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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What should we call fake 3D so it’s not confused with the real deal?

I love those simulator rides you find in theme parks. You know the ones: You strap yourself in to a comfy chair and then the whole room moves around in coordination with the image on the movie screen before you, creating the sense that you’re actually, say, flying.

But once, on one of those rides, something went wrong, and the still image that had been on the screen before the ride began was not turned off once the film started. So while the entire room moved around in concert with the moving image before us, the still image was still there, too, which not only ruined the illusion, it confused my brain so much that I had to close my eyes. The trickery that works so well to convince your body that you’re moving in ways that you aren’t had itself been tricked into making me feel not only physically but psychologically uncomfortable.

The epically awful fake 3D of Clash of the Titans made me feel the same way. Not through the whole movie, but in more spots than it should have.
The world had the chance to see Titans blown up into 3D this weekend, and we came out in droves: the film is estimated to have taken in $61.4 million in North America alone, leaving previous Easter weekend records far behind. Actual domestic and early international numbers will be available later today, but they’re unlikely to show anything other than that a lot of people put out a lot of money to see this movie.

Part of that monster haul can be attributed to the recent rise in 3D ticket prices. Clash of the Titans was not shot in 3D, but it was retrofitted into the format postproduction as a way to boost its box office take. Whether moviegoers are okay with the fake 3D (or with the absence of an engaging story or characters) will be the story next weekend: Will the film take a huge drop as bad word of mouth spreads, or will it hold strong, indicating that word of mouth has been good?

One thing that might have affected the box office is whether the film had been honestly labeled as “not really 3D, just jury-rigged to make you think it’s as awesome as Avatar.” We can’t expect Hollywood to come up with this label on its own, so let’s do it for them.

What should we call fake 3D so it’s not confused with the real deal?

(I recently wrote a bit more about this topic over at Film.com.)

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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  • LaSargenta

    3D-esque

  • JoshB

    2.5D

  • gensing

    VMD for “View-Mastered”

  • We should call it fraud, and charge the movie companies as such.

  • gensing

    Sorry for the double post, but VMD may not work if there is a real View Master movie
    http://www.cinemablend.com/new/View-Master-The-Movie-13820.html

  • FrankS

    Faux-D

  • JoshDM

    Frau-D

  • Dokeo

    Greed-D

  • Nathan

    StealD

  • What’s worse (and 2.5D – ha!) is that these movies make some ppl think ALL 3D is eye-killing, making them less willing to see movies actually filmed in 3D. I know that was certainly the case with me, aside from a few claymation movies that were distinct enough that they worked OK in 2.5D.

  • Michael

    Crud-D? ;)

  • zepto

    Cut-and-Paste 3D

  • RogerBW

    “Converted 3D” as opposed to “Native 3D”, or “3D-ized” to suggest “colorized”. “2.5D” would work well too.

  • Mo

    PD for Paper Doll cutouts?

  • Victor Plenty

    2.5D is a video game term, used to describe a few early first person perspective games, such as “Doom” and “Duke Nukem 3D.” As a parallel to movies, it doesn’t really fit, though. Even those primitive early games offer a much more authentic 3D experience than any movie to date, including the impressive achievements of “Avatar.”

    With games, a 3D experience is much simpler to achieve, with much less expensive technology. Games let you project your sense of self into the screen, into the fully three dimensional environment of the game world. There is no need to create the illusion that things are poking out of the screen, no need for special glasses. Even with games that are only “2.5D,” there are rarely any jarring breaks from the immersive 3D experience. As anyone who has nearly jumped out of their skin while playing “Doom” with the lights off can attest.

    Because of this, I’d really prefer to see some other term for fake 3D in the movie industry.

  • MaSch

    Since fake 3D isn’t even as good as 2.5D in video games (what’s the difference to true 3D in video games?), maybe something dissier, like 2.00000000001 D would be appropriate?

  • iakobos
    Even with games that are only “2.5D,” there are rarely any jarring breaks from the immersive 3D experience. As anyone who has nearly jumped out of their skin while playing “Doom” with the lights off can attest.

    Yeah, I can definitely attest to that. Doom’s graphics may not be up to par with modern games but the game play is still as good as it gets.

    As for bogus 3D how about 3-D(ollars) more please.

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