3D: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Third Dimension

To quote Phillip K. Dick, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.  We have seen in the past decade alone how the internet has evolved from a flea market of gimmicky electric functions to the cornerstone of modern social interaction.  We’ve seen video game consoles turn from simple toy-like machines to micro-pantheons of virtual interaction.  And now we’re witnessing the film industry have a three third-dimensional revolution.

And it seems to be irritating everyone: three-dollar upcharge, post-conversion that makes a 2-D film look worse in 3-D, oversaturation with a slew of unappealing features and those blasted glasses.  Despite the fact that “Avatar” became the most successful film of all time just a few months ago, people have already started to turn against the 3-D movement, believing it to be nothing more than a weakening industry’s desperate ploy to get people into theaters and take even more money from them in the tail-end of a recession.

Recent films haven’t helped. “Resident Evil: Afterlife,” “Alpha & Omega,” and “Legend of the Guardians” didn’t exactly set the box office on fire and having so many 3-D films in such close proximity to one another takes away the uniqueness of the technology.  Unfortunately, this oversaturation will only get worse: the holiday season is looking at seven total 3-D films and 2011 currently has 34 films scheduled.

Here’s my defense of 3-D though; as with any technology, it must go through a developmental period before it finally becomes a superior product. The days of having multiple shovelware video game systems have long since past and even the internet has evolved since the dotcom crash in 2001.

The industry is indeed overreacting to the success of “Avatar” and the like, but this is only encouraging companies to create some really exciting technology.  Before Avatar came out, I thought we were still at least twenty years from having holograms.

 Now, companies like Samsung and Toshiba have already created “autostereoscopic” television sets that can project an image without the need for glasses that’s viewable from 108 different angles.

It’s entirely possible now that we could be watching Avatar 2 in 3-D without glasses; that’s quite a crazy possibility that people seem almost hesitant about.  Isn’t this what we always dreamed that films would become: an actual fourth dimension and an immersion into another world?  We’re so close to technology that truly resembles magic…and people aren’t expecting much because of some silly glasses.

Yes, something like “Saw 3-D” or a 3-D Justin Bieber film doesn’t make one think of a technological revolution, but just wait a few years.  The movie theater is going to be a place of magic once more and the possibilities are limitless.

And c’mon, “Tron: Legacy” looks like it’s going to rock our eyeballs silly this December.