By Nick Growall
I recently went to watch “The Lion King” in 3-D with my brother and sister. Having seen it when it came out back in 1996, my first thought was “How is a hand-drawn movie going to translate to the third dimension?”
But as I watched the Disney classic in theaters, one of my childhood favorites suddenly became much more eye-catching, giving me an almost brand new experience.
It made me pay attention not just to the main characters, but also to what was going on around them, such as the lush jungles behind them or just a few blades of grass in front.
It was one of the few experiences where 3-D didn’t ruin the film for me. And this is when I decided my opinion on 3-D in movies …
Ever since the tour-de-force of special effects that was “Avatar,” Hollywood has figured out that a majority of Americans will pay in the double digits to go see a movie. How? By handing them some plastic glasses and making random things pop out of the screen at them. Even George Lucas is getting in on the act with his “Star Wars” saga (just leave them alone, George!).
“Avatar” at least did it right. The amazing visuals were worth the price (even though it was really just a remake of “Ferngully,” “Dances with Wolves,” “The Last Samurai” or “The Last of the Mohicans,” depending on your movie tastes) because the focus was on making you feel like you really were a part of that world, not just having a couple scenes where snow falls in front of me or a random pirate points his sword at the screen.
This summer I went to see several films in 3-D, some of them not by choice; I had to wear glasses to see “Pirates,” “Thor” and “Captain America” because our theater of choice didn’t show either in the regular 2-D.
So basically if I wanted to watch these movies without having to drive several hours, I had to dish out an extra $3 and look like a hipster while watching (not to mention the potential for nausea). And after watching several of these movies, I‘d have to ask myself, “Was there even any 3-D in that movie?”
Now I’m not trying to pick on 3-D because there were several movies where the effect actually enhanced the experience for me. And all those films just so happened to be animated.
While working at a summer camp, I went to see movies like “Toy Story 3,” “Up,” “Cars 2” and “Kung Fu-Panda 2,” and all of those movies were great in 3-D because (for the same reason in “Avatar”) the 3-D was a major part of the production. Things didn’t just pop out at you. There was also depth created with the effect, helping you really get a grasp of the word they created.
But for every “Toy Story 3,” there are at least a half-dozen “Last Airbenders,” with 3-D being something corporate decided to stick on in post-production in hopes of getting a few extra bucks.
To me, certain films don’t need 3-D. You wouldn’t want to see “The Godfather” or “The Notebook” in 3-D, would you? Then why add it to movies that were made without the original intention of using 3-D?
“The Lion King” is the first 3-D re-release I’ve seen, and I actually wouldn’t mind seeing them bring back more of the classics in this format (“Aladdin,” anyone?).
As long as they put as much effort in the conversion as they did “The Lion King,” without destroying what made the films enjoyable in the first place, I’d be willing to check it out.
But as for now, when it comes to 3-D, I’ll just stick to the cartoons.