In one week, one of my favorite movies of all time will be re-released in theaters– and it makes me sick. It’s not that the Lion King is being shown again and that it somehow defiles the sanctity of my childhood favorite. In fact, in a perfect world, I’d live next to a movie theater where I could see a rotation of the Lion King, Star Wars, and Fight Club at any time for only a dollar.
No, it literally makes me sick because, for some reason, the movie can only be re-released if it’s in the recent bread and butter of movie producers: 3D. Also, the bad news is that Lion King is a 3D conversion, not a movie shot in 3D (obviously). That means splitting headaches for even more people. Great.
So how many people suffer from these headaches? Well, I couldn’t find any great studies to answer that myself, but this article makes mention of a study that showed almost half of all people get sick from 3D. Seems like a tough sell.
Yet, people insist on doing it. And if this report is to be believed, then people aren’t just getting literally sick from the movies; they’re getting sick of them.
When Avatar came out, it was big news. James Cameron had invented an entirely new camera for the movie and gone out to shoot a movie in “RealD.” Ok, fine, if it’s meant to be in 3D shoot it that way. Then all of a sudden, it’s being done to death.
Here’s an explanation of one reason that might be the case:
-In 1888, the first movie cameras were being produced.
-In 1922, the first major release with color (The Toll of the Sea) debuts
-Also in 1922, the first major release 3D movie (The Power of Love) is released [I don’t want to know why a movie with that title needed 3D]
-In1927, Warner Brothers release The Jazz Singer and makes sound mainstream.
Then we got years and years of technical changes that helped sharpen the sense we already were familiar with. Movies became moving, speaking paintings. There wasn’t anything else to them. Then RealD comes along and it’s supposed ot “revolutionize” the industry. It would probably do a better job if almost all people could stand to watch them, but whatever.
And herein lies the problem. People DO get sick, because 3d images upset our inner ear and make us feel sick. The funny part about that? Motion sickness is just sort of an evolutionary quirk, it doesn’t really help us achieve a higher rate of survival.
And yet, we insist on running these movies anyway. Well, some people do. One of the industry’s foremost directors, Christopher Nolan, says he’s not interested in shooting the newest Batman movie in 3D because it wouldn’t add anything to the film.
Imagine that. The best director working right now is more concerned with making good movies than making some more money on $12 movie tickets. (Not that his movies aren’t grossing a pretty penny anyway)
So if any execs are out there reading, I’d love for you to consider these as some side points. Why not engage other senses?
Remember that Alien ride at Disney where the “Xenomorph” breathed on your back and sent shivers down your spine? Why not outfit theaters with multi-purpose “touch emulators” that could let a director really put the rush of the wind, a faint mist from a crashing wave, or the shallow breath of a killer on the back of his prey’s neck into the experience? Because it would cost more? Like 3D glasses don’t add costs already?
Or work in other senses. Taste is hard to do, but smells could be controlled. Even if the movie doesn’t look (usually vaguely at best) like it’s happening around us, we can simulate that sensation by making the environment come to life in four senses instead of two.