversion. And now we come to The Wizard of Oz. Released in IMAX format for its 75th anniversary, this seemed to be a perfect opportunity for parents to take children to see a beloved classic in a theater with a big screen and excellent sound, except it's not the same movie they fell in love with. The powers that be at Warner Brothers elected to convert it to 3-D.

    Restoring a film - cleaning up the original elements, regenerating the color, and generally making the images "pop" - is a laudable thing. Converting it to 3-D is tantamount to colorization. It's a sin against the original. I can't understand why the outcry isn't louder because this really is an outrage. Maybe it's because all the original anti-colorization advocates have died. Or maybe it's just because people don't give a crap.

    To be fair, the conversion of The Wizard of Oz is unobjectionable from a technical standpoint. It's not a careless piece of work, slapped together to meet a deadline. But the quality of the 3-D isn't the point any more than the quality of colorization was. Without the collaboration of the original filmmakers (who are all dead), someone else has gone in and tinkered with a movie. The Wizard of Oz was never designed to be shown in 3-D and, as such, converting it to 3-D requires decisions to be made that alter the delicate fabric of what was originally presented. To apply Siskel's colorization description, it's a form of vandalism. High tech vandalism, to be sure, but vandalism nonetheless.

    The reasoning behind the 3-D conversion of The Wizard of Oz remains murky. It can probably best be summed up by the phrase "because we can." The 3-D theatrical version showed for only one week in digital IMAX - not a big money-making proposition. It will be available on Blu-ray, but 3-D TV sales have been sluggish so many, many more copies of the 75th anniversary edition will be sold in 2-D. Having seen the IMAX 3-D print, I can say there's nothing in it that made the experience transformative. On more than one occasion, I wished the 3-D distraction would go away so I could sit back and enjoy the real film.



    I happen to agree with just about everything Berardinelli wrote in this piece. I feel like it echoes a lot of what George Lucas said in a speech in 1988, which I pointed out in that post a couple years ago is tragically ironic given what he did to 'his' movies. (see here, too)


    Conversely, Forrest Wickman of Slate.com thinks "No, 3-D is not Vandalism". He says remastering The Wizard of Oz in 3-D "doesn't harm the original", therefore it's not really vandalism. There are many copies of the film.


    What do you think? I think remastering or converting films to 3-D is lame and a deliberate attempt at justifying charging people more money for a ticket at the cinema. It may or may not be 'vandalism', but I think it takes away from the original product.
    Last edited by 93JC; 10-01-2013 at 01:35 PM.

  2. #2
    amateur cartographer kquirk's Avatar
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    I would describe this practice a few different ways, but maybe vandalism isn't the best one. We're not going to lose the original, nor do I think we're at risk of the 3-D version supplanting the original as the de facto version. I would definitely call it a shameless money grab, and I wish ticket sales for these releases would drop so low the studios would stop churning them out.

    I was happy to see the comparison to colorization, which this is very similar to. We are mostly rid of that plague, although somehow the only version AMC has of Miracle on 34th Street is the colorized version, which they seemingly run all day long during the month of December. I think 3-D conversion is less threatening than colorization was, because we are less at risk of completely losing films than we used to be.

    In a way (if I'm really stretching the imagination) I can see why people thought adding color to movies would improve them. The world isn't black and white, so adding color should make films more "realistic". Instead, they just look terrible, and they are bastardizations of the filmmakers vision. 3-D conversion does the opposite: they usually serve to take us out of the experience with all the extra garbage. 2-D movies don't look flat; our brains know what to do with pictures to translate them to real life.

    This was rambling. In the end, 3-D conversion, and 3-D releases in general = bad.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by kquirk View Post
    In a way (if I'm really stretching the imagination) I can see why people thought adding color to movies would improve them. The world isn't black and white, so adding color should make films more "realistic". Instead, they just look terrible, and they are bastardizations of the filmmakers vision. 3-D conversion does the opposite: they usually serve to take us out of the experience with all the extra garbage. 2-D movies don't look flat; our brains know what to do with pictures to translate them to real life.
    Agreed, particularly your last sentence. 3D movies are supposed to be more realistic by virtue of giving the image depth, but they only make the image layered. There is no real 'depth', and it's usually distracting because instead of looking like you're really taking part in the film's action you're watching a bunch of cardboard cutouts interacting in a cardboard cutout world.


    In my mind converting The Wizard of Oz into 3D is a special case of bastardization because of the film's deliberate use of colour. The filmmakers very purposefully made the scenes in Kansas not just black-and-white but of a sepia tone, and then when Dorothy arrives in Oz everything is in bright, beautiful colour. You're meant to feel as though she's entered another world, obviously. Converting the movie to 3D monkeys with that balance by virtue of the audience having to wear polarized glasses that will inescapably make the contrast and brightness of the image duller. Making the movie 3D will make Oz look worse, which makes the world the movie created less spectacular and therefore harms the narrative.

    It's exactly the same thing with trying to colourize a lot of the old black-and-white movies. Yes, they were limited technologically at the time, but colourizing them won't make them better. The cinematographers who created those works were well aware of the limitations of the medium so they made deliberate lighting and camera placement choices to create shadows and use them to set the scene, to make the movie what it is.

    I was dismayed when Jurassic Park was briefly re-released this past year only in 3D. I would have gone to see the movie if it was in 2D, as it was when it was released. It's not that it was technologically impossible to make the movie 3D in the first place, a choice was made to not make it in 3D in the first place.

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