06 April 2007

Thoughts on Meet the Robinsons 3-D

Meet he Robinsons film poster
Meet the Robinsons 3-D is an interesting case for anybody seriously studying the use of 3-D in stereoscopic films and just how much is good enough to make a 3-D movie pass as a 'movie that really uses the 3-D'. IMO The use of 3-D in 'Robinsons' is weak. There is hardly any off-screen action (the most famous, effective and memorable of 3-D tools), the use of depth in regular scenes is bland and shallow, and the volume of objects is inexpressive. It just doesn't leave a lasting impression and for a movie that is being marketed as 3-D, that is a real shame. It's very much like trumpeting the use of Dolby Digital and THX surround sound and then only using the center speaker, or heralding the use of colour and then sticking to a bland palette. It's just not a convincing way to produce and promote a big budget movie, or any movie for that matter.

It does bring up a very notable point about 3-D, though, which is that most people will not find it worth watching 3-D unless the 3-D is actively used. And with active use I mean in your face, thrill ride and gaping depth 3-D. As a 3-D producer, I am always looking for the balance of just how much of the off-screen and in-screen extremities need to be used to please a 3-D glasses-wearing audience. And personally, I found the balance in 'Robinsons' to be way off. I understand that studios want to show films in 3-D because of the financial imperative, but if they keep pumping out bland 3-D films the audience is going to not want to see 3-D films any more, if only because most people find donning the glasses quite a big hurdle. Patrons are fickle and the potential of 3-D releases must not be killed off by greedy studio execs who just hit the 3-D switch for the sake of squeezing an extra buck out of a movie. Oh dear, that's it then, we're in trouble...

Independent 3-D film producers can make a difference, though. The way to do this is to stand out from the below-average mainstream 3-D product by being different and damn good. So using 3-D for what is can do and creating a new 3-D film language. Currently, there is no such thing and subsequently, 3-D movies are all over the place in terms of use of 3-D, and so is its projected practical future.

Check out www.the3drevolution.com/3dtheory.html for more theory on 3-D film making.

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