Star Trek 2 is the latest victim of the 3D epidemic

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JJ Abrams has a new TV show out, Alcatraz, which he is currently promoting. During one of these promotions, the Lost creator took some time out to discuss Star Trek 2, the upcoming sequel to his smash hit 2009 Star Trek reboot.
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Abrams revealed that the plan is to shoot the movie in 2D and then have it post converted to 3D, but added an interesting caveat:

“I did not fight for the 3-D. It was something the studio wanted to do. I didn’t want to do it.”

This of course echoes his earlier sentiments at a 2010 Comic-Con panel.

“The thing that drives me crazy about 3-D is that when you put on the glasses, everything seems dim. I’m not totally on board yet.”

This is unfortunately a very common occurrence in Hollywood now, with only a select few directors like Christopher Nolan and Ridley Scott having the industry clout to stand up to the studios’ strong-arm tactics. The studios are obviously pushing 3D just to drive up ticket prices, which – according to them – gives them a better chance of making their money back. You would be deluding yourself if you thought that it was for creative reasons.
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But even despite the often up to 40% increase in prices, making your money back is no longer a certainty as cinemagoers’ feelings towards films of the 3rd dimension have slowly been shifting from a rubber-necking fascination to general apathy and is now teetering on the edge of vitriol. And it was murky and almost unwatchable post-converted movies like Clash of the Titans that was got us to this negative state of mind. Nobody likes paying more for an inferior product. It boggles my mind that studio execs have not yet made this realization.

Now I’ll admit that when 3D is done properly (see the usual suspect, and King of the 3D jungle, Avatar) by filming it with proper 3D camera rigs, it can heighten the experience considerably. But unfortunately, these examples are about as rare as a Charlie Sheen sober thought.

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The only hint of redemption with post-converted movies though, is that the 3D effects do not inform the film making process. Because it’s filmed with traditional methods, there are no scenes where the shot composition suddenly stops making sense the moment that it’s viewed in 2D, which is how most of us still watch movies at home.

If the local cinema-chains actually give us the option (please do not get me started on that), then you can definitely count on me seeing this in plain ol’ 2D, just the way nature intended.

Star Trek 2 begins filming this Thursday and is scheduled for a 13 May 2013 US release.

Last Updated: January 9, 2012

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions – but very little sleep – I’ve been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

  • Goddamit, I’m tired of 3D. The only things I do enjoy watching in 3D are animated features, like How to Train Your Dragon and TinTin. I think the vibrant colour palettes used in film like that somewhat negate the washed out, dimness.

  • I despise 3D, my left eye is slightly weaker than my right so 3D is just a blurry pain in the ass for me. Even my kids have started hating 3D and prefer to avoid it at all costs.

    But then again there are some new glassless 3D TV’s being launched at CES right now that may make me change my mind http://www.tegato.com/2012/01/these-are-the-tvs-i-want-from-ces/

  • Magius

    3D tends to be more trouble than it is worth.  A darker screen and a headache do not make me want to spend the extra cash.  Unfortunately if you want to see a movie in the first few weeks of release, Ster Kinekor and I am sure Nu Metro force you to watch the 3D version by only showing that one at major cinemas.  @$$hats.

    • Actually, the latest tactic of movie houses, as I famously discovered on Twitter last year, is to have a far smaller stock (read: 2 reels) of the 2D film in the country which gets shipped around from cinema to cinema effectively resulting in a movie only playing in 2D for a week or 2 at max.
      Apparently the 3D comes on digital, which is easier and significantly cheaper for them to acquire.

  • Anonymous

    The amount of seizures that is going to be caused by 3D effects combined with an over-use of lens flares is going to be catastrophic.

  • Aequitas

    I think NuMetro and Ster Kinekor need to start properly connecting with their audiences. If we were asked far in advance “Would you prefer this film in 2D or 3D” they’d quickly see which films we *want* in 3D, and which ones are a waste for them to buy in 3D.

  • For me, it’s still incredible, INCREDIBLE, that Hollywood fails to see the the films the frequently score highly at the box office aren’t those with 3D or huge amounts of sfx but rather those with a damn good story. The Dark Knight, Inception, Avatar, et al. To some degree, the sfx and action was a drawcard for audiences but if you want to ensure repeat business (the defining factor for any box office smash) then you need a story that warrants the audience coming back more than once.

    This isn’t friggin rocket science. It’s business. Want to make mor money. Write a damn good story.

    Here endeth the lesson

    • I was behind you 100%…. until you mentioned Avatar. As much as I enjoyed that film, it’s story was subpar. It was effectively Pocahontas in Space. With Smurfs.

      • Ok, so Avatar screws up my point. I should’ve put Titanic in there instead. It was basically Beverly Hills 90210 on a big boat but it still boasts a better story than Avatar

  • 3D can be brilliant but only if done right. 3D conversions, as mentioned above, should be banned as they are always useless. Shoot the film in 3D and have a great stereographer on set and the film will be awesome.

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